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How to get enough protein without dairy, meat, and soy?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I feel like wasting away without protein. How do I get enough protein without meat, soy, and dairy?

And can someone explain this "complete protein" thing? I thought that if protein was not a complete protein, it wasn't used well by the body. People say eat beans rice and cheese at the same time. How important is this and what do I do if I am dairy free?
post #2 of 23
Well let's see. It has to do with how animal proteins have all the amino acids. Plant foods have protein too, so long as you combine them to make a whole protein you are fine. I found this page that talks about complete proteins.

The answer is to your first question is beans, nuts, seeds, nut butters, chickpeas, granola, eggs (if your ovo).

post #3 of 23
What marimama said. If you find you absolutely MUST use a supplemental protien powder, check in to rice, pea or hemp powders.
post #4 of 23
There are basically two groups of plant proteins. Legumes, nuts and seeds are richer in some amino acids, and grains are richer in others. As long as you are eating a balanced diet that isn't JUST grains or JUST nuts, seeds and legumes, you'll be fine.

So, for example, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a good whole grain bread is going to have between 15 and 20 grams of protein, and contains both sources. A bean taco on a corn tortilla is another example of a 'complete protein,' or lentils and brown rice. Or a bulghur wheat salad with garbanzo beans.

Certain plants: oats, quinoa, hempseed and the much-maligned soybean, contain all the essential amino acids in approximately the same concentration as animal foods do.

You DON'T have to eat these things in the same meal, but doing so comes fairly naturally most of the time. As long as you aren't going for an extended period of time eating ONLY, say, rice OR beans OR wheat, you're going to be fine. Protein deficiencies really only tend to happen in anorexics, alcoholics, and people who have limited access to foods.
post #5 of 23
if you eat a couple of eggs a day, have a couple of servings of nuts/seeds, and make sure dinner has beans in it that adds up to about 35-40g of protein. then remember that the grains you eat have protein too, as well as fruits and veggies.

and i'll second the hemp protein powder. it makes a huge difference for me, when i have it... which reminds me i need to get some again!
post #6 of 23
i eat some soy but not much and I do not have any problem meating my protien needs. nuts and beans baby. I eat a lot of beand, lentil, chick peas. at least two servings a day. and peanutbutter sandwhiches on whole grain bread. its really not hard.

also keep in mind when looking at lables portion sizes are smaller than you expect....I serving of mixed nuts is about 10 nuts. a serving of peanutbutter is 2 tablespoons or just enough to make a thin layer on a peice of bread. a servings of cooked beans is half a cup. you may be getting more protien from your sandwhich, couple hand fulls of nuts and bowl of chili than you think.
post #7 of 23
different people have VASTLY different protein needs. Do you eat eggs? If so, you can eat lots of them. If you are feeling you need a lot more protein, I'd first try to eat eggs WITH beans and grains. A small amount of animal protein will help your body better assimilate the veggie protein.

If you aren't feeling you are getting enough protien from beans, nuts, grains, and eggs, then you might want/need to consider adding small amounts of dairy, fish, or meat to your diet. Not everyone can meet their nutritional needs through vegetarian/vegan food. Goodness knows, I don't do well on more than 1 meal a day without at least a little dairy or eggs.
post #8 of 23
You could also consider adding green smoothies to your day, after all, the cows that provide milk and meat got their amino acids from plant sources. The problem is that we don't have the capacity to break down cell walls to extract sufficient amino acids because we only have one stomach. Enter green smoothies! If you have a powerful enough blender (say, a Vitamix), you can blend entire heads of lettuce and other greens into a cupful, while at the same time you are breaking down enough cellulose to have access to the same amino acid protein building blocks that dairy and meat animals have.

Good luck!
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
We don't do dairy except ghee or eggs due to allergies.

Here is what a typical day is like of meals. I need help figuring out if that is enough protein. I just feel like I really need more as I am am breastfeeding. If I don't have more vegetarian protein options, DH insists on meat.

