Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for some MFF lovin’ for our non-meat eaters! Meet Danielle Azoulay, certified fitness ninja bad-ass. Danielle is currently enrolled in her second round of our “Snatched in 6 Weeks” Total Body Makeover program, and as usual, she’s nailing the shit out of it. As a vegan, Danielle has really learned how to make a physique-friendly, higher protein diet work for her! She’s gotten it down to such a science, I asked if she’d be willing to share the love with our vegan readers. And of course… ninjas love to help people out!! Take it away Danielle!
As a second-time-around Snatched’er, I admit it can be tough to continually reach my daily protein goal. It takes some strategy (sneaking protein powder into anything and everything!) and some planning. For people who don’t eat animal proteins, this can be especially difficult (hug the vegan in your life immediately!).
For those people that refrain from meat and dairy or for those that are just into trying new foods, here are some recommendations and recipes for animal free ways to get you closer to your goal.
1) Tempeh: Tempeh is fermented soy beans, and it is pretty high in protein (also a great source of vitamin B12, which is virtually impossible to get as a vegan without supplements and essential for preventing dementia). One serving can have around 30g of protein – pretty close to the amount of protein in a chicken breast. I make ‘tempeh tuna’ and stuff that goodness into a whole wheat wrap, pita bread, or a lettuce wrap (bibb lettuce is the way to go here) when I want to skip the extra calories in the bread.
2) Seitan: Unless you have celiac disease, seitan is an excellent meat substitute. It is made with vital wheat gluten, which is the byproduct of wheat processing. I make my own sometimes which is very easy, but buying it in a packet is WAY easier (this is the brand I recommend). Seitan is very diverse and comes in different textures to mimic chicken, beef, or ground beef. Here are some ways to prepare each:
· Seitan as chicken: I use a brand called Gardein. This is a great line of products that you can get at Whole Foods. The best way to make this is to follow the scaloppini recipe that comes on the packet. It is SO YUMMY and easy!
· Seitan as beef: I use the Gardein beef tips and prepare by sautéing veggies (mushrooms, peppers, onion, and sometimes kalamata olives; also spinach and kale are great to add in right at the end) in a pan with some olive oil and garlic. Once they are cooked, add the beef tips and, once browned, add veggie broth. Serve over quinoa (more protein, YESSSSSS!)
· Seitan as ground beef: I have tried a lot of different ground beef substitutes and this is by far the best one. I use this for tomato meat sauce and serve over whole wheat or quinoa pasta, or I mix some Mexican spices in, combine with sautéed vegetables, and have it for Mexican night.
· Sausages and sandwich slices: This is my favorite brand of seitan products. The Field Roast sausages are amazing and filling so you could eat just one. They taste great as an addition to sauces, or you can eat them on their own with roasted veggies (roasted broccoli will change your life…trust!). Also, their sandwich slices are great if you are a sandwich person.
3) TVP: TVP stands for textured vegetable protein and is a favorite because of its diversity and its price. It can be found in the bulk section of most health food stores for about $2.00 a quart – which should last you a LONG time. It is dehydrated soy, wheat, cottonseeds, or oats and packed with protein. This is great to add to a bean chili, as the “chicken” in chicken soups, or to give sauces some texture. You have to reconstitute TVP before you use it, but that process is pretty quick.
4) Tofu: I don’t eat tofu that often, but when I do it is undoubtedly part of a tofu scramble for breakfast (vegan scrambled eggs). You can pack this with sautéed veggies of your choosing, crumble in the tofu, add poultry seasoning, tumeric, salt, pepper and, if you are feeling really fancy, add in Daiya (the dairy-less cheese (It MELTS! Melting cheese substitute is a BIG damned deal for vegans).
5) Edamame and nut butters: I have edamame with veggie burgers or add edamame to my salads for lunch. It is high in protein (9g) for one serving and is really low in calories. A tbsp of nut butter is also around 9g of protein and great as a snack with celery and carrots.
On our never ending quest to achieve maximum health and hotness, we know that elevated protein intake is essential. I hope these few ingredients help to make your journey a bit more delicious and give you an insight into what a meat and dairy free life can be like. If you decide to experiment with these foods, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to replicate your favorite dishes, meat-free. Some of these products have the equivalent protein of meat with fewer calories, so if you find you are reaching your daily calorie allotment before your protein goal, try a few!
Keep at it my fellow ninja friends! I hope all of your health and hotness dreams come true!
Danielle, you friggin’ RULE!!! Thanks for sharing the love! And I hope you vegan and non-vegan readers are inspired to diversify your food portfolio!