It seems like the question never gets old. It is the topic of many discussions online, and it is a question I am asked at least once a week, "Where do you get your protein?" These six words are now music to my ears because I have educated myself on the topic. I have done my research, and I enjoy discussing vegan protein sources with non-vegans, new vegans, and everyone in between. There are many great vegan sources of protein, but I wanted to highlight a few of my favorites.
Quinoa contains over eight grams of protein per serving. It is also high in fiber and considered a "complete protein" because it contains all the essential amino acids.
My burrito recipe is packed with quinoa and an abundance of protein.
Spelt contains over 10 grams of protein per serving. It boosts the immune system, builds strong bones, and it's a great wheat alternative for those with gluten sensitivities.
Spelt comes in many forms. I paired my tofu scramble recipe with delicious spelt English muffins.
Packed with almost eight grams of protein per serving, black beans have a variety of health benefits. They are high in fiber, naturally low in sodium, and the selenium content helps fight cancer.
Black beans can be used in a variety of ways. I like to use them in my cheeseburger avocado pizza recipe.
One half-cup serving of raw firm tofu contains over 10 grams of protein. Tofu is also a great source of amino acids, iron, and calcium. Just look for organic, non-GMO tofu.
Tofu is an amazingly versatile product. There are several great brands that produce quality products. I use Tofurky Slow Roasted Chick'n in my vegan chicken salad recipe. It fools non-vegans every time!
A one ounce serving of walnuts contains 4.3 grams of protein. Walnuts are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and help fight coronary diseases. Walnuts are a great source of vitamin E and promote healthy skin as well.
My lettuce wrap recipe with "walnut meat" shows how walnuts can truly be transformed into a savory and delicious meat substitute.
The vegan plant based protein list is long. It is great to know that we can get all of our protein, vitamins, and minerals from eating a plant based diet. If someone persists in asking you about more vegan sources of protein, here are a few more things you could mention:
3. Wild Rice
4. Non-dairy milk (soy, almond, cashew, etc.)
5. Pumpkin Seeds
11. Nutritional Yeast
14. Nut butter
15. Sprouted grain bread
17. Green peas
18. Chia seeds
For over forty years, my dad worked for the U.S. Forest Service. He would often bring me pencils, books, stickers, and all kinds of neat things regarding Smokey the Bear. Sometimes he would even get to dress up and wear the Smokey the Bear costume. As a kid, I thought it was a pretty big deal. I think back to those days and recall them like it was yesterday. Today, I am bringing bears in the spotlight for a different reason. As a vegan blogger, I often write about factory farming and animal cruelty. I have written about the abuse that animals endure daily in slaughterhouses, and then I found out about the heartbreaking abuse that bears suffer in Vietnam. I definitely had to write about it.
Animals are not meant to be caged. They should be free to live, grow, and thrive in their natural habitats, but many bears in Vietnam only know life within four walls. What is it that people are after? Bear bile. Bear bile has been used for thousands of years as an elixir in Chinese medicine. It is used in products like toothpaste, shampoo, and tea. Although there are many cruelty-free alternatives with the same healing properties, it is still widely used to treat liver and gallbladder conditions, because of its high levels of ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA).
It is a multi-million dollar industry that thrives off of bears that are confined to cages the size of their bodies, bears that are often deprived of food, water, and mobility, and bears that suffer chronic pain, abuse, infection, and live with holes in their abdomens and other physical forms of trauma.
So how is bear bile extracted?
According to Animals Asia, there are five ways the bile is extracted: Latex Catheter, Metal Jacket, Metal Catheter, Free-drip, and Fake Free-drip. Each method is cruel, and brings misery to the poor animals. This is how the bile is extracted using the metal jacket method.
A rubber pipe is surgically connected to the bear’s gall bladder and attached to a fluid bag inside a metal box. To hold the box in place against the bear’s abdomen, the bear is fitted with a metal jacket weighing more than 10kg.
