A Little Vegan/Vegetarian Love

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If you spend as much time as I do searching Google images of Carrie Underwood’s legs (and um, I realize you may not but seriously folks check out her legs — are they not perfection!?) then you probably know Ms. Underwood is a vegan.

Vegans, for you steak-lovers who may not know, are folks who don’t eat animals (beef, poultry, fish, etc.) or animal byproducts (honey, milk, eggs). Vegetarians generally eat animal byproducts but do not eat meat.

While there are many benefits of an animal-free diet (you can Google that too) one of the challenging things for vegans and vegetarians when it comes to nutrition and fitness is getting enough protein. (An important part of overall physical fitness is strength training and having muscles and it takes protein to maintain muscle.)

I realized today that I didn’t show any love to my vegetarian friends in my little series on “Diet” and so I’ve decided to spotlight a few of my favorite foods, supplements, and “must haves” that are vegetarian-friendly.  Those of you who are steak-lovers could benefit from these things too so keep reading!

Jay Robb Protein Powder – As far as I know there is no better protein powder out there.  It’s lactose free, non-GMO, vegan, and delicious (just like the package says!).  Great in shakes, with soy or almond milk, in plain water, mixed in to yogurt, in pancake or waffle batter, etc.  It’ll set you back about $32 at Whole Foods but if you only use one scoop a day it’ll last you a month or more.

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Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk –  It does a body good but a lot of soy and almond milk has a LOT of sugar (as much as 13 grams per serving — yikes!).  This variety however has virtually no sugar and is only 35 calories per serving.  It also has the calcium your body needs to maintain strong bones and it’s vanilla flavor keeps it from tasting chalky.

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Vans Power Grain Waffles – Each one of these frozen Vans waffles has 5 grams of protein and they are so delicious!  I eat them plain (no butter, no syrup) but if you wanted to put some raspberries on top or a little greek yogurt that would probably taste yummy.  You can find them in the freezer or organic section of your local grocery store.

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Sweet Potatoes –  Sweet potatoes are definitely having their moment in the spotlight and are being hailed as the “super carb” on morning tv shows galore.  Bodybuilders and fitness pros have reaped the benefits of these “slow burning carbs” for years and they taste great!  Do not ruin them by loading them up with sugar and putting marshmallows on them!!!!  Slice on up into 1/4″ slices or 1/2″ cubes, spray a baking pan with Pam, put the sweet potatoes down, spray a little more Pam on top and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Pop them in the oven on 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.  Enjoy :)

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Tofu – Tofu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!  This is such a versatile food and is loaded with protein.  (Actually, don’t overdo it with the tofu — too much protein an be as bad as too little if you’re trying to lose weight.  Try to keep your servings to about 10 – 20 grams of protein and get it in early in the day to curb hunger throughout the day.)  This morning I made a “tofu scramble” for breakfast and it was delicious!  Here’s the simple recipe — it only took about 10 minutes!

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  • Ingredients:  1 firm block of tofu, red onion, low-sodium soy sauce, yellow curry, cherry or grape tomatoes, spinach.
  • Get a block of firm tofu.  If you can get the kind that’s already cubed that’s even better.  If not you can slice it into small pieces.   Drain most of the water from the tofu but leave a 1-2 tablespoons in.
  • Put in 1 teaspoon of low-sodium soy sauce.
  • Slice the cherry or grape tomatoes into halves.  Slice 1/4th of a red onion into slivers.  Heat skillet on medium heat.  Throw in the tofu and 1-2 teaspoons of yellow curry, press tofu down with a spatula, scrambling it up well.  The yellow curry should give your tofu a bit of a yellow color.  Cook tofu for 1-2 minutes.
  • Throw in the onion, tomatoes, and spinach and continue to scramble all ingredients together for another 2 minutes.
  • Season with black pepper (no salt — remember you put in soy sauce!) — and enjoy!  :)

For my vegetarian and vegan readers — what are your favorite “go-to” meals or things you always have in your refrigerator and pantry??