How Much Protein do I Actually Need?

How Much Protein do I Actually Need?

Having gone vegetarian way back in the mid-90s before it was more socially normal to do so, I think I’ve been asked about the adequacy of my protein consumption roughly a bajilion times.

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Now, I know people who have asked usually do so with good intentions, but I’ve always found it a wee bit odd everyone is suddenly a concerned nutrition expert when I tell them I don’t eat meat and like fruit, but people rarely feel the authority to directly express concern to people who live off fast food and soda pop.

Anyways, I digress…you’d think the Protein questions would have slowed as vegetarian and veganism have popularized over the years, but with the new market-focus on protein protein protein, the Qs keep coming.

So, I thought I’d type up a quick post about how much protein you actually need.

Disclaimer: As always, this is general information intended for healthy, non-pregnant or breastfeeding adults. Your needs may vary based on medical status or life-stage. Please never replace generalized health information you’ve read online with individualized clinical care.

So, how much protein do you need?

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According to the Institute of Medicine, protein should make up between 10-35% of your total caloric intake (with carbohydrates accounting for 45-65% calories and fats accounting for 20-35% of calories).

As you can see, there is a wide range of what is considered a ‘healthful’ amount of protein. I always say this, but I’ll mention it again here: there are many different ways you can have a healthy diet. No one way is the best way, and you gotta do what works for you.

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Mid-October Vegan Eats

Mid-October Vegan Eats

What is up lovely internet friends? I hope your October is chugging along in a spooky and spectacular fashion, full of treats and maybe some fun tricks too. Here are some recent eats that have entered my belly. Haven’t been the best at photoing food as of late, but here’s a bit of plant-based inspo for ya if you need it!

Pasta with Spicy Marinara:

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Spaghetti with spicy tomato sauce was my favorite dinner growing up. Like for my birthday instead of going out to dinner I asked that my grandma (who was Italian and am amazing cook) made me spicy penne and salad. It was the.best.

Then I went off pasta for a while when I went to college. I’m not sure why. I think it was a combination of no pasta tasting as good as Oma’s pasta and the fact that prior to starting my nutrition education (started junior year) I was going through a phase of being overly concerned with eating more protein than I needed (hey, it happens: ‘health’ marketing is so effective and floods all our social media channels and ads!)

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Anyways, I’m back on team spicy pasta with red sauce. I’ve been making it a lot lately. I had a Brandless gift card and although I’ve found their stuff to be overall hit-or-miss, I got a jar of their arrabbiata sauce and found it surprisingly good! So I’ve had it with some perfect foods chia noodles a couple of times and Banza a couple of times. Still obsessed with Banza. That hearty texture though! 🤤

Bagels with tofu cream cheese from Wonder Bagels

Good bagels are everything. Good whole wheat everything bagels with amazing tofu cream cheese are quite literally everything. Especially served toasty warm. A couple of local friends turned me on to this spot and now I’ve been dreaming about going back on the regular.

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Is it Really Bad to Eat Late at Night?

Is it Really Bad to Eat Late at Night?

Wednesdays are a doousy this semester, filled with running between two campuses (I TA at the Columbia main campus and am a student at the CUMC campus), and capped off beautifully with a 3-hour night class that lets out around 8:30pm. Brutal. I don’t often hate my hour commute, but let me tell you – on Wednesday nights I find it very unfun.

Typically, I snack before night class, but for whatever reason, never feel like eating a meal before/during class. Hence, I usually eat dinner once I’ve gotten home/unloaded/gotten Millie out for a walk, typically around 10:00pm. As I often document what I’m up to on Insta stories, I had a follower ask me if it’s really true that it’s bad for you to eat before bed.

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I get asked about if it’s really bad for you to eat before bed quite a bit, and see confusion surrounding the topic circulating the internet quite a bit, so I thought it could make for a fun and informative blog post.

