Well, hello there. It’s been, oh a month give or take. Absolute busy-ness, craziness, whirlwinds around here. I’ve been working hard in several respects: it’s semester time of course and my training has gone through the roof. I’m loving it on both sides. The longer I pursue graduate study, the more my fitness becomes a passion as well as a lifestyle for me. It’s my hobby, my stress relief, my exercise, and something that just really makes me happy. My connection to it has really grown over the past year.
That said, my food choices haven’t always matched my fitness goals, but I’m learning! With a bump up in my fitness routine I’ve needed to alter my eating plan to support my exercise goals, my recovery from weights and cardio, and to nourish my training (and graduate studying) body. If you’re working out hard, your food has got to support your movements and training plan. This has led me to pursue a somewhat If It Fits Your Macros approach to eating. For me, this is not super strict but acts as more of a guideline to healthy eating everyday. (I recommend listening to Rise and Resist‘s 2 IIFYM episodes if you’d like more info.) E.g. I use macros as a rough guide. I don’t count calories or do total numbers of grams consumed per day. I just try to think of my foods as a pie chart: I need mostly protein and carbs and a little fat everyday to thrive. Also, I need kale. I’ve mentioned this before, but I consider greens a macro. All hail the kale! Always.
So, I’ve been thinking a lot more about vegan protein. Let me say this, first of all: vegans are usually not at all protein deficient. I personally have never had an issue with getting enough protein. But, I’ve learned more and more about protein and some ways I can enjoy getting it into my eating to support all of that cardio and weight lifting I love to do.
Clockwise from the top: burrito bowl with Beyond Meat chickenless chicken, beans, salsa, and veggies; salad with brown rice, black beans, and more Beyond Meat; tacos; and a “buffalo bowl” with buffalo tempeh, veggies, and cheezy sauce.
So, what are some of my favorite vegan proteins?
Here are just a few that I’ve been devouring of late: tofu, tempeh, Beyond Meat chickenless strips, beans of all sorts, nutritional yeast, and protein powder. I do use protein powder for several reasons: first, it’s easy to consume on the go. I’ve got long classes and multiple things to attend each day. I’ve got to fuel up somewhere in there! I invested in this blending bottle, which has a storage compartment at the bottom, and I’ve been using it almost daily for a quick shaken (not stirred) snack. My favorite protein powders of the moment? Here and here.
Super simple (and fast and easy) small meal: rice noodles, tofu, tomatoes, and kale tossed with sriracha, tamari, and rice vinegar. I’ve started craving this bowl of amazingness all of the time now!
Typical “steamer” lunch these days. The sauce listed above drizzled over a bowl of kale, a little quinoa, kidney beans, tomatoes, and lots of tofu. Amazingly simple and mind blowingly good.
I can’t stress the importance of food prep enough. If you’re working out and you’re working out hard, and you’re busy then food prep is going to be what keeps you sticking with your goals and hitting those amazing lifts and cardio milestones. These days, that’s often a couple of different types of beans, maybe some cheezy sauce (I use this recipe, also nutritional yeast has an insane amount of protein in it.), and some quinoa/brown rice. Tofu stays in the fridge. I cut it up and add it to bowls. I also prep as many meals as I can on Sundays: each of my travel containers full plus a couple of my bowls for home use all stored up in the fridge.
So, to wrap up: proteins–yum! They’re good, eat them. Eat your greens! And keeping putting nutritional yeast (and hot sauce, if you’re me) on everything! Any favorite proteins out there you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments section.