Snack- apple or orange and perhaps some nuts or seeds

B- Bowl of amaranth or teff with handful of sunflower seeds or cashews, some fruit on the grains like blackberries or blueberries. If we don't have nuts, I make up some black eyed peas for a side

L- Some kind of beans homemade, and a side of brown rice or quinoa, big bowl of steamed greens like swiss chard

Snack- Fruit smoothie with chia seeds, brewers yeast, and cashew butter, and several cups of greens blended in.

D- Lentil soup, OR maybe a sweet potato and some salmon or a piece of liver or chicken, and some steamed vegetable. (this is if there is not a good non meat vegetable made)

Perhaps it is because I am breastfeeding, but at the end of the day I am still craving protein and have snack before bed usually. I don't think I am eating too much since after having a baby 7 months ago, I am down to a size 4-6, and if I don't eat more, I will loose a ton more weight.

We are trying to move to more salads since the weather is warming up. I want to eat more raw, but I just get so hungry with it.
post #10 of 23
I just want to say that I tried the hemp protein powder in all sorts of smoothies and found it disgusting, unpalatable. I went back to whey protein powder for my smoothies (vanilla flavored). If you able to use whey, it tastes a ton better than hemp (at least to me )
post #11 of 23
Your protein and fat intake look good to me, but if you aren't feeling right then something obviously needs to change! I know what you mean about the breastfeeding...I tend to feel like everything just goes through me and to the baby and there's not a lot left for me. I also get thinner and scrawny looking but that phase doesn't last too long. Are you craving animal protein? I would trust your instincts. I don't even like eggs, but I depend on them a lot right now to feel grounded in my diet.

good luck!
post #12 of 23
Protein is ubiquitous. It's every where and in everything. It is literally impossible (unless you are starving) to be protein deficient. It sounds like you just want more calories. If you put your food into something like nutridiary.com, you would find that you are consuming plenty of protein. You are probably just hungry. Most of the foods that we think of as high in protein (meat, dairy, nuts) are in reality high in fat, which means they are the foods we want to fill us up QUICK when we are not eating enough carbohydrates to satiate ourselves.
post #13 of 23
honestly it does not sound like you are eating enough period. instead of adding more protien (it sounds like you are getting plenty) I would add some fat and carbs.
post #14 of 23
I would do "fitday" for a couple days, write everything down and you will see exactly how much protein you get. Everything has *some* protein in it.

I am not vegan, though I spent a lot of time on and off again vegan, with eating eggs. I just don't feel my best, but I eat vegan a great deal of the time. With quinoa really being the only grain I eat, and lots of lentils, it still adds up to a lot of protein. I do eat an egg a day, but just one and that's only like 6 grams of protein anyways.

I made a huge curry with lentils, chickpeas, lots of veggies and some kale, and I eat it with a little quinoa. snacks are veggies, seeds, nuts. I keep a lot of salads that have nuts in them made up.

Coconut oil, flax seeds/oil and olive oil/walnut oil in salads are my fats.

You really do not need hundreds of grams of protein in a day. I workout hard, and have a lot of muscle and I don't come CLOSE to the amount of protein some gym rats I know LOL. But I look/feel better.
post #15 of 23
Originally Posted by 425lisamarie View Post
You really do not need hundreds of grams of protein in a day. I workout hard, and have a lot of muscle and I don't come CLOSE to the amount of protein some gym rats I know LOL. But I look/feel better.
This. I average 80-100 grams of protein a day, 100% of it from plant sources and I'm pretty ripped (don't believe me? check out my blog. ). I track my diet at caloriecount.com, but fitday and spark people are great too. You might find you're getting more than you realize, and an average adult woman usually only needs 40-80 grams a day for optimal health. I'm not sure how much more a nursing woman needs but I can't imagine it's an astronomical amount.
post #16 of 23
ambereva, yes you are that

