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How much protein?

I've been trying to eat more vegetables, fruits and grains etc and have had no meat for two weeks.  My question is how much protein should I eat everyday?  I've been feeling tired and headachy.  I'm trying to eat every couple of hours now----healthy stuff---then brown rice, pasta fruits and vegies for lunch and dinner.  After lunch and dinner I feel better.

No brainer I guess but if anyone has some suggestions I'd love some encouragement here!

Thanks.  

Pat :)

Perhaps your body is getting used to changes in your diet.  Are you eating enough calories?

If it's more of a mental thing, try making veggie burgers and put bbq sauce on them.  Your mind might be more satisfied.

~ 1 (15-ounce) can refried beans
~ 1 cup cooked rice
~ 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup seasoning blend (I use a chili seasoning pouch)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten (in health food stores or near the flour/bread making supplies in regular grocery stores)

The measurements are approximate because I freeze rice and overcooked pressure cooker beans as I make them and when I accumulate a combo of ingredients I make burgers.  Exact proportions of ingredients isn't critical.

1. In a bowl, combine beans, rice, and rolled oats; mix together. Add nutritional yeast, seasoning blend, and soy sauce; stir to evenly mix.

2. In portions, sprinkle gluten over mixture and mash in. Repeat until all of the gluten is incorporated.

3. Add more moisture if needed for the patties to hold together. If the mix is overly moist, add more rolled oats.

4. Shape into patties and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until burger is "set" and firm to the touch.

These freeze well and are giving in regard to the proportions of ingredients. I've made them without the vital wheat gluten and they are crumbly.  If your seasoning blend is salt-free and/or if your soy sauce is low sodium, you may want to add a pinch of salt.

To make it a bbq bacon cheese burger:
top with a slice of Follow Your Heart Nacho cheese or a sprinkle of Daiya cheese
buy tempeh bacon or make coconut bacon

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This chart has a fairly simple protein guideline: http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/dailyrecs

More info here, if you want to read the background: http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/protein

Also helpful: http://www.chooseveg.com/vegan-food-pyramid.asp

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I find it very helpful to track my calories on http://www.livestrong.com/ (Im a fan of this one vs other tracking website because they seem to have ANY food you think of in their database). I did a trial run of a 100% vegan diet (I have been eating semi-vegetarian for a year now) back in December and had some massive blood sugar issues, weak, head-achy, nauseated after only 2 days. I discovered I wasn't getting enough calories, and coffee was really messing me up.

This time around, I feel great (only been 1 week, but that is still longer than I've ever done)! Tons of energy, better than before. I quit my daily coffee a month ago (I do have a cup once per week or so as a treat), and most importantly I track my calories to make sure my husband and I are eating enough. I only want to maintain my weight, and I won't do this religiously every day for years...it just is giving me a good idea to get going. I realized I usually need 3 snacks per day in addition to full meals to get enough calories on a vegan diet. This is one reason it works for weight loss, it is pretty difficult to get too many calories on a whole foods vegan diet (unless you consume loads of oil and sugar all day maybe).

It also will comfort/encourage you to find when you track your calories how simple it is to meet your RDA of protein on a vegan diet. I don't even try, and I always meet it. Just eating whole grains, legumes, nuts...and really all food has some protein and it adds up. As long as it's whole foods, refined flour products have very little protein compared to whole grains.

If you still feel headachy, weak, etc after tracking calories and you are getting enough, and protein looks ok...you could then try adding a little more. Maybe even a vegan protein powder. But also just waiting it out you may find it was just and adjustment period and then you'll do fine. I learned the scientific reason you feel so bad changing your diet is your body is used to something, then you whack out it's homeostasis so it just takes time to adjust. "Detox" isn't really scientific, this is. Explains why I had the same symptoms going on whacky super low carb (only veggies and meat, no fruit or nuts even) diet and a good healthy high carb plant based diet, I couldn't be very well "detoxing" from entirely different foods =P.

At any rate, best of luck to you!

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Thanks for the the tips and encouragement.  I really need to work on my cholesterol and I can't take meds. 

I love this site.

Pat :)

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those links were super helpful!

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The World Health Organization suggests a minimum of 10% of your calories coming from protein, a maximum of 30%.  Just try integrating beans, lentils, tofu, seitan, etc into your diet and it'll become a complete non-issue.

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