The global nonprofit FOUR PAWS is now looking to close all bear farms by 2020 and ensure the transfer of all remaining bears to sanctuaries. You can get involved by signing the petition to end bear farming.
Please checkout the microsite of FOUR PAWS asking “How much can you bear,” which tests the endurance of viewers and urges them to take action.
I was only able to watch for a few seconds of the raw video.
Unfortunately, the practice is legal in China. Although it is illegal in Vietnam and was outlawed in 1992, loopholes in the law and lack of enforcement of regulations have allowed thousands of bears to be illegally used for bile extraction today.
There is still hope! On July 17, 2017, the Vietnamese government agreed to a plan to finally end bear bile farming in the country.
Although the Vietnamese Government has agreed to end the horrific practice, according to FOUR PAWS, "there are still approximately 1,300 so-called "bile bears" - mainly Asiatic black bears - living under poor keeping conditions on roughly 400 bear farms."
FOUR PAWS is in the forefront of helping the Vietnamese government truly end bear bile farming and is currently working with the government and in coalition with local partners Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) in implementing a plan to end the practice by 2020.
Please sign the petition, and let your voice be heard today.
If you're looking for a location in Georgia for an animal sanctuary, please check out this amazing property.
It’s that time of year again. It’s time for another school year! As vegan parents, school lunches can sometimes be overwhelming. Often times, even at the age of four, other kids in my daughter’s class would ask her, “What is that?” or “Why do you eat that?” Kids are very inquisitive and want to know about things. Here are few tips to help prepare your kids for questions they may receive when they return to school and pop open the glorious vegan lunch you have prepared!
Tunaless Salad is a simple, quick, and nutritious lunch idea.
Simply ask your child, “Why do we eat this way?” It will spark an interesting and informative conversation, and as parents we will indeed be education by the responses we receive. It opens up an amazing dialogue about food choices and being different, not better than anyone else, but different. You can make this conversation age appropriate as well and use teachable moments often. You can also make it fun and “role play” different scenarios with your child.
Coconut Chocolate Energy Bites are a great snack to pack for any school day!
Learning About Ingredients
When shopping for food and preparing vegan meals and vegan school lunches, allow your child(ren) to participate as much as possible. At first my daughter did not like tomatoes, but when shopping at the store I asked her to help me pick out good tomatoes, and when cooking I asked her to help me mix the tomatoes into the recipe. When combined with other ingredients, she realized that they work together to make delicious meals. Now, she will pick up a slice of tomato and eat it by itself. Learning food likes and dislikes is a continuous process that travels with us into and throughout adulthood. When children help pack their own lunches, it instills a sense of pride and reinforces the fact they they can make healthy food choices. This also carries into adulthood. Studies show that food preferences are formed in early childhood and affect an individual’s eating habits for life.
Homemade Dark Chocolate Trail Mix is a wholesome energy-boosting snack.
Talk to the Teacher
Make it a point to have a thorough discussion with your child’s teacher about lunches, snacks, etc. When there is a class project, party, field trip, etc. that involves food, ask the teacher to give you plenty of notice so that you can send in a substitute or make other arrangements. Keep the lines of communication open, and it will make for a great school year.
Fresh fruit is a great immune-boosting lunch item, and there are many quality vegan bars on the market as well!
Know When to Draw the Line
There is a difference between another child asking your child about the items packed in his or her lunch and a child teasing or bullying your child about his or her lunch. This kind of behavior should never be tolerated and should be handled immediately. Often times adults have this problem more often than kids. Kids are pretty open-minded. I had an incident recently where someone offered me a food item that contained meat, and I replied, "No, thank you. I am vegan." The person replied, "Oh, I feel sorry for you." True story! I educated that person thoroughly.
Wishing everyone a great school year! If you are a parent, guardian, etc., please share your school lunch stories and vegan school lunch ideas!
