Feelin' Chalky

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Protein Myth Buster

Probably the most commonly asked question I get since I have decided to cut out meat is, "but how do you get your protein?!? (said in an intense and concerned tone)"  Let's face it...we Americans love protein.  We love to talk about it, we love to eat it, and the cattle farmers rejoice!  ;-)  In all seriousness, though, this is a very important topic.  Most people go around their whole life thinking that meat is a superior form of protein and if you're not eating it you will eventually wind up looking something like this:

The truth?  You need a whole lot less protein than you think, however it IS still very important!  It is what keeps us ticking and it keeps you feeling satisfied longer which staves off hunger!  The most shocking part of the story is that you can get protein from just about ANY food!  Check this out (from www.vrg.org):

Table 2: Protein Content of Selected Vegan Foods
Tempeh1 cup419.3
Seitan3 ounces3122.1
Soybeans, cooked1 cup299.6
Lentils, cooked1 cup187.8
Black beans, cooked1 cup156.7
Kidney beans, cooked1 cup136.4
Veggie burger1 patty1313.0
Chickpeas, cooked1 cup124.2
Veggie baked beans1 cup125.0
Pinto beans, cooked1 cup125.7
Black-eyed peas, cooked1 cup116.2
Tofu, firm4 ounces1111.7
Lima beans, cooked1 cup105.7
Quinoa, cooked1 cup93.5
Tofu, regular4 ounces910.6
Bagel1 med.
(3 oz)
Peas, cooked1 cup96.4
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), cooked1/2 cup88.4
Peanut butter2 Tbsp84.3
Veggie dog1 link813.3
Spaghetti, cooked1 cup83.7
Almonds1/4 cup83.7
Soy milk, commercial, plain1 cup77.0
Soy yogurt, plain6 ounces64.0
Bulgur, cooked1 cup63.7
Sunflower seeds1/4 cup63.3
Whole wheat bread2 slices53.9
Cashews1/4 cup52.7
Almond butter2 Tbsp52.4
Brown rice, cooked1 cup52.1
Spinach, cooked1 cup513.0
Broccoli, cooked1 cup46.8
Potato1 med.
(6 oz)
Sources: USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18, 2005 and manufacturers' information.
The recommendation for protein for adult males vegans is around 56-70 grams per day; for adult female vegans it is around 46-58 grams per day (see text).
We need about 0.45 grams of protein per pound that we weigh.  To say it another way - only about 1 calorie for every 100 we eat needs to come from a protein source.  I don't want to downplay the role of protein in our diet because it is essential, but I do think it is important to realize that most of us eat way more than we need without even trying (forget the excess protein we get in supplements and shakes and bars).  As long as you are eating a varied diet - one that consists of veggies, fruit, beans, grains, nuts, seeds and such you should be more than fine in the protein department.

So...what is this "complete protein" business?  What does that mean?  Don't you have to combine foods to get the magic protein potion?  To answer that question, let's take a short trip back to High School Biology...cue pimples...

Proteins are made of amino acids.  Amino acids are the building blocks of life as we know it.  We make some amino acids on our own - others we obtain through the food that we ingest.  These "needed" amino acids are called "essential."  Some of the essential amino acids are: tyrosine, lysine, tryptophan, valine, and leucine (I picked the easiest ones to spell - haha).  A food is considered a "complete protein" when it contains all of the essential amino acids.  Meat is a complete protein (that's why most people consider it THE protein source).  This concludes your Biology lesson.

The old school thought was that in order for a vegetarian or vegan to get a complete protein they had to eat foods together in the same meal that when combined had the full set of essential amino acids.  One common and easy power-duo is beans and rice.  Today it is known that while beans and rice are delicious together it isn't necessary that they are eaten together to reap the nutritional benefits.  In fact, our bodies are so well-designed (imagine that...our Creator knew what He was doing!) that they can pull the things we need from different foods all day long and then fit them together like a giant jigsaw puzzle!  Pretty amazing, huh?

