After a few years of being on an omni-directional, or flexi-tarian diet, I’m back to giving veganism another shot. Sort of… there is a slight twist.
Inspired by my Australian friend Eddie with whom I traveled to Bali last fall, I decided I’ve had enough of meat. During the time we spent together, I adjusted to his way of eating and returned home feeling lighter, more energized, and clearer about my future.
While several years ago, back when I became a raw vegan, I did it primarily for health purposes, this time around I’m doing it for the animals and our planet. Health of course remains a very important reason, and I feel that not putting items on a higher level of the food chain into my body has made me feel much better on all levels, not only physical.
The reason I dropped my old diet that included occasional fish and turkey, is because even though my sources were organic, I don’t like the idea of ending the life of another being, only to satisfy my craving.
You may completely disagree with me and that is perfectly fine. I’m not writing this post to preach in any way. This is only to let you know, that in case you have considered cutting meat and dairy and are concerned about your protein intake, there is a way around it.
Being a total gym rat who loves lifting heavy weights, I’m aware of the protein issue. My trainer has been reminding me that in order to keep growing, my muscles require that I consume at least 80 grams of protein each day. While most vegetables do contain some of protein, and even fruit does, it is understandable that we would need to eat a ton of them to meet the requirements.
Below is a list of five foods I eat to keep my muscles intact and my toxic load as low as possible:
Eggs (6 grams of protein per egg). I know, not vegan! This is why I call my current diet ‘functional veganism.’ Being a type O blood type, supposedly my body does need some animal protein in order to keep humming. O, shmo, not sure if this reasoning is something to really give credence to, but I know my body, and if it doesn’t get enough protein, it flips out. I put on weight and feel exhausted. Protein deficiency was the reason I got off the vegan train few years ago and started to eat fish, and I don’t want history to repeat itself. As much as I love fresh grilled fish, it’s been getting increasingly harder to find clean sources. Our oceans have gotten so polluted and depleted. So I choose eggs. I get mine from small local farms, the kind where the hens have ample roaming space and are not kept in cages. The eggs taste great and I have between having between one and four a day. I do eat the yolk as well, as it is great source of choline, which improves brain function.
Spirulina (4 grams per teaspoon). While I’m not a huge fan, it is really THE protein source for vegans, considering how much you get per volume. What’s great about it — this also applies to green leafy veg — is that the nutrients come in the form of amino acids, which makes it much easier for the body to absorb. When eating animal protein, the body needs to first break it down into smaller parts, the amino acids, before it can use them, which takes time and energy and creates waste. Here it’s all done upon consumption. Since I dislike its taste, I prefer to add Spirulina to my smoothies to cover the flavor with sweetness. Frozen banana, berries, a handful of walnuts and even a stalk of celery for some healthy sodium, and you have yourself a power packed snack, or dessert. Enjoy and please let me know, if you find creative ways to add Spirulina to your foods that makes the blend even more yummy.
Hemp seeds (11 grans per 3 tablespoons). Now we’re talking! These seeds taste delicious. Actually their flavor reminds me a bit of eggs. Rich in Omega-3s, they are fantastic for your brain and great at reducing inflammation. I noticed a big difference after three days of reintroducing them into my diet in how much more clearly I could think. Within seven days my brain fog that would usually creep in around noon, was practically gone. My favorite way to eat them is for breakfast with my banana-berry bowl, some raw granola and coconut yoghurt. You can also sprinkle the seeds on salads, though you will likely have to pick them off your empty plate with your fingers after. But if you don’t mess around, just take a spoon and have them pure.
Protein powder (17 grams per 23 g scoop). My preferred brand is Raw Protein by Garden of Life. The blend uses primarily rice protein, which has a bit of a chalky texture, which used to bother me, but not anymore. It comes in a variety of flavors and tastes good by itself, with only some water added. When I’m feeling like having dessert, I add some raw chocolate powder to it and stir in coconut yoghurt with a splash of almond milk for a yummy pudding. This brand variety is additionally packed with live enzymes, vitamins and minerals, so you get more than just protein. Unfortunately, I cannot eat whey, which has more protein per volume than its vegan counterpart. I tried it awhile back and it made my stomach upset and gave me a headache. I’m actually glad, because again, I don’t eat any diary and prefer to keep it that way.
Nuts and seeds (roughly 3 grams per handful). Besides being great sources of protein, nuts also offer a plethora of healthy oils, which get destroyed by heat. This is why it’s best to eat them raw and even soaked for a few hours. If no time, at least give them a rinse. I’ve noticed that a lot of nuts are dirty. My favorite way to eat them is on the go, or with a piece of fruit to slow down the sugar hit. They are great for students who spend a lot of time using their brain to maximum capacity. They require no preparation, which makes them the ultimate fast food.
Hope you enjoyed this post and will walk away armed with some new information ammo.
Here I am with my sister, who is often my cooking partner ; )
I’ve been on my new diet for over a month now and feel really good on it. I noticed a steady rise in energy, though it wouldn’t be as noticeable if I didn’t exercise. My body actually craves exercise on this diet! Clean diet and movement really go hand in hand.
I also hope that I inspired you even in a small way to evaluate the state of our affairs with regards to the way we’ve been treating our planet and animals.
It is my deepest desire to see our environment begin to heal on a large scale. It is ultimately up to us. Happy eating!