Archive for May, 2011

The Protein Question



I’ve been asked questions about protein for a long, long time, and I’d like to take this blog post to ruminate on the topic. Everyone knows that lean meat has high amounts of protein, but a lot of people have the misconception that eating meat and dairy is the only way to get an adequate amount. Let me clear that up right now – it’s total hogwash!

First, we need to find out how much protein is recommended per day. The CDC has a handy little table on their website, which states that women ages 19 – 70+ need 46 grams of protein every day. So this chart doesn’t take into account factors like weight, lifestyle, and BMI. The Institute of Medicine designates that “adults get a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day.” So, if I am 125 pounds, that works out to about 45 grams of protein per day for me.  Well, I’ve heard from other reputable sources that you should eat half your body weight in protein (in grams of course!), meaning I would need 62.5 g of protein a day. I don’t pay close attention to my protein intake, because I don’t often feel like I am lacking protein. But just to see how much I’m getting on any given day, I decided to write down everything I ate yesterday and calculate the calories and protein amount. Here it is:

What I Ate: Tuesday, May 24, 2011

FoodCaloriesProtein (g)
Oat Bran aka Breakfast #1:
1/4 Cup Hodgson Mill Oat Bran Hot Cereal1206
1/4 Cup Apple Juice Sweetened Raisins910.7
Smoothie aka Breakfast #2:
1 Banana1051
1 Tbsp. MLO Brown Rice Protein Powder557.5
1/2 Cup Silk Vanilla Soymilk503
1 Cup Tropical Mixed Fruit701
Meditterranean Chickpea Wrap:
1 La Tortilla Whole Grain Soft Wrap1008
4 oz. chickpeas863.6
1 oz. sundried tomatoes34.81.9
1/2 cup roasted pepper, onion, and potato mixture 500.8
Spinach Salad:
1 Cup Baby Spinach7.51
1/2 Slicing Tomato16.50.8
1 Sweet Red Pepper130.6
1 Tbsp. Brianna's Ginger Mandarin Dressing750
1 Gala apple750.2
1 oz. Sunflower Seeds, raw, hulled1606
2 pieces Green & Black's Organic Dark Chocolate Espresso Bar37.40.7
2 Cups Made from Scratch Red Beans and Rice72710.6
4 Tbsp. Tofutti Sour Cream1702
27 Ruffle's Natural Sea Salt Ridges Chips2504

Making this food journal is eye-opening for me in a couple ways. First, wow, I eat a lot! I eat all day long. It’s basically six meals that I eat, and that’s not counting nights when I have dessert. But whatevs, I’m always hungry, and it seems to work for me. I exercise too, so that burns some of those calories off. Second, I am impressed by the amount of protein in whole grains. The brown rice, oat bran, and whole grain wrap I ate yesterday account for 19 grams of protein, not including the brown rice powder I put in my smoothie. So if I go by the CDC’s standards, I’m actually eating too much protein, which I sort of thought all along, and I really just want to show people that I am not protein-deficient.

If you want more vegetarian ideas for protein, check out this blog post from trainer (and vegan celebrity) Bob Harper of Biggest Loser fame. I think he got tired of fielding protein questions, too!

MY Protein Choices!

Posted: November 15th, 2010  Author: Bob Harper

A lot of you have been asking me about plant-based protein.. So let me give you a breakdown of all my protein choices:

1. ALL kinds of beans (black, kidney, great northern, chick peas, black eyed peas, green peas, lentils, pinto beans, lima beans)
2. Tempeh
3. Seitan
4. Tofu
5. Veggie burger
6. Quinoa
7. Oatmeal
8. Brown rice
9. Whole wheat bread
10. Nuts
11. Peanut butter
12. Soy milk
13. Hemp Protein
14. Green Pea Protein
15. Brown Rice Protein
16. Vegan Protein Powder
17. Chlorella
18. Plenty of rich green leafy vegetables

So, what do you guys think? If you are veg, do you get this question like every day? And if you’re not veg, are you surprised how much protein there is in whole grains and veggies? Am I eating too much protein? Am I eating too much in general?? I welcome any and all criticism and/or advice!

MSP on the Road: Atlanta’s Cafe Sunflower

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting my BFF, Sarah, in Atlanta. We had an amazingly fun time preparing for her wedding with spa pedicures, sorbet, and a delicious meal at Atlanta’s premiere vegetarian/vegan restaurant, Cafe Sunflower. The cafe offers a wide variety of international vegetarian cuisine, serving everything from Jamaican Black Bean Cakes to Wild Mushroom Fettuccine. To start, Sarah and I ordered the Rainbow Pancakes –  “crispy wedges of carrot-scallion flour pancake with a sweet plum dipping sauce” – a scrumptious appetizer that reminded me of moo shu. For our entrees, Sarah ordered the Spicy Pad Thai Noodles and I had the Sweet and Sour Soy Chicken.  The portions were huge and the food was amazing. What really blew my mind was when our waitress asked if she could bring out the dessert tray. Um, YES you can! There were several different cake options, like gluten-free chocolate, vegan cheesecake, and coconut cake, but we had our sights set on the raspberry chocolate mousse slice. It was so decadent, and did not have a hint of “fake” flavor that vegan desserts sometimes have. I highly recommend this restaurant if you are in the area!

Sarah eating Pad Thai

Sarah enjoying her Pad Thai Noodles

Sweet n Sour Soy Chicken

My Sweet and Sour Soy Chicken

Vegan Raspberry Chocolate Mousse Cake

Our Vegan Raspberry Chocolate Mousse Cake

Spinach and Sweet Potato Tacos


Spinach and Sweet Potato Tacos

I hadn’t planned on making anything festive for Cinco de Mayo, but when I got home from work, I had an extreme hankering for Mexican fare and mango margaritas. Have I mentioned how much I love Williams-Sonoma’s margarita mixes? They come in pineapple, lemon-lime, and mango. I’ve been making mine with added frozen fruit like strawberries, pineapple and peaches, and blending to creamy consistency. My taco idea turned out great, and since there is no added cheese or sour cream, these are a pretty healthy and satisfying meal.

Spinach and Sweet Potato Tacos:


  • 1 sweet potato, baked (I poked holes in mine and threw it in the microwave for about seven or eight minutes)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 big handfuls of spinach
  • 1 15 oz can fat free vegetarian refried beans, warmed
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 6 corn or flour tortillas, taco size
  • Salsa (I used my favorite, Newman’s Own Pineapple Salsa)


Heat about 1/4 cup of water on medium in a large frying pan on stove top. Add chopped onion and sauté for about five minutes, or until onion is translucent. Add spinach, stir, and sauté another two minutes. Scoop sweet potato out of its skin, chop into 1-inch cubes, and add to spinach and onion. Add cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder, and stir again. Heat another pan on medium-low, and place one tortilla flat in the middle of the pan. Scoop a layer of refried beans down the center, then top with spinach-sweet-potato-onion mixture. Fold over one side of the tortilla to make a taco, and heat for 2 – 3 minutes on each side, flipping with a spatula. Transfer taco to a plate and top with salsa. This recipe yields six tacos.

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