There is a lot more information out there on this topic.  Some of it is over my head.  The site I found some of my information on is The Vegetarian Resource Group.  There are many, many others.  Try searching: "vegetarian protein sources" or "vegan bodybuilders" - chances are you will learn something new!  If you do - please share!

If you remember last week I had a gain and I was determined to press on.  This week I lost 3.6 pounds!!  That brings my total to 92.4 pounds!  T-minus 7.6 pounds to 100! ;-)

This week at WW we talked about treating yourself to something you love.  I know too well that depriving myself causes overindulgence, so in honor of treating myself this week I bought my favorite treat...

Be on the look-out for a post coming soon all about soups entitled, "The Soup Nazi"...it will include some of my current favorite soup recipes from friends and family.  What could be better on a cold day???

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Produce Power!

Tuesdays are grocery day in the Colescott household.  The pantry and refrigerator were looking pretty thin...I actually cried this morning because we were out of bananas...well, almost.  I had to improvise and toss some chopped apple and dried cranberries into my groats instead of a banana.  ;-)  I've discovered that sometimes if I am in a rut I just need a little inspiration.  One sure-fire way to breathe new life back into my meals and snacks is to go walk through the produce aisle.  Meijer is one of the BEST places in Kokomo to do just that.  They carry some fruits and veggies I haven't even heard of and many that I have never tasted.  So today my two sons and I leisurely walked up and down the aisles in the produce section to grab some favorites as well as some new finds for the week.

I call it my pRoDuCe pOwEr - my ammo to fight for another week.  The bad guy? Junk food. The good guys?  See below...

For those of you who are still convinced that eating healthy is way to expensive...and also to the coupon clipping, deal-seeking peeps out there...here is what I came home with today: 

And here is everything unloaded...
How much do you think I spent??  There are 2 kinds of apples, bananas, mangoes, potatoes, red pears, oranges, zucchini, yellow squash, spaghetti squash, asparagus tips, Veggie Shreds, Flat-outs, Cheerios, 3 different salads, a small veggie tray...and some other packaged items like Kashi bars and pretzels...
The total was $96 and some change!! I was pretty excited about that!  Our budget for the week is $120.  This will more than feed our family for the week!  Of course I have some other staples already at home like beans and rice and Quorn products and I also have turkey burgers for the kids and veggie burgers for me.
Yes. We like bananas...and oranges...and apples. :-)
Lots of "free" fruits and veg!
Here are my "inspiration" foods for the week - above from L-R: turnips, rutabaga, and fennel.  The plan is to roast them with some olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Anyone know what I can use the fennel fronds for?
And these interesting beauties? Prickly Pears. The label said "intense berry flavor" - sounds intriguing!
This was a recipe experiment from tonight. Sometimes I feel bad that I use my family members as guinea pigs, but most of the time I enjoy it.  Haha.  It's my payback for all of the dirty diapers!  This is my veggie version of a Shepherd's Pie.  It was actually quite smashing, love (said in my best brit accent).
In case you might want to try it out this week...here is the recipe!  Sorry the picture looks like barf.  I don't take very good food pictures.

Veggie Shepherd's Pie

Olive oil
1 medium onion
garlic (I added about 6 cloves b/c I am a garlic freak)
2, 8 oz packages of sliced baby bella mushrooms
1/2 bag Quorn grounds
1 bag frozen peas
1/2 bag frozen green beans
1 can carrots (I don't like frozen carrots at all!)
5-6 small yellow potatoes
salt to taste
pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne pepper
2-3 T cooking sherry
1 1/2 cups veggie broth/stock
4 T flour
1 1/2 cups plain soy milk
1-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Cut potatoes into halves or quarters and boil until tender.  Spray olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onions, mushrooms, and garlic and saute until onion is soft and mushrooms release their juices.  Add Quorn grounds and heat through.  Add peas, green beans, and carrots.  Continue to heat through for about 5 minutes.  Add salt and pepper, a pinch of cayenne, and the sherry.  Whisk the flour with the veggie broth and stir into the vegetables.  Continue to stir until the "gravy" thickens and then add the milk and Worcestershire.  Pour into a 9 X 13 casserole pan.  Mash potatoes (I add a little Earth Balance butter, garlic, salt and pepper, and plain soy milk to mine).  Spread potatoes on top of veggies and place into a 350 degree oven until warmed through - about 10 minutes.  For 1/12 of the total dish, the P+ value is 3!  Score! (ps...I ate 2 servings for a P+ value of 6)

