Last night, I went to my first vegan potluck and was amazed at how many dishes I enjoyed. My mom has been going to this on the second Saturday of every month, for a couple of months now. She's been so excited to take me with her, I've been looking forward to it, and I'm thrilled I finally got to experience it. Even in a city such as Houston, known for its barbeque and fast food chains on every corner, it was nice to see a community of people just like me!
There are 2 questions I always get asked when people learn I'm a vegetarian: why? and where do you get protein?
1. Ethics/ Animal Rights
2. Health Reasons
3. Environmental Reasons
If you aren't already aware of it, eating meat causes almost 40 percent more greenhouse-gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, and planes in the world combined, according to a recent United Nations report entitled "Livestock's Long Shadow."
Table 2: Protein Content of Selected Vegan Foods
|Soybeans, cooked||1 cup||29||9.6|
|Lentils, cooked||1 cup||18||7.8|
|Black beans, cooked||1 cup||15||6.7|
|Kidney beans, cooked||1 cup||13||6.4|
|Veggie burger||1 patty||13||13.0|
|Chickpeas, cooked||1 cup||12||4.2|
|Veggie baked beans||1 cup||12||5.0|
|Pinto beans, cooked||1 cup||12||5.7|
|Black-eyed peas, cooked||1 cup||11||6.2|
|Tofu, firm||4 ounces||11||11.7|
|Lima beans, cooked||1 cup||10||5.7|
|Quinoa, cooked||1 cup||9||3.5|
|Tofu, regular||4 ounces||9||10.6|
|Peas, cooked||1 cup||9||6.4|
|Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), cooked||1/2 cup||8||8.4|
|Peanut butter||2 Tbsp||8||4.3|
|Veggie dog||1 link||8||13.3|
|Spaghetti, cooked||1 cup||8||3.7|
|Soy milk, commercial, plain||1 cup||7||7.0|
|Soy yogurt, plain||6 ounces||6||4.0|
|Bulgur, cooked||1 cup||6||3.7|
|Sunflower seeds||1/4 cup||6||3.3|
|Whole wheat bread||2 slices||5||3.9|
|Almond butter||2 Tbsp||5||2.4|
|Brown rice, cooked||1 cup||5||2.1|
|Spinach, cooked||1 cup||5||13.0|
|Broccoli, cooked||1 cup||4||6.8|
Sources: USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18, 2005 and manufacturers' information.
The recommendation for protein for adult males vegans is around 56-70 grams per day; for adult female vegans it is around 46-58 grams per day (see text).
I'm not here to convert you, I'm just here to help you least take it into consideration, at least once or twice a week. My grandparents have gone vegetarian after decades of eating meat because their doctor recommended it for health reasons, and they've loved it! My boyfriend has also sworn to never eat bacon again, thanks to me! :)
It's only a week and a half into the new year, so you still have time to make lifestyle changes! If you don't want to take meat out of your diet entirely, at least open your mind to it! Your mind can be in the past, present, or future, but your body remains in the present!
Below are just a few of my favorite dishes I tried and truly enjoyed!