Disclaimer: As with all my nutrition and health-related posts, I’d like to point out that while I have a background in nutrition science, I am not your healthcare provider nor personal nutritionist. I have no information on your health history or current state of physical and mental well-being. These posts are intended as general information for healthy adults. Please do not substitute what you read on the internet for seeking individualized clinical care.

First of all, Here’s The Right Time You Should Eat:

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You know when the best time to eat is? When you’re hungry, that’s when! We’re living creatures with circadian rhythms and every day presents different activity levels, stress levels, sleep levels, and environmental factors that may impact when hunger hits and when we eat.

If you ask me, clocks are pretty arbitrary when it comes to hunger. The idea that you should ‘close the kitchen’ or ‘stop eating after 7/8:00pm is totally arbitrary and it bothers me that so many people think this is a rule you should implement into your life.

So the best time to eat dinner (or any meal) is when you’re hungry for dinner (and of course, have access to food and time to eat it), whether this be 4:30pm or 10:30pm.

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Vegan Cocoa Puff Cake Mix Cookies

Vegan Cocoa Puff Cake Mix Cookies

3-Ingredients, 12 minutes, and delicious cookies? You betcha! These Vegan Cocoa Puff Cake Mix Cookies are where it’s at.

Vegan Cocoa Puff Cake Mix Cookies

You may be asking yourself: “How is this magic possible? How can I make fluffy delicious cookies that taste like literal cocoa puffs using only 3 ingredients?”

Well, the answer is: I cheated. Yup, I used a box. But not boxed cookie mix. Boxed cake mix. That’s the secret to these delicious too-good-to-be-true cookies.

Vegan Cocoa Puff Cake Mix Cookies

I actually learned this secret from my friend in elementary school (hello Allie, if you’re reading…improbable but if you ever see this, you da best!). Her genius mother taught us how to make cake mix cookies. I was skeptical, but one bite, and I became a believer.

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Recent vegan eats: fall edition

Recent vegan eats: fall edition

Hello friends! It’s vegan eats roundup time. Today I’m sharing some eats from the past few weeks in hopes of inspiring some yummy planty goodness in your life. Hope you enjoy!

Cinnamon sugar toast:

Been on a kick lately. Who’s with me? Pure nostalgia in every bite. When I want something sorta sweet and Cathy after dinner these days cinnamon sugar toast is where it’s at. This is just TJ’s 100% whole wheat sandwich bread ($1.99) with vegan butter, cinnamon and sugar. Mmm yes please !

Pasta + Salad + Green Goddess dressing + roasted veggies, all in the same bowl:

Am I the only one who likes them together? Always have, always will. This is some Banza I boiled up and added some Trader Joe’s green goddess dressing + nutritional yeast, roasted broccoli + tomatoes (I took home some raw veggies that were leftover at an event a couple weeks ago and about to be thrown out), frozen peas, and hemp hearts on top of some mixed greens. Yum! Flavors + textures all the way.

Vegan oatmeal cookie dough protein bars:

So frickin’ yummy! Recipe is here, ICYMI.

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Stories From Alaska: Sustainable Fishing, Health Impacts of Climate Change, and How To Talk to Skeptics About Climate Change

Stories From Alaska: Sustainable Fishing, Health Impacts of Climate Change, and How To Talk to Skeptics About Climate Change

Holy busy season! The last couple of weeks have been a total whirlwind of business. Full-time grad school + TA-ing + my research assistant job + applications for next year :  I feel like I’m using the weekends just to catch my breath from the week before and get my stuff together for the week ahead.

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I’m happy and grateful for all of the opportunities on my plate right now, but am also excited for any upcoming break in my schedule to devote more time to creative pursuits, including this blog.

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While I’m working on a couple of other pieces for this site, I thought I’d share some other content from across the interwebs. This week 3 of my stories from my trip to Alaska were published, and I thought I’d share them here for two reasons: first, because I feel like I don’t really mention writing I do outside my blog very much on my blog and maybe that’s kinda weird? And second, it’s #NYCClimateWeeek, so I thought timing was ideal for some climate-related content on the blog.

