“Where Did I Get My Protein?” As A Vegan…

December 3, 2017

This is a post-script to my Vegan Month blogs. Someone asked me to blog about the various protein sources I ate during Vegan Month. So – here they are!

The obvious ones

Tofu

I mostly used firm plain tofu for slicing/chopping and putting into dishes. I used Cauldron brand, but I’m sure there are others. I bought their marinaded chunks of tofu a couple of times (good for putting on salads etc) but the macros are surprisingly high.

Beans and pulses

I went with cooking my own from dried. It doesn’t take long (well, it does, but you just leave them cooking), and I think they turn out much nicer than canned. Plus, you know, less packaging to throw away. I did a weekly batch of chickpeas, red lentils, and split peas (usually with some spices and/or a stock cube in the water).  I also discovered fava beans for the first time – a real favourite! They don’t need pre-soaking. I cook them with turmeric, chilli flakes or fresh chilli, black pepper, and maybe a bit of garlic. Just let it all cook until the water has disappeared. Delicious.

Grains

Now, obviously there is some protein in almost everything. So I’m not going to list everything that “gave me protein” during Vegan Month because that would end up including broccoli etc. I’ll just mention the things I used to try and keep my protein high. Quinoa and buckwheat were two things I introduced that I don’t usually eat. I used buckwheat for savoury dishes (like you would use rice), and for sweet (like porridge). Both very easy to cook and store for a few days too.

“Alternative” pastas

I ate pastas made from green pea, chickpea flour, lentil flour, and soybean. These aren’t cheap, but they are a good way to “rethink” a meal – making the formerly carb aspect (pasta) the protein, and the formerly protein aspect (the sauce) carb. So I’d have one of these pastas with a veggie topping, maybe with some chickpeas and/or tofu in it. All of these pastas are tasty. You can get a green pea one and a red lentil one from most supermarkets (the rest I got from health food shops or online). This is one brand I found, but a couple of supermarkets have started doing their own brand (usually in the Free From bit).

Protein powder

I was sent a couple of big bags of Bulk Powders’s Vegan Complete protein which was a godsend. It’s a blend of plant-based protein powders and very tasty. I used it in place of whey in my morning porridge, and had it after training. I won’t be going back to whey protein now. I will continue to use a vegan protein blend, or a pea protein powder. Protein powder is an obvious way to get your protein up without carbs or fats. There are a lot of vegan protein powders and protein blends available these days.

Quorn

Now then! I had no idea that not all Quorn products are vegan – thank you to my friend who pointed this out, otherwise I probably would have picked up a load of products without realising. You have to look for the ones which are clearly labeled as vegan on the front. The others contain egg. I used the Quorn chunks (which are actually decent, in a pasta sauce etc).

Soy/meat free mince

Don’t use the Quorn brand version which is not vegan. I used supermarket own brand, but you do have to check that it doesn’t contain egg. I also used dry soya mince a few times but it’s not the best. You have to use it in a bolognese type affair and season the living daylights out of it.

Yoghurts

I’ve gone right off the idea of yoghurt for some reason, but there were a couple of times that I really fancied something different and sweet. So I had the little fruity Alpro yoghurts – the multipack with “banana and something” and “pear and something” is nice.

And an honourary mention for

My homemade seitan. I did tell you that I made seitan from scratch, didn’t I? Oh, good. 😉

Hope that helps with ideas for vegan protein (from a temporary vegan!)

All the Vegan Month posts can be found here >> Vegan Month experiment <<.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist with 13 years experience in writing content and direct response copy for the fitness industry. Get in touch via Facebook, by sending a message here.

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Fitness kit I’ve tested this week: Sativa Shakes non-dairy protein powder

May 12, 2013

I’m always especially pleased to review products from small, UK companies – so I’m happy to introduce Sativa Shakes: a friendly, growing protein supplement company who, it turns out, are local to me here in Kent. They produce non-dairy, plant protein powders including hemp protein and a plant protein blend.

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They specialise in lactose-free (and vegan-friendly) protein powders. There are two main product lines – “Viva Sativa” hemp protein and “Viva High Pro” plant protein blend (hemp, pea, rice and soy). At the moment, there are four flavours across two product ranges: toffee, chocolate caramel, strawberry and banana, and kiwi and lime. They are all non-GM, organic and naturally sweetened with Stevia (a calorie-free sweetener derived from a plant – rather than from chemicals) and use raw plant protein, minimally treated and processed. Take a look at the ingredients lists – teeny!

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I tried them all: straight-up as shakes, with my PWO banana (mashed up and frozen, like icecream) and stirred into my porridge oats. All were great! Because they’re plant proteins, the powders are rich and creamy and so they make quite thick shakes and go particularly well with oats. I loved all the flavours except for the kiwi and lime – I hoped to love this one as it’s unusual and not a flavour combo I’ve come across in any other protein powder, but I’m afraid I didn’t like it. This might be because, at the moment, this is the only one in the range which contains artificial flavour (the Sativa Shakes folk tell me they are working to find a natural replacement). I thought all the others were absolutely delicious, though.

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The strawberry and banana, chocolate caramel “Viva High Pro” plant protein blend is a mix of pea protein isolate, soy protein isolate, hemp protein, brown rice protein, flavouring, cocoa powder (in the choc version) Stevia and xantham gum (a thickener) with citric acid.

Per 30g serving you get around 105 kcals, 22.3g protein, 1.3g carbs (0.4g sugar) and 1.2g fats (including a good mix of omegas). The amino breakdown is different to whey, as you’d expect with this being a plant protein – check out the full nutritional stats on the Sativa website. The stats are very slightly different across the flavours.

The “Viva Sativa” toffee flavoured hemp protein is simply raw hemp protein, natural flavouring, xantham gum and Stevia. The kiwi and lime version of the hemp protein does – at the moment – contain artificial flavour. Per 30g serving: 130 kcals, 13.7g protein, 4.5g carbs (1.6g sugars) and 3.7g fats. Again, you get a good dose of omegas and fibre, and of course no lactose – these being dairy-free protein powders.

They’re ideal for vegans but you don’t need to be a vegan to try them! I really did like these, particularly the toffee and chocolate caramel flavours, I think because the taste goes really well with the rich, earthy, nutty flavour of plant proteins.

I’m not indulging in any protein-baking at this stage in my prep diet but I think that I’ll try these in a cake or muffins at some point. I reckon they’d be a great ingredient with the rich flavour and the thick nature of the powders.

If you’ve been looking for a non-dairy, vegan-friendly, lactose-free protein powder, or if you just fancy trying a new protein product, I recommend giving Sativa Shakes a go. If you’re not sure which to try – here’s a handy guide!

Keep an eye on Sativa Shakes on Facebook as they often run offers and discounts. There are some special offers here, too.

Thank you, Sativa Shakes people! Find them online here Sativa Shakes website or on Facebook Sativa Shakes on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Now I’ve made myself hungry so excuse me – time for dinner! 😉

Fitness kit I’ve tested this week: Sativa Shakes non-dairy protein powder is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


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