WIAW: Protein-Packed, Plant Style

Any current or former vegetarians and vegans out there know this question all too well: “So where do you get your protein?” To most omnis, protein is only found in meat, eggs and dairy products. But as we all know, protein is found in pretty much everything, from kale to cacao nibs. Yes, there are actually 3 grams of protein in a one ounce serving of cacao nibs, which is all the more reason to enjoy chocolate 😉 Anyways, the point is, even strict vegans don’t need to worry much about adequate protein consumption as long as they’re consuming enough calories as well. However, I do love a lot of plant-based protein sources–I love me some healthy carbs, but I can’t survive on those alone. Last year, when I was just starting out on my vegan journey, I gravitated more towards carbs, which is okay, but nowadays I have a much better balance of fats, protein and carbs and I feel a lot more energized. If I had to categorize my macros, I’d say I’m usually around 45% carbs, 20-25% protein and 30-35% fats. That’s a big change, especially in the fats department, but I’m definitely embracing protein a lot more today too.

That being said, here are Monday’s protein-packed, plant-based eats. Note: I am a big fan of plant protein powders (not soy-based ones, but ones made from sprouted quinoa/rice, pea and cranberry proteins, like Vega and Sunwarrior) and I use them frequently, but I don’t think they’re a necessity in a plant-based diet. I use them (along with peanut flour, which isn’t really a protein powder but just concentrated peanut protein that tastes AMAZING) because I like how they taste and that they give me a protein boost for relatively fewer calories. Yes, I will admit that I still have a fear of eating ‘enough’, mostly because I don’t know what ‘enough’ is for me and it’s scary to change our habits. I do like whole food sources of protein, but protein powders are fun and tasty and I always choose the less processed versions.

Breakfast: banana bread in a bowl. Garden of Life RAW chocolate protein powder, half of a mashed banana, almond milk, mini Enjoy Life chocolate chips, topped with Maranatha maple almond butter.

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with banana bread. I’ve been fulfilling that craving with making my protein microwave cakes with a banana mashed in and adding chocolate chips. Maybe you won’t believe me, but this legit reminds me of banana bread. The best part is the gooey banana and chocolate, and the melty nut butter on top. Swoooon…

Protein: 19 grams

Lunch: pumpkin curry socca pizza topped with kale and red cabbage, side of black grapes and Chocolove peppermint dark chocolate square.

Socca is a great way to have pizza while still getting in some great protein. I love loading up my pizzas with veggies, and since I don’t eat cheese, most traditional pizzas don’t have much in the way of protein. But socca does, and I love it! Today’s version had a pumpkin curry sauce (made by mixing pumpkin puree and a premade coconut curry sauce) and was topped with sauteed kale and crunchy red cabbage. Perfect combo!

Protein: 8 grams

Afternoon snack: peanut and buckwheat flour waffle, topped with maple almond butter and vegan chocolate mousse.

You guys already know I have an insane obsession with homemade waffles. I love everything about them–the toppings, the texture, the endless flavor options, the flour choices. This one was made with a mix of (mostly) peanut flour and a little buckwheat flour and then topped with my new favorite almond butter and some mousse from the Whole Foods dessert section (it has a really great ingredients list of just dark chocolate, tofu and maple syrup). I added in a bit of banana and some more chocolate chips into the batter and it was just too good.

Protein: 14 grams

Dinner: pineapple fried quinoa, with edamame and (unpictured) Kaia raw sprouted “party mix” pumpkin seeds, unpictured side of kabocha squash dipped in organic ketchup.

Guys, this may be my new favorite dinner (other than waffles). I made it for the first time around my birthday back in July and made it a few times shortly after, but then forgot about it as I was moving into my apartment and starting school again. I randomly decided I wanted to make it again and I am so glad I rediscovered it. It is really so simple, but tastes crazy good. The best part is, it’s packed with protein from whole foods sources–edamame, quinoa and pumpkin seeds.

