Saturday, September 20, 2008

Protein: Shopping in your kitchen

Before I decided to become a vegetarian, getting enough protein was a major concern. I've done Weight Watchers' Points plan before and since I didn't eat enough lean meat, and couldn't eat half the foods I normally did, the new diet would give me headaches. It felt like a pair of big ice tongs were squeezing the sides of my head. Sure, I lost some weight, but I was miserable. Which is better, skinny or happy?

Only after I found out how much protein I actually needed, and that I could get enough without eating meat, did I decide going veggie was a possibility for me. Those links on the sidebar about protein - they're all mine. I wanted them close by for future reference.

Since I'm between the ages of nineteen and forty-nine, I need 45 grams of protein a day. The challenge now is eating enough protein-rich foods to meet that requirement. I decided to look around my kitchen and see how much protein I had hanging around.

First the cereals: I have five kinds. Here's the amount of protein for each.

Kellogg's Corn Flakes = 2 grams per 1 cup serving
Total Whole Grain = 2 grams per 3/4 cup serving
Rice Chex = 2 grams per 1 cup serving
Kellogg's Raisin Bran = 5 grams per 1 cup serving
Post Grape-Nuts = 6 grams per 1/2 cup serving

I was happy to see that Grape-Nuts, a.k.a. Colon Blow or "Avoid the middle man and just pour it in the toilet," did so well for protein and fiber (7 grams). I do put sugar on it, but I figure it's better to eat it with some sugar than not eat it at all.

In the freezer I found, along with all the frozen meat I'll have to figure out what to do with, a bag of shelled walnuts and some single-serving bags of sweet peas. Here's the breakdown for those:

Diamond Shelled Walnuts = 5 grams per 1/4 cup serving
Birds Eye Steamfresh Singles - Sweet Peas: 5 grams per bag

That's pretty good. Buy more peas. Nuts are a little fatty (20 grams), but it's good fat, right? We're supposed to have more good fat than bad fat, aren't we?

I also found some Umpqua vanilla ice cream in there but sadly, the package had been manhandled to the point that the protein gram statistics were no longer visible. It's probably just as well.

Moving on to the refrigerator:

Small curd lowfat cottage cheese (2% milkfat): 14 grams per 1/2 cup. YOW!
Whole dill pickles: NO protein. But at least they're also fat, sugar, carb and calorie free. What are they good for? Putting on your peanut butter sandwiches. You heard it here, girls.
Applesauce: No protein.
Gold-n-Soft spread: No protein there either.
1% lowfat milk: 11 grams per 1 cup
Large eggs: 6 grams per egg, but they provide 71% of your daily cholesterol limit, so I'll probably eat one a day, if that.

Looks like we're sticking with dairy. Now that I've gone veggie, I find myself craving lots of milk.

This post is long enough (some might say "too long") so we'll save my cupboards for another time.

Thanks for humoring me during my protein search. Happy Eating!

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