The Vegan Pantry: Protein

Grocery cart with fruit and veg.

Hey there. It’s Saturday. Hooray!

I’ve been getting lots of requests to talk about creating a vegan pantry. There are loads of resources on the internet, but if you are newly vegan or still just thinking about it, most of what you see listed probably sounds foreign. So let’s talk day-to-day eating, with what you are already pretty much used to.

But first, here’s my main tip. Dining a’la vegan, and cooking for it, need not turn your world upside down making you eat things you would never dream of otherwise.

Basically what you are cutting out is meat and dairy. Some people like meat replacements. I never did except for veggie burgers (if they qualify).

In this post, I am going to talk about where to get your protein from, so you can figure out how to stock your kitchen.

PROTEIN PACKED FOOD

Getting enough protein is what many folks worry about the most when changing over to a vegan diet, because they’ve believed their whole lives that you must have meat on your plate to do it.

Edamame is a young soy bean that is harvested early. It contains complete protein, calcium, vitamin C, and other key nutrients.Edamame is a young soy bean that is harvested early. It contains complete protein, calcium, vitamin C, and other key nutrients.
Edamame is a young soy bean that is harvested early. It contains complete protein, calcium, vitamin C, and other key nutrients.

VEGGIES. You can build a solid meal with loads of veggies and get plenty of protein, including these high octane choices — edamame[1], lentils, pinto beans, chickpeas[2] (what hummus is made from), mung beans, fava beans (starting to sound weird now right? wink!) lima beans, green peas, brussel sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, spinach and potatoes.

Potatoes get a bad rap, but potatoes are packed with protein and vitamins C and B-6, especially if you eat the skin. Then there’s the beloved avocado. A medium avocado will give you 4.02 grams of protein.

WILD RICE, NUTS AND SEEDS. These foods are mega good for you and add protein to your diet — wild rice (yum) and nuts such as almonds, pistachios (great for coating stuff), almonds (terrific for your complexion), pecans, and walnuts (any nut really). And how about chia seeds. Have you ever tried them? Oh, and sesame seeds! 1 Tbs will give you 1.6 grams of protein.

TOFU. Now we get to what most people turn their noses up at the thought of. Tofu. Tofu is made from bean curds pressed together in a process similar to cheesemaking.

Tofu doesn’t really taste like anything by itself. But it absorbs flavors wonderfully well. The trick is handling it right. It is stored in water so you’ve got to get rid of that or you’re doomed.

From "An Easy Method to Press Tofu and Remove Moisture", at TheSpruceEats.com.
From “An Easy Method to Press Tofu and Remove Moisture”, at TheSpruceEats.com.

For firm tofu, get yourself a tofu press. Or do what I do. Take it out of the package, rinse it well with cold water, put in on some paper towels on a flat plate, put some paper towels on top, and then put something heavy on top of that. I use my cookbooks because they are handy. Leave it a couple of hours at least, pat it dry and away you go.

Now we come to silken tofu. I found a great article on both types of tofu that explains it much better than I ever could. See it at [3].

TEMPEH. I haven’t eaten tempeh, not sure why, so can’t advise you on that, but it is very popular with vegan chefs. Tempeh also contains a good amount of probiotics, B vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus. Learn more at [4].

Tofu and tempeh are both iron rich foods, also containing calcium and of course protein. Because tofu, tempeh and edamame all come from soybeans, they are what is called a “complete source of protein”.

DAIRY

This is easy. Try out the rice milks but especially nut milks, salad dressings, ice creams etc. They are so delicious and nut based means loads of protein opportunities. I’ve always had an aversion to dairy so have never eaten much of it, and when I did it made me feel queasy and dizzy.

Rice milk is thinner in texture than nut milks. And as you read above about nuts, chockful of protein. I will talk about cheese and cheese substitutes in a separate post because we’ll need to get into the nutritional yeast debate.

