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#1 Old 03-11-2015, 10:49 AM
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Question Protein Problems

So I've been vegetarian for about 7 years now but I have only recently started looking into whether my diet is healthy or not and I've discovered my protein consumption is practically non-existent. I try to eat quorn or cheese with each meal but find they contain a large amount of carbs and calories, I've recently tried to start eating eggs but find I can't get over the flavour and I have a nut allergy so no hope there. I understand that I can eat beans and grains to make combined protein but I struggle to include this into every meal. Does anyone have any advice on how I can significantly increase my protein without adding too many extra carbs?
Thanks
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#2 Old 03-11-2015, 10:58 AM
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Have you ever considered a protein powder for shakes or whatever? I don't know anything about them as I get mine from oats, pasta, barley, lentils, etc.....but I know a number of people here use them. It might fit in better with your lifestyle.
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#3 Old 03-11-2015, 11:02 AM
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I do have protein powder I just didn't know whether it was a real source of protein being soy based rather than animal based
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#4 Old 03-11-2015, 11:34 AM
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I see. Soy is a pretty good source of protein for humans AFAIK. My almost zero research into the subject says I would get a few different ones to get a better balance of amino acids though.

If you load up chronometer and type in soybeans you will see they're a little weak on methionine. They're still at 30% at 30% but if you also add in some hemp seeds you will see that you can get a much more even spread and be a good amount ahead of your individual amino acid needs when you meet your total protein needs.

Again I am probably not the best person to ask about this :P This stuff isn't on my radar, this is just what I would initially do if I were to go down the protein powder road.
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#5 Old 03-11-2015, 11:34 AM
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Okay so you need 0.6g of rotien per day per 1kg of body weight. You need a miniumum of 10% of your caloric intake to be protien to maintain muscle mass. Too much protein as unhealthy as not enough.
Good protein sources include legumes (beans, pulses, peanuts), nuts and seeds, and wholegrains.
Quorn is very processed so is not a healthy option. Cheese is incredibaly unheathy due to the saturated fat, cholesterol, hormones, chemicals that it has due to being a dairy product. Eggs are the highest source of cholesterol, very high in saturated fat, and full of carcinogens so best to avoid.
You do not need a complete protein at every meal, it just needs to balance out through out the day- so you dont need legumes and grains at every meal.
Also carbs are not bad and should make up most of your diet (60-80%). However this means carbs from wholegrains, fruit, and veg. Sugar and processed grains are unhealthy.
Check out nutritionfacts.org for useful nutrition info.
hope this helps- ask if iI missed anything!
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#6 Old 03-11-2015, 11:37 AM
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Oh one thing I missed is that personaly I would definatly avoid protein powders- due to the fact that it is highly processed. I eat a whole foods plant based diet and get more than adequate protein, I would worry that a protein powder would make my protein intake way too high.
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#7 Old 03-11-2015, 11:41 AM
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Hi Lucy,

Can you describe the foods that you've been eating up until now? Even processed carbohydrate foods (such as white rice or bread) contain protein. Here is nutrition data for white rice: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/...d-pasta/5712/2 . Here is nutrition data for white pasta: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/...d-pasta/5798/2

You don't need to eat beans and grains at the same time in order to obtain complete protein. It is sufficient to eat these foods over the course of a day. Please consider these statements from reputable organizations:

From the U.S. Centers for Disease Control:
"In the past, it was thought that these complementary proteins needed to be eaten at the same meal for your body to use them together. Now studies show that your body can combine complementary proteins that are eaten within the same day."
Link: http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyon...20of%20protein

From the United States Department of Agriculture:
"Protein needs can easily be met by eating a variety of plant-based foods. Combining different protein sources in the same meal is not necessary."
Link: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/healthy...egetarian.html

From the Mayo Clinic:
"Protein helps maintain healthy skin, bones, muscles and organs. Eggs and dairy products are good sources, and you don't need to eat large amounts to meet your protein needs. You can also get sufficient protein from plant-based foods if you eat a variety of them throughout the day. Plant sources include soy products and meat substitutes, legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds and whole grains."
Link: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-li...-20046446?pg=2


A human being's protein requirements are not large. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women only require 46 grams of protein per day: http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyon...s/protein.html