Monday, January 17, 2011


I am finding myself back in that "whiney baby" stage of the journey.  It seems like I can coast for several weeks and then I start the stomping and complaining again.  My complaint this time?  A gain last week.  It wasn't catastrophic and I kinda expected it, but it is still disappointing and I have to admit it knocks the wind out me a little bit.  I can always list 15 reasons why I gained - you know the usual stress and lack of sleep and all of that, but when I am truly honest it comes down to getting a little too "free" with my choices.  A few bites here that are unaccounted for and maybe a forgotten avocado there.  It all adds up, and add to that sitting on my butt most of the day last Friday with my son who had surgery...it's a cocktail for disaster on the weight loss front.  Don't get me wrong I didn't go raid Dunkin Donuts, but you can overeat healthy foods too!

Something I did learn this week is that I need to listen to my body.  The old me craved everything bad all of the time.  Now I rarely have what I would call a true craving, but when I do I think it usually legitimate.  For instance...I will crave pears or avocado if I go a few weeks without having them.  I like that because it helps me keep putting a variety of foods in my mouth each week.  This last week I craved a chocolate bar.  I am not talking about a Snickers either (even though Snickers used to be my fav), I am talking about an Endangered Species bar...my favorite...dark chocolate with mint.  I ignored the craving and passed it off as unnecessary - something the old me would want.  I should have listened.  All week I tried to fill that need with less healthy alternatives.  Nothing satisfied me.  After WW on Saturday...I bought my chocolate and I ate it.  No more chocolate craving so far this week.  Lesson learned.

Here is the deal though...I TRY not to let the gain get to me...I really do.  But then the perfectionist and competitive side of me just won't let it go!  And top that with the pressure of friends and family who look me up each week to ask the burning question, "how did you do this week???"  I love having that accountability, but it sure sucks when I don't have negative numbers to report.  Sometimes that pressure is too much for me to bear.  Sometimes I wonder why people want to read my story or ask my advice.  But then I think back to where I have come from...and I smile.  I guess it's just a reminder that this is not really MY story to start with and that I need my Heavenly Father to carry me when I am weak.

I am not sure if I let my guard down after the holidays or if I am just feeling rebellious, but I know that this isn't the end for me...not even CLOSE!  I have so much more journey left.  I think I just needed a kick in the pants! ;-)  And...I needed to get out my rice cooker and make some yummy groats! One of my favorite breakfast treats!

This last week I gained 1.4 pounds.  BOO!  That brings my total weight loss to 88.8.  No worries.  I'll be back to 90...and then 100 in no time!  The plan for my 100 celebration?  To revamp this site and a revamp my look...definitely looking forward to visiting my favorite hairdresser, Miss Joie!  It's been way too long!

I am looking forward to a great week.  My plan for the week is to move my butt and really focus on good, healthy grains, veggies and fruits, and up my water intake again because I have gotten lazy about it.  I am also trying to eat less at meal-time and have more snacks.  Sometimes I find myself forgetting snacks and then it really sneaks up on me when it comes to meals.  A little more balance is a good thing.

Looking forward to reporting back next week with some "negative" news!  

Saturday, January 8, 2011

That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles

So how was your December?  Did you have a good Christmas?  Eat too many cookies? Ham? Candy canes? Fudge (yum...one of my personal favs)?  You're not alone!  And guess what?  It's January...December is gone!  You can't change the things that you ate (or didn't eat) in December, but you CAN start fresh (literally) and take big steps toward making yourself the healthiest YOU you can be - today!

