“Vegan diet must be a penance for sins you committed in the past”, said a friend, laughing. Many people perceive the vegan diet as boring, tasteless or simply punishing! Anything personal has the scope to be experimental, just like the food we eat. My own experiment with no carb, high protein diet changed that perspective forever.
It is important that one uses ingredients not just traditionally, but also in divergent forms and combinations. Sourcing protein that way is easy as well as rewarding! Let us talk about the primary sources of protein and how you can explore them in various forms.
Lentils: The good old source of protein will be your BAE during your vegan journey. You can either sprout them and eat them raw or mix them in hot salads. Lentils can also be soaked overnight, blended into a batter and fermented to make bread, pancakes, dosas, etc. They are a blessing for vegans! I like to mix them with brown rice, oats and quinoa along with other vegetables for a wholesome meal. For a more sinful indulgence, you can explore lentil burgers, cutlets or casseroles. One cup of cooked lentils take care of about 18 grams of your protein requirement and is filling at the same time.
Tofu: This dairy substitute gels well with practically anything on your plate. Grate it on salads and soups for a creamy texture, barbecue it with spicy marinations, slice them for your sandwiches, cube and season them as a side dish or cook it with a rich gravy for the main course. White goes with every colour! Four ounces of tofu can nurture you with 9 grams of protein.
Quinoa: A gift from heaven for those going green, quinoa is every vegan’s BFF! A cup of quinoa gives you approximately 9 grams of protein. What’s more? It also gives magnesium, phosphorous and manganese, the deficiencies of which can cause several health problems that rather go unnoticed. Cook it dry with veggies, or porridge consistency; it doesn’t disappoint. I secretly grind it and use it in place of flour for pancakes and bread, the hubby never gets to know 😉 You can also soak it and add it to soups and salads for a grainy texture, I like it like that.
Vegetables: Choose any colour spectrum on your plate, green is unapologetically unavoidable and it is proud of it! While non-vegetarians may consider us deficient, one cup of spinach can give you 7 grams of protein, the same serving of French beans about 13 grams and boiled green peas approximately 9 grams of protein. Roll-up your sleeves the next time carnivores tease you for a fist fight.
Beans: Whether you add kidney beans to your Mexican rice and burritos or make an oriental black bean sauce, Mrs Beans will be there for you. A cup of this 12-15 grams of protein is a sure shot way to health and yumminess. Add them to your wraps, soups, salads or a burger patty and make ‘Being Vegan’ ‘Being Trendy’.
Non-dairy: White is my favourite colour, I cannot eliminate it from my refrigerator entirely, ever! Almond milk is nutritious as well as delicious. Coffee lovers, you are in for a treat if you substitute regular milk with almond milk. You can also use it to add a zing to your healthy brownies, pancakes, desserts etc. Extracting it at home is easy peasy if you’re purity conscious. (There are articles and videos online to help). Soy milk is widely available in various flavours. If you have a sweet tooth, blend or simply mix cut fruits in soy/almond milk or yoghurt and freeze it for a healthy dessert. Needless to mention, you can always go the extra tongue mile by garnishing it with berries, chia seeds, walnuts, dark chocolate shreds etc. Coconut milk can be added to soups and curries instead of creams, it is nutritious, light and has that x-factor.
Nut-butter: Did you mindfully add ‘pea’ to the ‘nut butter’? I say why not? As long as it is pure, homemade or purchased, you just made turning Vegan worthwhile! There’s nothing better than peanut butter on toast with banana slices and chia seeds for a hush-hush breakfast. Make a thick smoothie or overnight oats using cocoa and peanut butter, you will forget Monday- Blues! Crepes, muffins, coffees, who minds the company of nut butter? The Butternut Co. has an amazing variety of pure nut butter, including almond. You can keep one in your handbag to kill time orgasmically. Finger licking good, ain’t it?
So dear vegans, you are on a self-rewarding journey irrespective of what your meaty counterparts may claim! It takes no balls, only some kindness to thank the beauty of co-existence. You’re losing nothing but cruelty, gaining holistic nourishment along with some muscle. 😉 Bravo!