There have been times where I have considered going vegan in my life. I know the abuses of the meat industry, and I also know the abuses in the dairy and egg industry. Some of those can be mitigated by responsible purchasing, but at the end of the day, calves will still be taken from their mothers and what do you do with all those extra male chicks and calves?
I also know that in general, local meat costs more environmentally than calories from plant based sources. Having just watched the movie Cowspiracy, I am even more aware of how our growing population cannot be sustained on an animal protein centered diet.
And yet, resoundingly, the answer has always been a no for me. Being a vegetarian is hard, how could I ever go vegan? The fact that every PETA person I ever met looked malnourished, and almost every long-term vegan I ever met looked malnourished, has not helped with my convictions. Furthermore, has any long term vegan I ever met worked out like I do and made it work? Nope. I have noticed a huge impact on my endurance and strength from my daily protein count. I need at least 75 grams, preferably 85 to function like I want to, and eggs and whey are crucial to that.
After reading The Third Plate, I was even more convinced that being a vegan was a dumb idea. The Third Plate taught me about how animals are a vital component of a self-sufficient farm; what biosphere runs on just plants? I’ve wanted for many years to own a little mini farm in the backyard, complete with chickens for pest control/eggs, and two goats for pets and milk. We would all be members of our family, and all work together to provide for each other.
Still, chickens grow old and produce less eggs, and goats that are valuable for both milk and fiber need to breed every year to two years in order produce only a little milk. The best I can expect, based on the internet, is enough for “cereal and coffee.” I would not want to get a higher milk producer because then the male babies would not be of any use to anyone except for meat. I do not want to do that. Baby cashmere wethers (neutered male goats) are still useful and sell for about $150. Anyway, I could probably expect about ½-1 cup of milk per day. That’s enough for yogurt for the family, and little else.
Therefore, I had a moment. While all these ideas were dancing around in my head, I bought a vegan whoopee pie as brain food. On the package it stated “Do no harm.”
How romantic, I thought. How hard core. How amazing to be able to say such a wonderful thing!
Then it hit me. I still don’t believe that we all should be vegan. However, I do believe that it is our moral and environmental imperative to minimize our consumption. Therefore, I should try to consume only what I could humanely produce myself. By my reckoning, that is 6 eggs a week and maybe a half gallon of goat milk.
I am not sure exactly how to do this budget and protein consumption wise, but I am determined to get there in small planned out steps. My step for next week? Only consume a dozen eggs, as opposed to two dozen. I’ve come up with some recipes, and this is my plan.
Breakfast, PB oatmeal
½ cup oatmeal, 150 calories for 5 grams of protein
2 tablespoons peanut butter, 200 calories for 8 grams
2 tablespoons flax seed, 100 calories for 4 grams protein
1.5 tablespoons sugar, 75 calories
1 cup plain soymilk, 75 calories 8 grams of protein
Total for meal, 600 calories for 25 grams of protein
Lunch, Tart and Tangy black beans with rice
Estimate, 2 cups, 500 calories and 14 grams of protein
Dinner recipe #1: Spelt pasta with peanut sauce, kale and tofu
½ cup pasta with 3 tablespoons peanut sauce and kale will be 350 calories with 11 grams protein
½ cup tofu will be 100 calories with 10 grams of protein
1 chopped hard boiled egg, 60 calories, 6 grams of protein
Total for the meal, 510 calories with 27 grams of protein
Dinner recipe #2: Amaranth w/ orange sauce and kale
1.5 cup with orange sauce and kale is 425 calories with 14 grams protein
1 hard boiled egg, 60 calories, 6 grams of protein
Total for the meal, 485 calories for 20 grams protein
Snack, homemade yogurt: ½ cup, 100 calories and 4 grams of protein
Whey protein shake: 150 calories for 20 grams of protein
Total for the Day:
Breakfast: 25 grams
Post workout protein shake: 20 grams
Lunch: 14 grams
Snack: 4 grams
Dinner: average 23 grams
23+20+14+4+25 = 86 grams protein
Animal protein: egg + yogurt + protein shake= 30 grams
The next steps will be to reduce that egg consumption down even more, then tackle the budgetary implications of purchasing the only good athletic vegan protein shake out there…. The one by Vega. That would bring my costs up from $25/month in grass fed whey protein, to $60 a month.
Small little steps first. I’ll let you know how it all turns out.
This Week in Updates: Late night flights and bowls of warm stuff
So, kind of a weird week really. Ended up on a late night helicopter cover Tuesday night, which kind of set the tone for the week; busy and disorienting. I did my first drop flight with Elise Thursday during the day, and while I still felt almost hungover from getting to bed at 6:30am on Wednesday morning, I had a lot of fun. Saturday was a busy day working at the plane wash, we washed three planes, and due to a variety of dumb things while deadlifting (I should know better by now!) I tweeked the left side of my back while lifting 170 pounds. I’m thinking my left iliocostalis. Despite my resulting discomfort in basically all positions, I decided that a motorcycle ride at 9am Sunday morning was a good idea. Ow. It was a not a good idea for me, but even more so for my friends. One broke down by the side of the road and had to wait for over 4 hours for a tow (I had to leave for a co-op shift that I ended up skipping because my back hurt) and the other crashed and ended up with a broken ulna. I got home, cancelled my shift after Tylenol failed me, and booked a massage at an amazing Thai place called Thai Massage Spa Retreat. They don’t speak a lick of English, but the place is beautiful, the rates are great, and my masseuse was pretty good. That massage plus an hour working on my back with two lacrosse balls and a sock (great technique by the way) and I now can sit with only moderate discomfort. Yay recovery!
On the vegan side of things, I’ve discovered that most online vegan meals with a high protein content consist of bowls of warm stuff. This is unacceptable. I cannot have a bowl of warm oatmeal for breakfast, a bowl of rice and beans for lunch, and another bowl of something warm for dinner. I need crunchy too! I’m thinking of making some homemade tortilla chips. That might work out.
The Recipe: Vegetarian Eggs Benedict with Homemade English Muffins
Okay, okay, so I made this recipe before the whole vegan direction thing. However, sometimes exceptions can be made for company, and I’ll be on the lookout for a vegan hollandaise sauce! For now, this is not only delicious, but vegetarian. And making your own English muffins is a breeze!
For the English Muffins: Truffles and Trends
For the Hollandaise Sauce: Simply Recipes
2 poached eggs
Then just add avocados, a slicing tomato, black pepper and salt. Enjoy!