Well, today is a very strange holiday. Often times I like to look at the date and search online to see which holidays fall on a certain day, and today is National Cheese Sacrifice Day. So, what does this mean? Well, it started with people buying cheese on this day and "sacrificing" it to household rodents, using cheese to snare them in traps. Today, people have given it a whole new meaning. Some "sacrifice" a little of their budget to splurge and try an expensive cheese they may not normally purchase. I propose two new meanings.
Understand who really makes a sacrifice when dairy is consumed.
There is an image that I will never forget. It was the Fourth of July, and several dairy farmers posted photos of baby cows in chains with the captions "Let Freedom Ring" and "Happy Fourth of July" among other things. These sad images are are constant reminder of the ones who make the true sacrifices for the sake of dairy products like cheese. The dairy cows sacrifice their milk unwillingly so that it may go to the millions of people across the world who say they cannot live without it. The babies are taken away from their mothers, and many dairy mothers actually defend this practice. According to Modern Day Farm Chick, since "cows aren't humans" it is perfectly fine to separate them. She goes on to say that it must be done "to provide the best care for the cow and calf.” Ultimately, dairy cows sacrifice their lives. When they are unable to produce the expected amount of milk, they are slaughtered and end up on someone's plate.
Sacrifice eating cheese on this day, instead of consuming it.
We've all heard of Meatless Monday. Well, this holiday could be a day, just one day, out of the year where dairy cheese lovers could forego eating cheese. There are a long list of benefits that arise from eliminating dairy all together. Many studies and research show the dangers of consuming dairy products. Dr. Neal Barnard, physician and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, says the average American consumes more than 33 pounds of cheese per year.
He says cheese is both fattening and addictive because of the dairy protein called casein. He describes how it has opiate molecules built in and says when babies nurse, they are getting dosed with a mild drug. According to Barnard, "Milk contains opiates that reward a baby for nursing."
There are countless non-dairy cheese products and nut cheeses on the market as well. These high quality products provide amazing health benefits while providing the taste, texture, and flavor of dairy cheese products without the harmful effects. They can be used for pizza, quesadillas, and much more! So, instead of consuming dairy cheese, try a non-dairy option. Your body will thank you, and so will the dairy cows across the world.
Maybe I have food allergies and have no idea. Maybe it's because I have only been vegan for a year and a half and consumed a lot of dairy products leading up to the start of my vegan journey. I am not sure the reason, but frequently I have been waking up with nasal congestion and throat congestion. In another blog I talked about digestion problems and a skin rash that I had all the way up until I became vegan. After I became vegan, they both cleared up within a matter of weeks and never returned, but the nasal and throat congestion has been a lingering and aggravating nuisance. Several studies show that wheat or gluten can cause the congestion a well.
One of the major components of Dr. Sebi's plan is eliminating mucus from the body. He states, "Mucus is the cause of every disease." He also discusses how eating too many acidic and not enough alkaline foods causes the production of mucus in the body. So, I carefully studied his list, and started my seven day plan to see if I would notice a difference in my system.
During the seven days, my diet mostly consisted of peaches, melons, walnuts, lettuce, garbanzo beans, cucumbers, avocados, and tomatoes.These are all on the list, and on the first day, I made a large amount of walnut "meat" and guacamole and ate this on lettuce wraps for several days. It is a delicious and simple vegan recipe. When I was not eating the wraps, I was eating bowls of fruit, homemade guacamole and cucumbers, or snacking on walnuts.
I also started every morning with a cup of warm water and lime juice. This is said to stimulate the gastrointestinal tract, and it also alkalizes the body and helps maintain a higher pH balance.
On day three I was more congested than usual. It was like my body was trying to eliminate in overdrive, and I really felt it. I had to keep a box of kleenex on hand throughout the day, and this was very frustrating. I was wondering if it would go away, but on day four I woke up with very little congestion at all. I kept eating my meals and snacks, drank plenty of water, and I really started feeling a huge difference. One of my go-to snacks was homemade guacamole and sliced cucumbers. I also enjoyed mango with cucumber slices as well.
