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Newish vegetarian

amandarawr06amandarawr06 Member Posts: 251 Member Member Posts: 251 Member
I stopped eating meat about 4 months ago. I spent the first month overloading on carbs because I went in a bit unprepared and ended up gaining 13lbs in the first couple of months. I have been working on introducing more protein rich foods and the carb cravings have ceased but looking for some more advice or meal ideas from any fellow vegetarians or vegans!

I currently eat loads of black beans, greek yogurt, soy based foods, "meat alternatives" like veggie burgers and veggie grounds, protein shakes and high protein greens. I am trying to introduce more chickpeas but I don't love them (yet). And I just purchased a BOSH cookbook to try some of these recipes but would love some other ideas!
edited June 2019
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Replies

  • JeBeBuJeBeBu Member Posts: 258 Member Member Posts: 258 Member
    Satein, tofu, jack fruit all offer a "meaty" texture.
  • amandarawr06amandarawr06 Member Posts: 251 Member Member Posts: 251 Member
    JeBeBu wrote: »
    Satein, tofu, jack fruit all offer a "meaty" texture.

    I just bought a block of tofu today to make some "crispy sweet and sour tofu". I've had tofu before but haven't cooked with it yet! Thank you!
  • JeBeBuJeBeBu Member Posts: 258 Member Member Posts: 258 Member
    Also tempeh or TVP. If looking for some more "ready to eat" options, check the freezer section for Gardein...yum! And don't forget lentils, quinoa, nuts and seeds...
  • 33gail3333gail33 Member Posts: 982 Member Member Posts: 982 Member
    I buy pre-seasoned "gourmet" tofu to use in stir fries and Korma and such and it is a game changer for me (because I cant cook tofu all that well and the prep is annoying to me). Idk where you are but the one I get in Canada is ying-ying soy foods organic and comes in sweet and sour, curry, tomato flavors etc.
  • amandarawr06amandarawr06 Member Posts: 251 Member Member Posts: 251 Member
    JeBeBu wrote: »
    Also tempeh or TVP. If looking for some more "ready to eat" options, check the freezer section for Gardein...yum! And don't forget lentils, quinoa, nuts and seeds...

    I am a big fan of their chick'n strips! thank you!
  • amandarawr06amandarawr06 Member Posts: 251 Member Member Posts: 251 Member
    33gail33 wrote: »
    I buy pre-seasoned "gourmet" tofu to use in stir fries and Korma and such and it is a game changer for me (because I cant cook tofu all that well and the prep is annoying to me). Idk where you are but the one I get in Canada is ying-ying soy foods organic and comes in sweet and sour, curry, tomato flavors etc.

    I am in Canada also! Which chain do you buy it at? I haven't seen it at my local store but I can shop around for some other options!
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 21,870 Member Member, Premium Posts: 21,870 Member
    One of my tips for new-ish veggies trying for more protein is to try to get small amounts of protein from most foods you eat. The "one big protein per meal" approach that omnivores use is still a good start for us veg people, but we can take it a bit further, if protein is coming up short of our goals. There are vegetables with protein, grains with more protein than others, breads with more protien than others, even fruits with protein. As a plus, varied sources of protein can help with getting a well-rounded set of the essential amino acids, since many plant foods are lacking in some of that set.

    Take a look at your food diary, looking for foods that are relatively large calorie contributors, but that don't have much protein. Consider reducing or even eliminating those foods in favor of other foods you enjoy that better help you achieve your nutritional goals.

    The thread linked below can be a help to anyone (vegetarian or otherwise) who's trying to manage calories but increase protein. It links to a spreadsheet that lists many, many foods by protein efficiency (most protein for fewest calories). As a vegetarian, you'll need to scroll past a bunch of meaty/fishy stuff near the top of the list, but you'll find solid vegetarian sources further down.

    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10247171/carbs-and-fats-are-cheap-heres-a-guide-to-getting-your-proteins-worth-fiber-also

    I've been vegetarian (ovo-lacto) for almost 45 years. I don't much eat commercial fake-meat foods, and I don't use protein powders or bars (there's nothing wrong with any of those; I just don't personally find them tasty or satisfying). Now, in maintenance at a weight in the mid-130s, I'm finding it pretty easy to get 100g+ protein daily from foods.

    Some particularly helpful things for me are legume pastas (chickpea, pea, soy, etc.), tofu, tempeh, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, legumes of all sorts (especially black beans & lentils).

