I have been working on a solid vegetarian diet since May 2011. I have been doing a great job, in my opinion, and really don’t miss meat at all. I pay close attention to the amount of protein I take in each day and try to keep in around 120 grams. I am trying to maintain the muscle that I have built. I eat 5-6 meals per day and include protein in each of them. It is easy to do this if I eat eggs, egg whites, protein whey, casein, cottage cheese and Greek yogurt, but I often have concerns about the health benefits of all the dairy related products. So much research suggests that dairy isn’t a necessary part of our diets and maybe should be decreased.
With this in mind, I have been trying to find alternatives to the heavy dairy diet that I have been using. In the last month, I have been substituting many of the above items with other options such as:
-More beans and lentils
-More fruits and vegetables (which, by the way, also contain protein)
-TVP (textured vegetable protein)
I haven’t had cottage cheese or Greek yogurt for about three weeks. At first, it felt like I was quitting caffeine, very difficult!!! Now, it is becoming easier but I realize how we become so accustomed to eating certain foods. It is like an addiction. Trying to break a habit takes some much time, focus and effort.
Below are two examples of substitutes that I enjoy:
Almost Pumkin Pie
-1 can pure Pumpkin
-1 block firm Organic Tofu
-Cinnamon, All Spice, Ginger, Cloves
-Almond Milk (1/2 cup)
In a blender or food processor mix the pumpkin and tofu together along with about 1/2 cup Almond Milk. Blend until very smooth and creamy.
Remove from blender and put into a bowl and mix in the spices, stevia and walnuts (I use a few handfulls).
Refrigerate and enjoy anytime you are craving a sweet, high protein snack.
Veggie, Fruit and Yogurt Salad
-Brocolli, Cauliflower, Cucumber, Spinach, Blueberries, Mango
-Handful of your favorite nuts
-Lime or Lemon Juice
-In a microwave safe bowl combine Brocolli, Cauliflower, Cucumber, Spinach, Blueberries and mango (all of the veggies and fruits listed above are frozen except the cucumber and spinach so I leave these out until the other items have heated and cooked thoroughly).
-While the veggies and fruits are cooking, mix in a separate bowl about 1/2 cup soy yogurt along with a teaspoon to tablespoon of stevia and approximately 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (more or less depending on your preference). Also mix in your nuts. I like to use walnuts but sometimes choose raw pumpkin seeds, chia seeds or sunflower seeds instead.
-Once the veggies/fruits are heated, remove from microwave and add the sliced cucumber and spinach. Put back in the microwave for another 1 -2 minutes until spinach is wilted.
-Remove from microwave and add in the yogurt dressing. I also add in a few squeezes of lemon or lime juice. This makes a huge fruit/veggie salad, probably about 3 cups. What a great way to get lots in each day. The recipe may sound strange but I love the sweet taste with all the textures.
-I Experiment with other vegetables and fruits too. I have also used pumpkin, squash, edamame beans, lentils, black beans, tomatoes, apple etc. The skies the limit!!!