Many of you have committed to going Veg in some way for 2016. Yesterday I received an email with veg protein concerns from one of our clients. I gave her my quick take and told her I’d pass it on to Coach Jentry for more insight. Today I was copied on this great email back from Jentry addressing the concerns. She did an amazing job efficiently detailing what you need to know about vegging out on protein, especially if eating veg is new to you. Thanks to Coach Jentry for her quick response, awesome insights and for being an all around gem! Enjoy the read, 🙂 Coach Michelle
…”That’s so exciting that you’re testing out the veg waters. Michelle gave you a ton of great info., so just to piggy back on her points, don’t worry too much about protein or counting calories. Protein is typically a major concern for people transitioning toward or diving into a plant-based diet. But, in reality most of us (even plant-based vegans or vegetarians) get ample protein. However, a lot of people are deficient in fiber, which is super important for health and satiety. And, fiber is only found in plants.
Meat has protein, sure. And, dairy has some protein and and fat (depending on which type). But, they also have some considerable health risks. Whereas, plants are virtually the best thing you can feed to your body, especially a hard-working, athletic body like yours! I look at it this way, why would we go through an animal for nutrients when we can get those same nutrients through plants? For instance, dairy has calcium only because dairy cows are fed calcium-rich grass and/or fortified food. But, dark leafy greens such as kale, broccoli, and collard greens, and fortified plant milks (flax milk, almond, soy, etc.) are all rich in calcium. To boot, they’re also free of saturated fat and cholesterol.
I think the best thing you can do is to start by crowding out your typical foods with more whole plant foods (foods closest to their original form). Whole plant foods are nutrient-rich and calorie-poor, and they are packed with fiber, which means you can fill up on more of them than you would on meat/dairy/eggs. Starting your day with a protein shake or fruit/veggie smoothie (with a plant-based protein powder added) is a great way to get piece of mind, when it comes to you protein intake. But, don’t get too held up on that.
As for calories, I wouldn’t focus too much on restricting your calorie intake. Instead, I suggest you incorporate leafy greens, fruits, legumes (beans, lentils), seeds (chia, flax, hemp), whole grains (brown/wild/black rice, quinoa), starchy vegetables (potatoes, yams, etc), and some nuts. Keep refined oil, sugar, and flour to a minimum, if possible. These foods have little to no health benefits (oils are much better in whole food form – avocados, nuts, seeds) and they are high in empty calories. You can still have a little chicken or cheese here and there, and then as you progress, maybe try swapping dairy cheese out for Kite Hill Cheese and Yogurt (made from almonds) or Miyoko Schinner’s Cheese (also made from nuts). Beyond Meat Chicken or Ground Beef is a good alternative to meat. It has a meaty-like texture and it’s high in protein. All of these products are available at Whole Foods and Beyond Meat is in Safeway, too.
Here are a few other resources for you, including great recipe ideas and nutrition/health info.
http://www.choosingraw.com (not all raw, but very veggie/fruit focused)
http://www.theppk.com/recipes/ (more flavor focused, so a little higher in fat, but still relatively healthy)
http://simpledailyrecipes.com (this women, Jill McKeever cracks me up and she has good, easy recipes for families)
Health/Nutrition resources and podcasts:
http://nutritionfacts.org (Dr. Gregor has great videos and a book – How Not to Die – centered around health and nutrition. He takes a scientific, evidence-based approach)
If you’d like I’d be happy to chat with you, cook with you or shop with you to help if you have any questions or need guidance. This is my favorite thing to do, so please feel free to reach out!
All my best, Jentry”