    I've found that I don't usually enjoy soy pasta as a wheat-pasta substitute (with tomato sauce, say), because it's kind of chewy. But I do enjoy it in pseudo-Asian style dishes, such as with stir-fried veggies. A particular favorite is soy spaghetti or fettuchine with a peanut sauce made from peanut butter powder, chile sauce or soy sauce, and rice vinegar, with some set of seasonings (chosen from among things like chopped raw green onions, grated fresh ginger, a few drops of toasted sesame oil, minced garlic, szechuan pepper, etc.) plus veggies.

    Chickpea pasta, for me, has a more similar usage range as wheat pasta, while providing about twice the protein. It has a bit flatter flavor, so I usually like to make a flavor-rich tomato-y sauce to go with it, either with plenty of herbs and garlic, or perhaps also by increasing the umami qualities by adding a subtle amount of dark miso or unsweetened cocoa/cacao powder to the sauce. Someone here suggested making pasta sauce with tomatoes, pureed dried mushrooms, and cooked lentils, plus whatever seasonings you enjoy: It's hearty, filling, tasty, and protein-rich.

    Best wishes!
  • amandarawr06amandarawr06 Member Posts: 251 Member Member Posts: 251 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    One of my tips for new-ish veggies trying for more protein is to try to get small amounts of protein from most foods you eat. The "one big protein per meal" approach that omnivores use is still a good start for us veg people, but we can take it a bit further, if protein is coming up short of our goals. There are vegetables with protein, grains with more protein than others, breads with more protien than others, even fruits with protein. As a plus, varied sources of protein can help with getting a well-rounded set of the essential amino acids, since many plant foods are lacking in some of that set.

    Take a look at your food diary, looking for foods that are relatively large calorie contributors, but that don't have much protein. Consider reducing or even eliminating those foods in favor of other foods you enjoy that better help you achieve your nutritional goals.

    The thread linked below can be a help to anyone (vegetarian or otherwise) who's trying to manage calories but increase protein. It links to a spreadsheet that lists many, many foods by protein efficiency (most protein for fewest calories). As a vegetarian, you'll need to scroll past a bunch of meaty/fishy stuff near the top of the list, but you'll find solid vegetarian sources further down.

    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10247171/carbs-and-fats-are-cheap-heres-a-guide-to-getting-your-proteins-worth-fiber-also

    I've been vegetarian (ovo-lacto) for almost 45 years. I don't much eat commercial fake-meat foods, and I don't use protein powders or bars (there's nothing wrong with any of those; I just don't personally find them tasty or satisfying). Now, in maintenance at a weight in the mid-130s, I'm finding it pretty easy to get 100g+ protein daily from foods.

    Some particularly helpful things for me are legume pastas (chickpea, pea, soy, etc.), tofu, tempeh, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, legumes of all sorts (especially black beans & lentils).

    I've found that I don't usually enjoy soy pasta as a wheat-pasta substitute (with tomato sauce, say), because it's kind of chewy. But I do enjoy it in pseudo-Asian style dishes, such as with stir-fried veggies. A particular favorite is soy spaghetti or fettuchine with a peanut sauce made from peanut butter powder, chile sauce or soy sauce, and rice vinegar, with some set of seasonings (chosen from among things like chopped raw green onions, grated fresh ginger, a few drops of toasted sesame oil, minced garlic, szechuan pepper, etc.) plus veggies.

    Chickpea pasta, for me, has a more similar usage range as wheat pasta, while providing about twice the protein. It has a bit flatter flavor, so I usually like to make a flavor-rich tomato-y sauce to go with it, either with plenty of herbs and garlic, or perhaps also by increasing the umami qualities by adding a subtle amount of dark miso or unsweetened cocoa/cacao powder to the sauce. Someone here suggested making pasta sauce with tomatoes, pureed dried mushrooms, and cooked lentils, plus whatever seasonings you enjoy: It's hearty, filling, tasty, and protein-rich.

    Best wishes!

    Thank you so much!! I really appreciate all of the information. I will take a look at the thread and see what else I can find. You are amazing <3
  • jgnatcajgnatca Member Posts: 14,465 Member Member Posts: 14,465 Member
    I have a big love for hummus and I love it more when I make it myself not skimping on olive oil.
  • jgnatcajgnatca Member Posts: 14,465 Member Member Posts: 14,465 Member
    Try also falafel.
  • katarina005katarina005 Member Posts: 259 Member Member Posts: 259 Member
    I've been seeing a dietician and she's helped me. She told me I have to combine some foods to have a "complete protein". I was low in iron and sodium. Some things have more of a nutrient than others. I guess I'm getting better at this stuff too! Satiety I find drinking water, getting fiber from carb sources, and getting my protein and fats solve the problem.

