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Thursday, May 09, 2013

Link heavy post today - recommend reading over here: wp.me/p1N36Q-74

I made a curried chickpea recipe for dinner using a mix from the Indian Grocery Store I went to with my mother a few weeks ago. The ingredients in the mix were all recognizable – sunflower oil, spices, and dehydrated fruits and vegetables like onions, tomatoes, mango and tamarind. 1 packet combined with 1 can of chickpeas made enough for two meals worth – less than 400 calories, 15 g of protein, 12g fat, 60g carbs… a bit higher on the carbs than I’m comfortable with, but fits into my daily allotment. Overall, not bad for a vegetarian meal. I’d make it again.

Around seven to eight years ago, I did try to go vegetarian. I had no idea I was supposed to meet minimum protein/fat/carb requirements at the time, and just figured it was a healthier lifestyle. I wasn’t strict about it – milk and eggs were ok, I did cheat with fish on special occasions, and I wasn’t concerned about cross-contamination. It was easy at the time, as I had been living in California and working at a university where I had a full meal plan and could choose from plenty of veggie options without worrying about what my husband would eat. It was easy to continue the lifestyle in Connecticut, where we also had university meal plans. I’m not sure at what point I decided to phase meat back in – I think it was while we lived on the cruise ship. Honestly, when we were out seven to ten days at sea, those salads started looking pretty wilted and meat became pretty attractive. Also, when traveling internationally, it’s hard to pass up all of the interesting looking foods, and you can never be sure what you’re eating.

When I started using SparkPeople to count calories in 2010, I realized I was supposed to be paying attention to my macronutrients as well. The lifestyle I had been living made me struggle meeting my minimum daily protein requirements (60g, according to the nutrition tracker). When I started working with a personal trainer last year, he suggested I needed to double the amount (and, not surprisingly, halve the amount of carbs I was eating). It really is interesting to see the recommendations that are out there regarding protein – they vary so widely, how do you really know what to target? For example, this article from Shape ( www.shape.com/blogs/weig
) suggests the average woman my weight only needs 46g of protein daily, and that maybe women are eating too much protein because it’s the new food “buzzword.” This article ( www.marksdailyapple.com/
) provides more specific guidelines based on activity level. I’m not sure if I would qualify as “Active” – even though I run daily, I’m still spending 8+ hours on my butt typing – but if I’m targeting .8g/lb of body weight, that’s about 100g of protein daily.

Even with drinking a protein shake for breakfast, adding hummus to my baby carrots at lunch, and having yogurt as a snack, I still barely manage to eek out 60g daily. Everything I’ve read says protein is the key to feeling fuller, cutting cravings, and rebuilding muscle after tough workouts. So maybe 100g is a good goal to have.

I guess I need to start buying more chicken.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I find this really telling when it comes to your current struggles with wheat and carbs. If you really were that carb and grain dependent just a few years ago, it seems only right that you're having to break a mental and physical cycle of finding those things at the center of your diet.
    Keeping working, though! Your goals are that much closer with every meal and every day.
    1742 days ago
    I've been a vegetarian since about 1995. I don't feel you should worry about protein - except maybe about getting TOO MUCH of it. Getting too much protein is bad for the kidneys and other organs.
    Human milk contains 0.8% to 0.9% protein. That's right, not even one percent. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huma
    So that is very little. I don't think adults need a lot more protein compared to a baby that has a lot of growing to do. I
    1745 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/10/2013 8:25:42 AM
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