Protein: 11 grams

Dessert: PB Puffins mixed with peanut flour, almond milk, raisins and mini chocolate chips, unpictured side of peppermint dark chocolate square and Hail Merry raw maple vanilla almonds.

I don’t have cereal as much anymore, but I still have a soft spot for PB Puffins. They’re just so…addictingly good. Now when I have cereal, I like to add in some protein powder or peanut flour in with the almond milk to make it more substantial. This particular bowl was very peanutty, but good, even for a girl who hates peanut butter (but loves peanut otherwise).

Protein: 11 grams

The total protein count for the day was 63 grams! I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s right in line (actually a little higher) than Fitsugar’s chart on protein needs based on weight and activity levels. And for me, it’s about double the protein that I was eating a year ago so I consider that a major success! And it just goes to show that vegans can get enough protein, without having to eat a ton of soy (I only had half a serving on Monday) or even a lot of supplements (I only used one full scoop of protein powder the entire day).

Do you ever track your protein consumption? What’s your favorite plant-based protein source? 

WIAW: Weird Day of Eats

This is going to be a quick WIAW post since I’ve been incredibly busy this week–it’s midterm time and I’ve been overloaded with other school stuff too. But I still wanted to get in a WIAW so here it is! This is showing (almost) all of my food from Monday and it was a weird day of eating. My fridge hasn’t been working so I’ve had to keep my food in a small insulated cooler and I have to constantly change the ice out. It’s a pain in the butt, especially since the whole ordeal ended up making my kale inedible 😦 but hopefully my fridge will be fixed soon.

Caramel apple protein smoothie. Unsweetened vanilla almond milk. A quarter of a Pink Lady apple. 1 small Medjool date. Vega vanilla almondilla protein powder. Dried apple ring.

This was totally made up on the spot, but it worked, and actually tasted caramel-y. It’s still warm enough here most days for smoothies so I hope I can enjoy this a few more times.

Starbucks tall salted caramel mocha frappuccino light with soy. Unpictured side of dry roast edamame and maple pecans.

Yes, this was lunch. And yes, it was delicious. Also yes, it didn’t leave me satisfied. Obviously having a lunch that’s mostly caffeine and fake sugar will do that to you, but I was really craving a light frappuccino and this did the trick. I tried to bulk it up by adding protein (edamame) and fat (pecans). I wouldn’t do it again, but it was tasty.

Hannah yam. Salted almond butter, maple syrup, vegan chocolate chips.

This quick snack did the trick. The combo seems really weird but it works. If you’ve never tried a Hannah yam, you should. They look like regular potatoes on the outside but have a yellow-y inside and taste like a sweet potato.

This is my morning weather update from this week! It’s CTV’s (my college’s TV station) first week trying out these morning weather updates so hopefully they get better over time. And next time I hope I don’t look fat–it’s probably just how the shot was cropped and that it’s widescreen but I look seriously bloated. No bueno.

Yay for cheap-o knockoffs!

If you thought these were TOMS, you’d be wrong. But they’re almost as good, plus they were under $10. I made an impromptu stop at Super Target the other day and got sucked into buying these shoes. But hey, they were a good deal and I needed a pair of flats. You can’t really tell by the picture, but they’re a glittery gold. So cute, and so cheap.

Coconut flour microwave cake topped with peanut flour. Kale with vegan creamy garlic dressing. Two falafel balls. Dried apple rings.

Finally some veggies other than a sweet potato! This was the last of my kale because sadly it wilted after being in a less-than-cold fridge. Sad day. This was a delicious, if random, dinner though. (Side note: I finally have peanut flour back in my life!)

Protein cereal bowl. Sunrise maple cereal. PB & chocolate Puffins. Chocolate chips. Raisins. Unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Peanut flour.

I used to be such a cereal fiend, but now I have it maybe once a week. And it’s always in protein cereal bowl form, aka I put protein powder or peanut flour in the bottom of a bowl, dump in the cereal and other add-ins and then add almond milk. So good, and I get a nice dose of protein with my carbs.

Do you have any ‘knockoff’ shoes? What’s the weirdest lunch you’ve ever had?