Regarding carbs: Can you tell us why you are trying to avoid them? All protein-rich whole plant foods (such as beans and whole grains) are rich in carbohydrates as well as protein. For instance, pinto beans include 22% of their calories from protein, and 74% of their calories from carbohydrates: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/...roducts/4430/2 . Even the American Diabetes Association (diabetes being a disease that affects the body's metabolism of carbohydrates) recommends low fat, high-fiber, high carbohydrate vegan diets: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fit...r-vegetarians/
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#8 Old 03-11-2015, 11:55 AM
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I generally eat pretty much everything wholegrain and lots of vegetables but I've been feeling very under the weather and read this can be a sign of not enough protein, especially when I go to the gym and lift weights I understand I should be eating higher protein and I'm trying to lose weight and am not really getting anywhere so I want to reduce my carb intake. I'm 63kg and sometimes only just reach 30 grams of protein a day which some of my gym friends eat in one meal.
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#9 Old 03-11-2015, 12:07 PM
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Tofu, tempeh, seitan.
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#10 Old 03-11-2015, 12:17 PM
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Yes, as a bodybuilder, you would want some extra protein.

Are you sure you're only getting 30 grams of protein per day? Even if you were eating only 10% of your calories as protein, you would still be getting at least 50 grams of protein per day, assuming that you're eating 2,000 calories per day.

Calculation:
Step 1: (2000 calories / day) x (10% of calories from protein) = 200 calories from protein per day.
Step 2: (200 calories from protein per day) x (1 gram protein / 4 calories) = 50 grams protein per day.



Even on a weight-loss diet, you need to consume enough calories to fuel your body, brain, and immune system.

One of the most common mistakes that we vegetarians make is not eating enough calories. This mistake is easy to make, because whole vegetarian foods (beans, grains, vegetables and fruit) are low in calories, compared even to "low fat" meats. Not eating enough calories will result in physical weakness, depression, and increased vulnerability to sickness. Remember that your entire body, including your immune system and brain, is fueled by calories. Not eating enough calories can also result in not getting enough protein, since healthy vegetarian diets typically include only 10% to 20% of calories from protein.

You might find it useful to use one of the free online nutrition websites, such as http://nutritiondata.self.com/ , to plan meals that contain enough calories. (On the nutritiondata.self.com website, you don't have to register in order to use the features).


Or, you might find it useful to make 1 or 2 appointments with a Registered Dietitian. They can help you to plan a vegetarian or vegan diet that is nutritionally complete, and which supports your weight-loss goals.
In the U.K., you can find a local Registered Dietitian on the Freelance Dietitians website: http://www.freelancedietitians.org/
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Last edited by David3; 03-11-2015 at 12:23 PM.
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#11 Old 03-11-2015, 12:31 PM
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Are you sure you are eating enough food? Calories? Often when people are going all healthy, they eat more veggies and fill up on those low calorie foods. Carbs are your friend btw; they give your body its energy.
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#12 Old 03-11-2015, 12:53 PM
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Hi Lucy,

If you add 2 cups of boiled beans to your diet, this will add at least 30 grams of protein, and only about 500 calories.

Some beans contain complete protein all by themselves - split peas, black beans, black-eyed peas, and garbanzo beans are like this.

Nutrition data for dry split peas, boiled: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/...roducts/4354/2

Nutrition data for black beans, boiled: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/...roducts/4286/2

Nutrition data for black-eyed peas, boiled: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/...32/2?mbid=ndhp

Nutrition data for garbanzo beans, boiled: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/...roducts/4326/2
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#13 Old 03-11-2015, 01:02 PM
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I aim for 1600 calories a day and record everything I eat on MyFitnessPal so I am fairly certain the figures are correct. Thankyou everyone for all the ideas
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#14 Old 03-11-2015, 01:38 PM
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HI Lucy,


One last thing! As you mentioned earlier, there are vegetarian protein powders that you can use. If you prefer not to use the soy protein powders, there are also pea protein powders: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pulsin-Natur.../dp/B003V1WWHE . These will surely get you enough protein - these types of powders are over 80% protein by weight.
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#15 Old 03-11-2015, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David3 View Post
Yes, as a bodybuilder, you would want some extra protein.

Are you sure you're only getting 30 grams of protein per day? Even if you were eating only 10% of your calories as protein, you would still be getting at least 50 grams of protein per day, assuming that you're eating 2,000 calories per day.

Calculation:
Step 1: (2000 calories / day) x (10% of calories from protein) = 200 calories from protein per day.
Step 2: (200 calories from protein per day) x (1 gram protein / 4 calories) = 50 grams protein per day.