    Do your research and find out what to eat that's healthy and "clean" and you're headed in the right direction. All of life is a learning process.
  • katarina005katarina005 Member Posts: 259 Member Member Posts: 259 Member
    I stopped eating meat about 4 months ago. I spent the first month overloading on carbs because I went in a bit unprepared and ended up gaining 13lbs in the first couple of months. I have been working on introducing more protein rich foods and the carb cravings have ceased but looking for some more advice or meal ideas from any fellow vegetarians or vegans!

    I currently eat loads of black beans, greek yogurt, soy based foods, "meat alternatives" like veggie burgers and veggie grounds, protein shakes and high protein greens. I am trying to introduce more chickpeas but I don't love them (yet). And I just purchased a BOSH cookbook to try some of these recipes but would love some other ideas!

    I also like yogurt. Yogurt is good to eat. Protein is in a lot of grains. I've been eating shelled edamame. It has loads of nutrients and also Omega 3. Another thing veggies may lack. I've also been eating 2 eggs a day - they have so much nutritional value.
  • katarina005katarina005 Member Posts: 259 Member Member Posts: 259 Member
    JeBeBu wrote: »
    Satein, tofu, jack fruit all offer a "meaty" texture.

    Jackfruit is awesome! You can buy them the packaged products at Walmart, next to the tofu. I was so surprised!
  • apullumapullum Member Posts: 4,888 Member Member Posts: 4,888 Member
    I've been seeing a dietician and she's helped me. She told me I have to combine some foods to have a "complete protein". I was low in iron and sodium. Some things have more of a nutrient than others. I guess I'm getting better at this stuff too! Satiety I find drinking water, getting fiber from carb sources, and getting my protein and fats solve the problem.

    Do your research and find out what to eat that's healthy and "clean" and you're headed in the right direction. All of life is a learning process.

    You don't need to combine proteins within the same meal. That is a myth that's been around since the 70s.

    You do need to eat a variety of different foods that contain protein. Proteins are made of amino acids, which are necessary for our bodies, but the human body can make many of them. However, nine amino acids are called "essential" because we cannot make them and must get them from food.

    Animal proteins contain all nine essential amino acids, so they are called "complete" proteins. Most plant proteins contain fewer than nine amino acids, although which amino acid(s) you get and in what quantities varies by food.

    Therefore, people used to think that in every meal, vegetarians needed to combine different proteins to get all nine amino acids in the same meal. However, this is not actually necessary. First, some plant proteins (like soy) are complete proteins. Second, you do not need all nine amino acids in the same meal; you just need to get them all on a regular basis. Third, if you are eating some animal products, then you're still getting some "complete" proteins. So as long as you're eating a variety of protein-rich foods--and not, say, living on nothing at all but beans--then you're fine and do not need to worry about combining proteins.
  • Glorianna7Glorianna7 Member Posts: 6 Member Member Posts: 6 Member
    Flaxseed, ground, wheatgerm and nutritional yeast are great mixed in a smoothie and cover a lot of B vitamins. I also add TVP all about one tablespoon apiece.
  • 33gail3333gail33 Member Posts: 982 Member Member Posts: 982 Member
    33gail33 wrote: »
    I buy pre-seasoned "gourmet" tofu to use in stir fries and Korma and such and it is a game changer for me (because I cant cook tofu all that well and the prep is annoying to me). Idk where you are but the one I get in Canada is ying-ying soy foods organic and comes in sweet and sour, curry, tomato flavors etc.

    I am in Canada also! Which chain do you buy it at? I haven't seen it at my local store but I can shop around for some other options!

    I buy it at Tiano's in Pickering. If you are in and around the GTA you can get it at Whole Foods and other "health" type stores. Outside of the GTA I don't know. There might be other brands where you are?
  • tacticalhippietacticalhippie Member Posts: 601 Member Member Posts: 601 Member
    I'm a picky eater with a peanut allergy so trying to find protein sources is hard for me.

    I do drink a whey shake with some milk and sometimes a whey based.

    I've tried they beyond meat patty at A&W but have yet to find them in stores.
  • slbbwslbbw Member Posts: 330 Member Member Posts: 330 Member
    Tempeh tofu and seitan. The processed, flavored, stuff is pretty high in sodium so I do my best to make my own from the basic ingredients.