Days five through seven were smooth sailing. On day five, I did deviate from the plan and had some raw pumpkin seed bars with my peaches. My daughter loves them, and I ended up buying a few of them for myself when I was getting some for her.
Overall, I have to say that after day three the congestion was minimal. I do think I need to take an allergy test just to see if I am unknowingly causing all this stuff that could easily be prevented. I do know that I am going to be more mindful about trying to make sure I include more alkaline than acidic foods in my diet and in the family meals I prepare. Will I stick solely to Dr. Sebi's plan? No. However, I will incorporate many of his principles into my lifestyle and continue to enjoy my vegan journey!
My vegan journey has been quite remarkable. When I reflect back on the time when I was just like many Americans, buying and consuming animal products without even thinking about it, it seems so surreal. Day after day animals across the world pay the ultimate price so that people can have a glass of milk with breakfast, a steak or chicken dinner, and keep slaughterhouses and factory farms in business. In this vicious cycle of animal cruelty, people often forget (or don't even think ) that animals are brilliant creatures that experience feelings and emotions, too. Here's how...
Pigs are amazingly intelligent. Studies show that they have long term memories, great problems solving skills, and are able to learn complex combinations of symbols for actions and objects.
They also feel empathy toward their pen mates. They feel fear, sadness, and happiness just like humans. They love to socialize and conversate, and mother pigs develop strong bonds with their babies. That's why it saddens me to think about the torture they endure at slaughterhouses. According to the USDA's number of Estimated Daily Livestock Slaughter under Federal Inspection, 2,179,000 hogs were slaughtered just last week.
The road to slaughter is gut wrenching. In natural settings, pigs can live up to fifteen years. Factory farmed pigs are sent to slaughter around six or seven months of life. They are packed tightly into 18-wheelers, and millions often die on the road to slaughter. Typical slaughterhouses kill over 1,000 pigs per hour. In May 2015, a Compassion Over Killing investigation uncovered severe abuse of pigs. Investigators saw “conscious pigs being dragged, improperly stunned (i.e. ineffectively stunned and double stunned), abused with electric prods, maliciously beaten, pushed, kicked and otherwise severely mistreated.”
There are many organizations and sanctuaries that fight daily to rescue and eliminate the suffering of pigs. Wallow in the Woods pig sanctuary in Metter, Georgia rescues and cares for unwanted or neglected pot belly pigs. Pigs Peace Sanctuary also does phenomenal work.
There are hundreds of breeds of chickens worldwide. Studies show that chickens have distinct personalities, great memory skills, and complex communication. They are also able to experience fear, anticipation and anxiety. Mother hens are very caring and bond with their chicks, but that bond is broken too often. According to United Poultry Concerns, "In the U.S., each year, 9 billion “broiler” (baby) chickens, both males and females, are raised and killed for food. Worldwide over 50 billion chickens are now being slaughtered every year."
Factory farmed chickens often never see the light of day. Instead, they are cramped by the thousands in sheds, and baby chicks raised on factory farms are not allowed contact with his or her parents, let alone be raised by them, and the abuse chickens are subjected to is disgraceful. Thankfully, there are many organizations that rescue chickens from abuse.
Cows are so fascinating! A 2004 study conducted by Cambridge University showed that young heifers exhibit behavioral expressions of excitement when they solve a problem, and they also take pleasure in their own learning achievements. While working on her PhD at Northampton University, Krista McLennan discovered that cows have best friends and become stressed when they are separated. Unfortunately, separation, sadness, and and stress are part of the life cycle of many cows. Dairy cows know this all too well.
Babies are taken from their mothers shortly after birth. Male calves are taken away to be raised for beef and females for milk. Once females are no longer able to produce milk, they are also sent to slaughter.
There are many organizations that provide sanctuaries and save the lives of cows. The Cow Sanctuary in Bridgeton, NJ provides lifelong care and rehabilitation to cows, emus, horses, goats, pigs, ducks, geese, and other animals as well. Many of the animals were rescued from cruelty and neglect.