Even on a weight-loss diet, you need to consume enough calories to fuel your body, brain, and immune system.

One of the most common mistakes that we vegetarians make is not eating enough calories. This mistake is easy to make, because whole vegetarian foods (beans, grains, vegetables and fruit) are low in calories, compared even to "low fat" meats. Not eating enough calories will result in physical weakness, depression, and increased vulnerability to sickness. Remember that your entire body, including your immune system and brain, is fueled by calories. Not eating enough calories can also result in not getting enough protein, since healthy vegetarian diets typically include only 10% to 20% of calories from protein.

You might find it useful to use one of the free online nutrition websites, such as http://nutritiondata.self.com/ , to plan meals that contain enough calories. (On the nutritiondata.self.com website, you don't have to register in order to use the features).


Or, you might find it useful to make 1 or 2 appointments with a Registered Dietitian. They can help you to plan a vegetarian or vegan diet that is nutritionally complete, and which supports your weight-loss goals.
In the U.K., you can find a local Registered Dietitian on the Freelance Dietitians website: http://www.freelancedietitians.org/
I like this website, such detailed nutritional breakdown. Apparently just 2 and a bit cups of buckwheat would provide me with all the protein I need in a day- too easy - I love buckwheat!

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#16 Old 03-11-2015, 03:47 PM
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Soy is one plant food that is a complete protein all by itself.
Is there a reason you don't eat more beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh? They've got protein, iron, calcium...
If you're protein deficient I'd think you would be deficient in other areas as well.
What is a normal days diet for you?

I do like to keep a powder mix around for those times I get into a junky rut. Makes a quick easy breakfast shake. Not all are that processed, and many organic
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#17 Old 03-11-2015, 04:22 PM
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I just don't really enjoy eating them, they generally take time to prepare too. I eat a lot of cheese and wholegrain bread just for conveinience- not ideal I know. I would make a bigger effort to eat them for health reasons though, think I just need to get into a better routine for food preparation and start adding more beans etc. in
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#18 Old 03-11-2015, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucyxxxx View Post
I just don't really enjoy eating them, they generally take time to prepare too. I eat a lot of cheese and wholegrain bread just for conveinience- not ideal I know. I would make a bigger effort to eat them for health reasons though, think I just need to get into a better routine for food preparation and start adding more beans etc. in
Cheese is unhealthy, has a lot of fat, and can easily make you gain weight if you eat a lot. Maybe that's why you're not seeing much progress. Try substituting the cheese for beans and other healthier foods. A big part of losing weight is diet.

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#19 Old 03-11-2015, 06:13 PM
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Here are some specific ideas to boost protein:

Sandwiches: look for vegan commercial whole wheat breads that are seeded and have only a few ingredients. Some brands are Food for Life, Ezekiel, and Rudy’s. These breads are about 4 grams of protein per slice so two slices would be 8 grams of protein. If you can, make your own bread instead and add sesame seeds, chia or flaxseed, and vital wheat gluten to boost nutrient density. Make an extra loaf and freeze it for later use. Now on to sandwich ideas:

Slice some tempeh. Saute in a nonstick skillet some savoy cabbage and saurkruat. Pile this and your tempeh between your slices of bread. I like to add cider vinegar to my cabbage/sauerkraut mix. Or dijon mustard. One serving of tempeh yields 16 grams of protein and 160 calories. So that and your two slices of bread give you 24 grams of protein for that sandwich. Tempeh is extremely nutritious and is a fermented food, good for the gut.

Another one is fat free refried beans (full fat cans of these have lard in them but the fat free variety are vegan). Add a serving to some bread and add some dark leafy greens and onion, bell pepper etc. Add some cumin and chili powder to it. Maybe some salsa. A serving of fat free refried beans is about 6 grams of protein plus your two slices of bread makes 14 grams of protein for that sandwich.

Another one is to take a can of chickpeas (or 1.5 cups cooked from dried) and add to a bowl. Mash them with a potato masher or fork. Now add some chopped celery and onion. Add some commercial vegan mayonnaise, or homemade vegan mayonnaise (there are a ton of easy recipes for homemade vegan mayo, even soy free, on the internet and this is the only way I eat it). All you need is a tablespoon or two of vegan mayo. Mix it all together and add some ground black pepper. Now you have chickpea salad (makes about four servings) you can add to your sandwich or even to a leafy green wrap or pita.