Another thing you can do OP is make a "meal bar" type thing. I use kale, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and quinoa.
post #17 of 23
Originally Posted by 425lisamarie View Post
Another thing you can do OP is make a "meal bar" type thing. I use kale, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and quinoa.
post #18 of 23
blue bird mama, if you feel you aren't getting enough protein, I would honor that. Perhaps you aren't at this point in time able to properly assimilate the vegetable protein without a little animal protein. It sounds like you do eat fish and poultry, and eggs? Even tiny amounts of those with your bean/grain combo proteins will help your body assimilate it better. (dirty rice, beans/grains cooked in chicken or fish stock, an egg or half an egg.) I'd try eating a little more animal protein with every meal. it doesn't have to be a lot, and a half an egg will be plenty.

the other thing is making sure you have enough fat to be able to absorb the protein. You don't nessicarily need a lot, but it is possible on a veggie diet to eat almost no fat at all, and you do need some. ghee would be great.
post #19 of 23
It's entirely possible that it's not protein blue bird mama is deficient in, but iron or folate or some other nutrient found in protein rich foods.

OP, I will suggest again, track your diet for a few days at one of the sites listed above, they also track micronutrients and you can get a good idea of what nutritional needs you may not be meeting, which can help you tailor your diet better than a bunch of strangers on a message board.
post #20 of 23
Well i need to make more of an official exact recipe. I have been meaning to do this with the meal bars so when i finally start a blog i have recipes. I have always make nut/seed/fruit bars wtih greens, but until i made them more of a "meal" for me by adding quinoa they keep me going.

I kind of do this by how many servings I want. So for example I want an ounce of almonds, a good serving of flax, so like 10 grams, a serving of kale/spinach, and a small bit of dates, oh and a serving 100 grams of quinoa. I also add cinnamon, and some times I do a chocolate type.

SO for a small square pan I have, I'd do 4 times all these. So I would use 400 grams cooked quinoa (I cook tons anyways for salads, but i'm more exact for bars, because i want to know the calories protein.

So for an 8x8 square pan, in a food processor I put 4 ounces or 115 grams almonds, 40 grams of flax seeds, a bunch of kale/spinach, however much you want to use, I use about 400 grams spinach or kale, and maybe 2 ounces dates and a tblsp coconut oil Then some cinnamon/nutmeg or whatever you want. Just turn on the FP and let it wirl around untill it is finely ground but not nut butter. Then I dump it in a bowl and mix with the quinoa, or just throw the quinoa in the FP and whirl it a couple pulses. Press it all in to a pan. I put them in my oven on dehydrate (my oven has a dry function, wtih a plug to keep the door cracked but a 200 oven would be fine i think) and I just leave them in there just enough so that I can keep them out and they are slightly dryer than sticky. I found when i just put them in the fridge they are mush if i try to put one in a bag or something. You can dry them out as long as you want, the longer/slower the more they turn in to that "bar" type thing.

So here's the breakdown per serving:
100 grams quinoa: 4 grams protein 120 calories
almonds - 28 grams 160 calroies 6 grams protein
flax 10 grams 55 calories 2 grms protein
dates 1/2 ounce (4 ounces total batch or 115 grams)about 1 grm protein and about 35 calories
coconut oil 1 tblsp for batch, 1/4 tblsp per bar 40calories
kale - 100 grams 50 cal, 3 protein

total per bar is about 450 calories, 16 grams protein. ALL real food that your body will digest and use very effectively and keep you full/satisfied. And they are totally yummy. You can scale down amounts, or use less greens but 100 grams per serving to me makes it count like a 'meal.' I have been livin on these during the day forever.

I guess actually that is kind of an exact recipe .

Normally i multiply everything by lilke 8 at least and make a lot. I eat one at least a day, and i do different kinds. Sometimes i use coconut, cranberries AND dates, or whatever. It's pretty simple concept but you can make different flavors .
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