FRUITS

Okay, I’ve already mentioned avocados in the veggie section but they are actually a fruit. Another protein packed fruit is apricots.

COMING SOON

Next time I’ll talk about cheese and butter substitutes, and after that one of my favorite foods — bread. Following that a post on my favorite subject of all, vegan baking and how to stock your pantry. In between all of that we have Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I plan to do some vegan cocktail recipes for the festive season. Woo hoooo! We should have you in good shape by 2020.

PARTING THOUGHT

So you see, entertaining the idea of a vegan diet is not so foreign after all is it?

It’s really a lot more about what you have to leave off your plate than what you have to put on it to be vegan. As you can see the variety in a vegan diet is virtually endless.

For the People. For the Animals.

Patsy

LINKS
[1] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/edamame-benefits
[2] https://www.liveeatlearn.com/chickpeas/
[3] https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/diet/tofu-how-its-made-its-good-you-how-prepare-it/; see also https://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/common-tofu-cooking-mistakes/
[4] https://www.americastestkitchen.com/guides/vegan/what-is-tempeh

WHY VEGAN?
Advocate From Your Plate by Vivian Farrell
https://horsefund.org/advocate-from-your-plate.php

Updated 4:30 pm 10/19/19

Henry Beston quote about animals

The Majestic American Mustang

Below is my favorite quote about animals. It is originally written as one long paragraph, but I have separated it out for ease of reading here.

THE OUTERMOST HOUSE
by Henry Beston

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion.

“We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.

“They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”

 *   *   *

Source: http://www.henrybeston.com/quotes.html »

Henry Beston. Henry Beston (June 1, 1888 – April 15, 1968) was an American writer and naturalist, best known as the author of The Outermost House, written in 1928.

More

I also love this by Vivian. Please give it a read. It’s very thought provoking. “Horses are not ‘Its’ ” »

Have a superb rest of the weekend. Hugs, Patsy

How vegan are you if you’re vegan at all?

Brown horse with big white blaze trotting in green field.

Hey there Tuesday’s Horse-ers. This is not a recipe post. It’s a philosophical post.

If you are vegan, has anybody ever asked you, “how vegan are you?” I usually say I am 99% vegan. 100% sounds too much like perfection to me. Can anybody do that? Some I guess.

Still, isn’t there a chance no matter how careful you are that an animal derived product escaped your notice and ended up in your mouth? Or what if the labeling is wrong or deliberately misleading? Apart from being a chemist and testing every product, you must rely on labels. Or what you are told.

Here’s a good example that loads of people starting out as vegans don’t know. I didn’t.

One of the most common foodstuffs commonly overlooked when starting out vegan is sugar. I did. Never occurred to me sugar could not be vegan. There’s not an animal in sight when it’s being made, right? Well kind of, sort of.

There are no animal products in sugar, but companies use the bone char from slaughtered animals to “whiten” it. PeTA explains, “Bone char is made from the bones of cattle who were slaughtered in foreign countries and sold to traders in other foreign countries, who then sell the bones back to the U.S. sugar industry.”

Gross. But I didn’t beat myself up about it. Why should I? Nor should you if something like this happens. Be kind.

There are all types of vegans too. Not just “dietary” vegans. Check out this lady.

I have a vegan friend, super sweet girl, who won’t attend symphony concerts or Opera after learning violin strings are made with cat gut. I told her I didn’t think so anymore. I looked it up and we were both sort of wrong. Some are made with gut but not cat gut any longer it seems.

“Roughly 300-years ago, the strings for most bowed instruments – violin, harp, cello, and some bowed instruments you’ve never heard of — were made from animal intestines. While they’re often referred to as catgut strings, these strings were never made from cat intestines. Rather, most catgut strings are made from the intestines of sheep.