We had our share of sweet treats in the Colescott household.  Some of them ended up in the trash...well...some were in the trash b/c they didn't turn out the best (for example my mom's failed caramel corn - sorry mom) and some ended up in the trash b/c they were TOO good, too tempting.  I didn't deprive myself this holiday.  I ate cookies and more candy canes than I should have, but I also ate good things too.  And, unlike other Christmas seasons past, I started over every day - like nothing had ever happened.  I think it's OK every once in a while to have your cake and eat it too...really.  It's not going to make or break you when you look at the big picture.  My biggest obstacle in the past was not my mom's DE-licious fudge, it was the negative self-talk that came after the fudge.  I stuck my fingers in my ears and started humming when I heard that voice this year!

Is all of the indulgence of the holidays GOOD for you?  No. In fact, I woke up the day after "cookie baking day" and had what I am lovingly calling a "sugar hang-over."  Don't laugh.  I'm serious.  My body felt like it had been beaten up from the inside.  I had a blaring headache that intensified with every shrill scream from my kids, felt nauseous, and just wanted to lay on the couch all day.  Sound familiar?  It's been a long time since I have sailed with the Captain but I do remember what that feeling is like...vividly...unfortunately.  *shudder*  Just more proof that sugar is soooo bad for your body. :(  BUT your body is so smart and so resilient that in a matter of days all of that junk is pushed out and sent packing with every bite of a banana or brown rice or any other innately healthy food.  Isn't that amazing?!?

Anyway, I hope that admitting that I also had some Christmas excess helps to encourage some of you who are still ridden with guilt.  It's OK...really!  So let's take a deep breath and get down to business!

Here is a recap of my December/January for those of you who are keeping track: week 1 (12/4): -2 pounds, week 2 (12/11): -0.8, week 3 (12/18): +0.6, week 4 (12/25): -2.8, and week 5 (1/1): -1.0.  This week I lost another 0.4 pounds.  That brings my "holiday season" (Dec/Jan) total to -6.4 pounds! :)  Not even Mr. Gingerbread Man can stop me!  Haha!  My grand total as of today is -90.2 pounds...I am heading straight for that 100 pound mark!  Can't wait to celebrate!  How do YOU think I should celebrate the 100-pound mark? I need some ideas!

I tried some new things over the holiday season that I am really excited about.  Here are a couple of my favorite new finds:

Baby broccoli/Broccolini: Have you had this before?  I have seen them use it on the Food Network, but have never seen it in the grocery store until the other day.  They were actually out of broccoli (something about a shortage?) so I was scouring the shelves for something comparable.  Baby broccoli looks like asparagus (long, thin stems) with the "fuzzy" floret tops.  The flavor was also an asparagus/broccoli hybrid - LOVE!!  My sister bought us some fancy olive oil that is infused with roasted garlic and portabello mushrooms and I used it to saute the broccolini - it was divine!  I highly recommend you give it a try! (the olive oil is from a small store my sister visited in Sedona, Arizona - her soon to be new home - sadness!)

Ideal "confectioner's sugar" sweetener - I have been searching for a powdered/confectioner's sugar substitute.  There have been times that I have wanted to experiment with making a "healthier" icing or glaze for cupcakes or cinnamon rolls.  I found this the other day at Meijer when I was shopping for cookie baking items.  It is made of Xylitol (which is a naturally occuring sugar alcohol found in many fruits and vegetables) and Maltodextrin (a glucose-like substance derived from the starch in either corn or wheat).  It is 84 calories per 1/4 cup so it is popular for people with diabetes.  They also have "brown" sugar and regular sweetener packets and such.  I REALLY was impressed with the flavor.  We made a peppermint glaze with it for some candy cane cookies that we baked.  The cookies were a flop (due to some expired shortening) but the glaze was wonderful!  I'm not saying it is a HEALTHY food, but definitely a great alternative to powdered sugar in recipes!

I have so many things I have been dreaming up to share with all of you.  Keep your eyes peeled for some stellar posts in the next couple of weeks - new recipes and tips and some product reviews! :)  Stay tuned!