How about some split pea soup? Split peas are very high in protein and very nutritious. All I do is add a cup of dried split peas to a large pot. Add some chopped raw carrot, chopped onion, a few squirts of lemon juice and ground black pepper. I like to add minced garlic too. Then add four cups of water or vegetable broth or both and let everything simmer for about 25 minutes until soft. I then add it to my blender in batches and blend until I get a thick rich creamy soup. Very high protein, filling, and delicious! I do something similar with carrot and white bean soup.

Another one. Peel, loosely chop, and steam (in a steamer basket) some sweet potato (one cup cooked has 4 grams of protein by the way). Add it to a nonstick skillet. Add some chopped kale, some canned or cooked black beans, some unsweetened coconut (optional), a ¼ cup of plant milk, curry powder, minced garlic, and ginger. Lightly saute (add water if needed) until the greens are soft. The combination of sweet potato, black beans, and kale will give you AT LEAST 12 to 16 grams of protein and is a filling meal.

Snack ideas: go for pumpkin or sunflower seeds with shell on. 1/3 cup will be about 7 grams of protein and 130 calories (with the shell on). Lightly roasting them or buying them that way is delicious too! Or how about hummus and raw broccoli? More sources of protein right there. Or add chia or flaxseeds to smoothies.. I find that seeds boost more protein and fewer calories per serving than nuts.

Make chickpea flour omelets for breakfast and add two tablespoons of nutritional yeast and some salsa and leafy greens like spinach folded into them. Those two tablespoons of nutritional yeast are about 7 grams of protein. A ½ cup serving of chickpea flour is 10 grams of protein. Add a gram or two for the spinach. To make chickpea flour omelets, I simply add ½ cup of chickpea flour to a bowl. I add spices like cumin, garlic, mustard powder. Then I add ½ cup of water and stir to make a pancake like batter. I add this to a nonstick skillet with a little water or cooking spray and cook like a pancake. While it is cooking, I chop my veggies and leafy greens and add those onto it along with the nutritional yeast and salsa. Then I fold it over. After a minute I flip to the other side and cook. This omelet boosts about 18 to 20 grams of protein and takes me all of ten minutes to make early in the morning. Very filling and satiating!

I do a lot of weight lifting and workout about 1.5 hours each day five or six days per week. From May to October I also ride my bike to the gym and work and errands. I average about 50 grams of protein per day to maintain my weight at about 52 kg as a vegan, and find that this is plenty adequate for my needs (even when I was quite underweight though I still managed to average about 35-40 grams of protein per day if I was smart about how I ate). If I do a strenuous canoe camping trip or know I am going to push myself really hard with something intense, I use pea protein powder or hemp protein powder in smoothies or mixed in with banana and pumpkin for breakfast. I also like to make tofu pudding. I blend a block of silken tofu, a banana, a few tablespoons of pure cocoa powder, and a little stevia and enjoy eating this thick and not too sweet high protein pudding for breakfast. I get about 24 grams of protein just from that alone.

I hope this helps!
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Last edited by Naturebound; 03-12-2015 at 02:24 AM.
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#20 Old 03-11-2015, 07:40 PM
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The need to combine proteins has actually always been a myth.

Some author with no nutritional training read about a poorly designed study, misinterpreted it and wrote about it. Soon the media got a hold of it and it became conventional wisdom. She even retracted it but it hasn't died yet.
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#21 Old 03-13-2015, 04:01 PM
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As someone who studied food additives, I can tell you all that processed =/= bad.
Some of the additives in processed food are actually really good for you.

Rather than dismissing a food product because it's in a packet, look at the ingredients to determine if it's bad for you.
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#22 Old 03-13-2015, 07:04 PM
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I am a lazy cook, so I get a large portion of my protein from canned beans! I love the taste of black beans all by themselves, but you can toss some salsa into the pot while you're heating them up if you like, and add spices like chili power or cayenne pepper. Amy's makes some banging canned chili at different spice levels, some with veggies and some with "meat" (tvp, I think?)-- just heat and eat. Sometimes I microwave one of those 90 second packets of brown rice and mix it in with my beans or chili. I know these aren't necessarily the healthiest options, but they're packed with protein and they really keep you feeling satisfied.

Honestly, I think carbs are important, especially in diets low in animal products. I would cut out the cheese and see if that helps with your weight management. Let us know how it goes!
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