Where will you get protein from? That was the one question I heard over and over after going vegan. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how to answer! While I knew there were numerous options available (besides animal products) I wasn’t sure how to incorporate them into my every day diet.
The Dietary Reference Intake suggests 56 grams of protein/day for the average sedentary man and 46 grams of protein/day for the average sedentary woman. Key word: sedentary- think about how much more you need when you’re active! To check your personalized protein needs, use this calculator.
Here are some suggestions for quick protein options to spice up your salad and get the necessary protein!
Austin, Texas is surprisingly progressive when it comes to the selection of vegan/vegetarian restaurants! I have been using the app, “Happy Cow” to locate all of these amazing spots.
I recently visited the incredibly aesthetically pleasing vegan restaurant, The Citizen Eatery (only to get take-out and miss out on the atmosphere). I can confirm, it tastes just as good out of the box. I ordered the Citizen Power Bowl, consisting of quinoa, avocado, marinated kale, chickpeas, almonds, sunflower seeds, red peppers, tomato, and citrus vinaigrette. I couldn’t leave without indulging with some fries, I left with….a whole lotta them – the mixed basket gives you their house style fries, texas tumbleweed and yuca fries. So. good.
Ever heard of “fining“? Neither had I until coming across vegan wine at the grocery store. Embarrassingly enough, I thought to myself “Isn’t wine was already vegan?”
Fining has to do with clarifying the wine. Why do they manually clarify wine instead of leaving it to the wine’s natural process? Because people want that clear, beautiful, dark red that is so admired. The natural murkiness/haziness of a young wine is caused by different tannins, proteins, tartrates and phenolics. Gradually, during the life of the wine, the murkiness would subside, BUT companies want to speed up this process- that’s where fining comes into play.
Why isn’t wine vegan?
Many of the fining agents can be animal-derived.
Blood & bone marrow
Casein – a milk protein
Chitin – fiber from crustacean shells
Egg albumen – from egg whites
Gelatin – protein as a result from boiled animal parts
Isinglass – gelatin from fish bladders
Sounds fishy, no?
When the fining agents are added to the wine, the molecules contributing to the murkiness coagulate around the agent. Wine makers are able to remove the large bits, but it is natural for them not to get everything. Which, in turn, makes wine not vegan.
What to do?
The industry seems to be paying more attention to the demand for vegan wine and alternatives are being used for fining agents. These include;
Some winemakers are even taking steps to let their wines self-stabilize, meaning they do not use additives to alter the appearance. Usually these wines will be labeled with a “not fined or filtered”.
Smaller wine shops and co-ops will have great recommendations on what wines are vegan friendly. I have yet to find a wine with a nutritional label on the back, but there is lobbying taking place to make this change! So TBD on that. Some bigger grocery stores have started advertising on their store labels.
PETA recommends the this website for a comprehensive list. It is perfect when standing in the wine aisle trying to make a decision!