“After being expertly stretched, dried and twisted, gut strings create a rich, resonant and expressive tone when stretched taught between both ends. As gut string engineering improved throughout the decades, string makers all shared the same goal – to yield strings with enough mass to be resonant, but flexible enough that it can vibrate properly. Without the right amount of mass, strings produce a weak and hollow sound; without flexibility, the harmonics won’t be in tune.

“Today, gut core strings are still used, namely by more advanced, and professional players, but they aren’t the best option for most violinists since they are fragile, temperamental, and break down faster than their steel- and synthetic-core counterparts. Your violin string’s post-core production is more or less the same, regardless of which material you select.”

Source: https://www.connollymusic.com/stringovation/how-are-violin-strings-made

I admit reading the above made me feel a bit queasy. In the meantime, if we are judging by percentages, how many points do I knock off my vegan percentage rate if I attend a classical music concert now—knowing that? See what I mean.

My gentle suggestion is that you eat according to what you have knowledge of. All the rest of it you can discover and work out along the way. Few people make a lifestyle change as big as this overnight. It is a new sensitivity. Let it unfold naturally and peacefully. Please do not allow anybody to judge you or make you feel less than.

Here’s a cool statement from PeTA that sums up dietary veganism very nicely.

“Eating vegan isn’t about ‘perfection’ or a quest for personal purity—it’s about achieving real change for animals suffering in the food industry.”

You see. It’s about them. Not us.

Big hugs, Patsy.

P.S. Please leave me some feedback. I love hearing from y’all. 

What’s your beef? Impossible!

Impossible Whopper. Washington Post image.

Craziness abounds at our house and at work and at The Fund. How busy we all are, everywhere, even when we get home.

In the middle of all this craziness, I have the most unexpected news. No. Not that. It’s about my husband. A lifestyle change. No, nothing like that either, ha ha ha. It’s pretty darn shocking though and out of the blue. He has decided he wants to go vegan. WHAT?

Who do we have to thank for that? Not me his wife and my super cool demonstration of how great it is. Not his delightful daughter with the puppy dog eyes, fluttering her eyelashes and pleading, Daddy, Daddy please, please . . . try it just for one day. Please Daddy. Nope. Neither one.

We have Burger King and the impossible burger to thank for it. Yes, indeedy. For real. The truth.

My husband eats a whole lotta burgers, a whole lot. Two at a time too. And no way in heck was he ever going to eat a veggie burger. No way Jose.

Well, he and his buddies stopped off at Burger King and for some reason or other, noticed a promotion for the Impossible Whopper that was doing a tour bus thing. He told me that he thought, “What the hell, why not check it out? It’s not like one of those regular veggie burgers because it’s made to taste like real hamburger. Then I can tell Patsy I tried it and that I’m never going to change to a vegan diet.”

Makes me sound like a nag, huh, but really, I don’t say anything. Truly. Nada.

Of course, I’m not going to try it. My daughter isn’t either. But we sure are glad Burger King have the Impossible Whopper. Woo hooo!  What’s even crazier is he likes it better than the “real” Whopper. I’m saying absolutely nothing about that either.

Of course I’d have heard nothing about it because I don’t think about faux meat or faux any kind of food, so don’t watch for stuff like that. Found a link to an article about it below though.

So. How about y’all? Who’s had an Impossible Whopper, or an Impossible Burger? How did you like it? Or, if you’re vegan and haven’t tried any faux meat, do you think you ever will? What would make you want to try it? Just curious.

Isn’t that about my husband just the coolest though?

Hope you’ve been having a super weekend. Hugs, Patsy.

P.S. Raw Vegan. My daughter and I just got finished five days eating that way. Will be writing about that real soon. Its pretty amazing and not as hard as you think. And I don’t have to cook! Ha ha ha. 

RELATED READING

:: Burger King plans to release plant-based Impossible Whopper nationwide by end of year, USA Today, 29 Apr 2019 »

:: Can a mixed vegan marriage work?, TH, 20 Jun 2019

Updated for typos 15:37.