    Tempeh works well as a ground beef or bacon sub. For ground, crumble it and season with some boullion (better than boullion vegetable is a staple in my house) taco seasoning and gound mushroom is a good start. For bacon slice thin and marinade in soy sauce, maple syrup and garlic powder. Bake until crispy.

    Tofu needs to be dried out a bit and I am super impatient. Slicing it, seasoning on both sides and then cooking in a nonstick pan on lowish heat for like 15 min each side. It can also be baked. for a crumble I mix with soy and tomato paste and then bake for like 45 min stirring.

    Basic seitan is easy to make. The best vital wheat gluten I have found is Anthony's and is on amazon. You mix with veggie broth and maybe some chickpea flour or pureed chickpeans and then boil it. It makes a lovely sausage as well. To see if you like the texture trying out the packaged "chicken" or field roast sausage is a good place to start.

    I use egg whites is a bunch of recipes as well. I am a bit wheat intolerant so my go to "bread" is oats, cottage cheese and egg whites blended and either cooked in a sheet pan like a super thin cake or in pancake form. I have variations that use the straight rolled oats in muffin form as well.

    Echoing what Ann said, adding a range of high protein vegetables and grains also makes things easy. Quinoa and broccolli are both good cases.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 21,870 Member Member, Premium Posts: 21,870 Member
    slbbw wrote: »
    <snip good advice, for length>

    Tofu needs to be dried out a bit and I am super impatient. Slicing it, seasoning on both sides and then cooking in a nonstick pan on lowish heat for like 15 min each side. It can also be baked. for a crumble I mix with soy and tomato paste and then bake for like 45 min stirring.

    <more snippage>

    As a bit of an aside: I'm also quite impatient. I've found that firm or extra firm tofu can be cut in about 1/4" or so slices or cubes, then broiled in the broiler, without drying it first (just quickly drip off the main part of the water it was soaking in). It'll vary with your broiler, but for me it's 8-ish minutes on one side, flip and 5-8 on the other side. The pan needs some oil spray, and it benefits from a bit more oil spray on top, but the latter is optional. A few grams of oil should be enough for good results. Keep an eye on it, though, so it doesn't burn. ;)

    I use the slices in sandwiches or toss the crunchy cubes into salad or stir-fry or soup/stew.
  • lynn_glenmontlynn_glenmont Member Posts: 9,189 Member Member Posts: 9,189 Member
    apullum wrote: »
    I've been seeing a dietician and she's helped me. She told me I have to combine some foods to have a "complete protein". I was low in iron and sodium. Some things have more of a nutrient than others. I guess I'm getting better at this stuff too! Satiety I find drinking water, getting fiber from carb sources, and getting my protein and fats solve the problem.

    Do your research and find out what to eat that's healthy and "clean" and you're headed in the right direction. All of life is a learning process.

    You don't need to combine proteins within the same meal. That is a myth that's been around since the 70s.

    You do need to eat a variety of different foods that contain protein. Proteins are made of amino acids, which are necessary for our bodies, but the human body can make many of them. However, nine amino acids are called "essential" because we cannot make them and must get them from food.

    Animal proteins contain all nine essential amino acids, so they are called "complete" proteins. Most plant proteins contain fewer than nine amino acids, although which amino acid(s) you get and in what quantities varies by food.


    Therefore, people used to think that in every meal, vegetarians needed to combine different proteins to get all nine amino acids in the same meal. However, this is not actually necessary. First, some plant proteins (like soy) are complete proteins. Second, you do not need all nine amino acids in the same meal; you just need to get them all on a regular basis. Third, if you are eating some animal products, then you're still getting some "complete" proteins. So as long as you're eating a variety of protein-rich foods--and not, say, living on nothing at all but beans--then you're fine and do not need to worry about combining proteins.

    ^^This, except for one minor point.

    It's not that most plant proteins don't contain all of the essential amino acids; it's that compared to animal proteins (especially eggs, which are the gold standard in foods for amino acids), many plant proteins have one or more of the essential amino acids in a lower amount (compared to the other essential proteins) that would prevent your body from using all the essential amino acids from that food source to form proteins if that food source were your only source of protein. Your body uses different amounts of different amino acids in forming proteins, and if you have too little (compared to what you need) of any one of the essential amino acids, the leftover amino acids that you can't use because of the limiting essential amino acid go to waste.
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