Rowdy Girl Sanctuary is located in Angleton, TX. The story behind this sanctuary is remarkable. They provide lifelong, compassionate care to many animals whose lives usually end in brutal death.
There are hundreds of organizations across the country that fight each and every day for the freedom, rights and protection of animals. Each and every day another person makes the life changing decision to join the ranks of the millions of vegans across America to become vegan and embrace an ethical lifestyle that defends and advocates for animals-beautiful, intelligent, amazing creatures that all deserve to live a full and happy life-and for that I am very happy!
A report released May 19, 2017, by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Agricultural Statistics Board, and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), reveals some startling facts about milk production and consumption. Basically, dairy cows produce massive amounts of milk on a regular basis to keep up with the insatiable demand of Americans. In fact, the report states that "milk production in the United States during April totaled 18.3 billion pounds, up 2.0 percent from April 2016," and "the number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.39 million head, 69,000 head more than April 2016, and 8,000 head more than March 2017."
In this blur of milk production and distribution, one voice is often silenced. If dairy cows had a voice, there are three things that they would want us to know.
The milking machines are physically exhausting. I am sometimes milked for 10 months out of the year, including the time I get pregnant. I am milked two to three times a day, seven days a week, and continuously attached to milking machines. I develop mastitis in my mammary glands. I have watched friends die from this disease. After milking, I am returned to my lonely, cramped, concrete stall to wait for my next milking. That is my life.
"Production per cow in the 23 major States averaged 1,967 pounds for April, 20 pounds above April 2016. This is the highest production per cow for the month of April since the 23 State series began in 2003." (USDA 2017)
I miss my baby. I didn't get to bond with my baby. I didn't get to nurture my baby. When my precious baby was born, something terrible happened shortly thereafter. I was nursing my beautiful calf, and then someone took her. They ripped her away from me. I tried to call for her, but it did no good. No one listened. No one cared. My life is stressful. I know that one day she will be artificially inseminated and begin the vicious cycle that I currently endure. I had no time to mourn though. I was quickly put back to intensive milk production.
"Abrupt and early weaning, such as occurs on the typical dairy farm, appears to be distressing for both calf and cow," says Weary. "The calves will engage in repetitive crying and become more active," he says, "and sometimes you'll see a decline in their willingness to eat solid food."-Daniel Weary, an applied animal biologist at the University of British Columbia. The Emotional Lives of Dairy Cows, Mary Bates
My days are numbered. I would normally live 20-25 years, but I will only survive three to five years because of this intense, cruel life. I look around, and each and every day I see faces disappear. I know one day it will happen to me when I can no longer keep up and produce the high level of milk demanded of me. One day I will be packed onto a crowded truck to be transported to that place. It's called a slaughterhouse. The truck was here just yesterday. It was a sad day. After the hard life of servitude that I have endured, knowing I will one day end up as food on someone's plate is just too much to comprehend.
There is a ray of hope. There are many organizations out there that speak for me. Organizations like Free from Harm, Milk Hurts, Mothers Against Dairy, and Occupy for Animals, tell my story. There are countless others as well. They are my voice and the voices of many. I hope you listen to their messages. I hope my story inspires you to start your vegan journey. What is my life worth to you?
Recently, James Aspey, world renowned vegan and animal rights activist, got into a heated discussion with a Christian man while James was speaking at an event. The whole argument that the man kept trying to make was that animals were created for his use. Often times when James presented the man with a sound response, the man would change his own argument, agree with James on many points, and then go right back to saying animals were created for his needs and nourishment. The whole exchange was interesting to me because I am a Christian, and I totally disagree with the man for several reasons.
Humans DO Not Need Animals for Nourishment
Everything we need, including protein, can be achieved by eating a plant based diet. There have been countless studies that show that by adopting a plant based diet people live longer, are healthier, happier, and less disease stricken. Research published by The National Center for Biotechnology concluded that "vegan diets seem to provide some added protection against obesity, hypertension, type-2 diabetes; and cardiovascular mortality."
