While I certainly don’t crave the attention associated with Veganism, it inevitably hijacks a conversation at some point during a social gathering or in the infancy phase of a new relationship. I don’t plan for it, but I will use the opportunity to make headway in bettering someone else’s health and the planet. I do feel compelled to spread the word of compassion and improved overall health for those that show an interest.
So how does a conversation about Veganism begin with a Non-Vegan? If you’re Vegan, you already know. For me, it usually goes a little like this:
The Setting: Dinner at a restaurant with new friends/co-workers or husband’s clients
Waiter: What can I get you?
Me: I’ll take the Roasted Vegetables and Orzo. No butter added, please. For the appetizer, can I get the bruschetta without the cheese?
slight gasp coming from somewhere across the table
Non-Vegan: Oh, no…are you lactose intolerant?
I’m thinking, what do you mean by ‘oh, no?’ It’s not a death sentence – just the opposite as a matter of fact.
Me: No, I don’t eat meat, eggs or dairy.
Non-Vegan: You’re not one of those Vegans?
Me: Yes, I am. (scratching my head at the phrase ‘one of those’)
Non-Vegan: I don’t see how you do it.
I’m thinking, ‘Get ready, here comes the million-dollar question…’
Me: I use to think the exact same thing before I tried it.
Non-Vegan: (with a scrunched up nose and crinkled brow): How in the world do you get your protein?
I can count on one thing. Non-Vegans are always curious when it comes to Veganism. I can’t blame them. For most omnivores, it’s a perplexing, head-scratcher of a subject. Admittedly, Vegans are a rare breed (but on the rise). I use to be perplexed myself. While most are genuinely curious, there are those that are simply internally categorizing you as the victim of a trend. I tend to ignore that breed and can often recognize the ones that are just trying to poke holes in my dietary choices, as if self-vindication will free them from the obligation of having to do the same.
I don’t judge ones that don’t, so I expect others to respectfully not judge those that do.
But, if I had a nickel for every time I got asked the million-dollar question, I would be just that, a millionaire—and at this pace, possibly a bajillionaire by the time I retire. I often give a scripted answer – in some way hoping that it inspires the curious to further investigate the subject on his or her own (and preferably via my blog).
For those who are curiously exploring the idea of Veganism, simply put, we get our protein from plants.
Although I don’t advocate eating them daily, I can get just as much as any omnivore by eating Vegan “meat.” One serving of my favorite brands produces 16-23g per serving. So when I am in a pinch, I can be sure to get my daily dose. Tofu can have a much as 15 grams per serving. Look at some of these jaw-dropping numbers…
|Veggie Burger||Up to 23g per serving|
|Cooked Grains (i.e. quinoa, brown rice, pasta, oats, whole wheat bread/cereal)||6-9g per serving|
|Beans (including hummus)||6-9g per ½ cup!!!|
|Marinara Sauce||3g per ½ cup|
|Nuts, Nut Butters||6-7g per serving|
|Kale||3 g per serving|
|Collard Greens||4g per cup|
|Large corn on the cobb||5g|
|Medium Potato, baked with skin||5g|
|Peas||4g per ½ cup|
|Brussel Sprouts||2g for ½ cup|
|Asparagus||2g for 5 spears|
|Broccoli||2g per ½ cup|
|Nutritional Yeast||16 g for 3 tablespoons|
|Chia /Hemp Seeds||4-10g per serving|
|Pumpkin Seeds||18g for ¼ cup!!!|
|Lentils||18g for 1 cup!|
|Dried fruit||3g per serving|
|Fruits (i.e. watermelon, bananas, raspberries)||1-2g per serving|
|Avocado||4g per avocado|
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t just go spewing out protein numbers to the newbies at the dinner table. I do, however let them know that it is indeed possible to be Vegan and have a protein-enriched diet. In Friday’s post, I’ll share a recipe packed with protein and nutrients that will surely be a crowd gatherer for Vegans and those curious omnivores.