In the Beginning
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food. And it was so." Genesis 1: 29-30 (NIV).
When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, God commanded that they eat seeded fruit and green plants. Those were His words.
To me, this says that this was God's original design, but after the fall of man, death and destruction became part of the natural life cycle. Predators killed prey, and the life of one living thing depended on the death of another. I believe veganism is closer to God's original plan and design.
Factory Farming and Slaughterhouses
It seems like every day there are countless stories, images, and articles about animal abuse and torture. Whistleblowers often record first hand accounts of the relentless abuse that animals endure for the sake of being food for humans. In a recent Compassion Over Killing (COK) undercover investigation at Mason Dixon Farms, gentle mother cows were violently abused.
Uncover footages shows: cows being kicked in the face, punched in their udders, continuously shocked with an electric prod, jabbed with pens and elbows, and having their tails painfully twisted or bent by workers. Because of their hazardous living conditions, they were also repeatedly getting stuck on water troughs or inside stalls.
People can continue to make the argument of "animals were put here for our use" all they want, but use does not equal abuse. I think it is great when I see seeing eye dogs being eyes for their owners, or pets providing therapy and making people's lives better by bringing happiness and joy to families.
I certainly don't think the God whom I love and in whom I believe, the God of love and compassion, is pleased with animal cruelty, slaughterhouses, or factory farming where these types of atrocities occur every day behind closed doors. These animals are living, breathing creatures with feelings and emotions. They experience joy and pain. They have families, but sadly often times they don't have a voice.
"The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel." Proverb 12:10 (NIV)
Please share your views below!
If you browse through the various vegan recipes on my site you will see everything from vegan quesadillas to salads. Although there are many types of recipes, they often have one thing in common: beans! I include beans in my weekly meals and recipes because they not only taste good, they are good for you. A recent article by Thrive Cuisine highlights the amazing benefits of beans. The article is fascinating and goes in depth about the scientific research as well as some important health information as well. There are so many reasons why we should eat beans, but in this post we will look at four.
Number one: Studies show that consuming beans could positively impact resting heart rate and also combat cardiovascular disease.
Number Two: Studies show that regular consumption of low glycemic index foods like beans, may be beneficial in preventing and managing of Type 2 diabetes.
Number Three: Beans can help you lose weight! They are one of the only foods with protein, fiber and complex carbs. This combination slows digestion and delays the onset of hunger so you stay full for longer.
Number Four: Eating beans can make you less gassy. Many people avoid beans because of this very issue, but according to the Thrive Cuisine article, "The more beans you eat the better your body gets at breaking down the resistant starches which in itself has several benefits such as colon cancer prevention."
So grab your grocery list, and if beans are not on there, you many want to add them!
For more information, check out the full article "The Benefits of Beans: We Explore the Scientific Research" here.
I love a great vegan burger! I prefer to make my own, but if I do not feel like cooking, there are many brands and varieties that I can choose from in my local supermarket. Several of the brands have a similar look, taste, and texture...but then you have the Beyond Meat Beyond Burger. It is in a league of its own! I have been a fan of Beyond Meat products for a while. I really like the Beast Burger, and I also use the Beyond Chicken Strips, and Beyond Beef Crumbles in my vegan recipes.
I thought the company outdid itself with the Beast Burger, but the Beyond Burger looks remarkable. Now that is has arrived in Georgia, I am going to have to give it a try. People have been flocking to Whole Foods in Sandy Springs and Whole Foods Avalon to stock up while they can. I have seen mixed reviews on the burgers, but mostly positive comments.
They are sold in the meat section of grocery stores, and the company website describes them as "the world's first plant based burger that looks, cooks, and tastes like fresh ground beef."
It looks like I need to go to out and try them for myself! I will keep you posted!
Have you tried the Beyond Burger yet? If so, what do you think?
About Tabatha James
Tabatha James is a wife, mom, and children's book author navigating her way through a vegan way of life!