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See below for my photo-essay, op-ed on talking to skeptics about climate change, and video about sustainable fishing in Alaska, and then enjoy a photo dump from my travel:

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Chewy Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Protein Bars

Chewy Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Protein Bars

I have a love for sweet carb-y goodness that fuels me up without making me feel sugared out. Something that will appease my sweet truth, but also make me feel like I’ve eaten real food. That’s why I love things like VVegan Banana Bread, Blueberry Flax Muffins, and Chocolate-Dipped Nut-Butter Stuffed Dates. And now these Chewy Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Protein Bars.

Easy Vegan & GF Oatmeal Cookie Dough Bars

These are made with a secret ingredient – chickpeas! Now, before you abandon this post convinced I’ve gone mad, I promise you can’t really taste them. This is not a sweetened hummus bar (though I’d probably be down to eat that too). This is a neutral-based soft baked bar that is packed with protein, fiber, and flavor.

Vegan + GF Oatmeal Cookie Dough Bars

I’ve done the whole bean-based cookie dough thing before, and enjoyed it quite a bit. Only recently did I think “hey, maybe this will taste good baked!” So here we are.

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5 Eco-Friendly Products I Really Love

5 Eco-Friendly Products I Really Love

Hello friends! Today I’m going to share more of a ‘lifestyle’ type post, and give shout outs to some of my favorite sustainability-minded products. Now before I go any further, I want to mention that this post is not sponsored in any way; I simply want to share things I love with people who might be looking for eco-friendly products themselves.

K, sweet. Let’s get into it!

1. Stasher Bags

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I cannot say enough good things about Stasher bags. Consider me obsessed! I have 4 in a variety of sizes (they come in sandwich size, snack size, and gallon size), and rarely buy or use plastic bags anymore, minus for some incidentals here and there.

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Vegan Eats Roundup: Back to School Edition

Vegan Eats Roundup: Back to School Edition

Back to school, back to busy season! My goodness it’s been just over a week and I already am feeling all the feels for this fall. Excitement, stress, uncertainty, and gratitude for opportunity! Between being a full time graduate student, TA, and rewatch assistant, it’s been a 10-day whirlwind and we’re just getting started.

I thought I’d do a recent eats recap for ya. I was doing them weekly for a while, but have sort of transitioned to bi-weekly, just because most of the time I’m lazy and forget to take pics and/or because I usually eat some variation of pb&j for most lunches during the school year (hey, it packs well and tastes delicious, don’t judge me). So here we go! Hope this inspires some yummy plant-based food ideas for you.

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Vegan Chocolate Sheet Cake with Chocolate Buttercream (And How to Veganize A Non-Vegan Cake Recipe)

Vegan Chocolate Sheet Cake with Chocolate Buttercream (And How to Veganize A Non-Vegan Cake Recipe)

Do you ever just feel the need to eat deliciously rich, Bruce Bogtrotter-worthy chocolate cake? Because I do. That’s where this Vegan Chocolate Cake with Vegan Chocolate Buttercream comes in.

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Vegan Chocolate Buttercream

One thing a lot people don’t realize about vegan baking is that it’s actually quite easy to veganize a lot of “conventional” recipes with a few simple swaps.

Non-dairy milk for regular milk, vegan butter in place of butter, and an egg replacement (1/4 cup applesauce or canned pumpkin, 1 tablespoon chia seed or ground flax + 3 tablespoons of water, or 1/4 cup silk tofu, to name a few) for the egg, whipped aquafaba for egg whites, etc, and viola! You’ve veganized your desired “conventional” baked good.

Vegan Chocolate Cake + Vegan Chocolate Buttercream

Now, it may take a couple of attempts to figure out which replacements you like best, and/or which ones work best for your old favorite “conventional” recipes, but it’s truly not as scary as it sounds, and experimenting in the kitchen, though it can lead to some epic fails, can also lead to exciting new and wonderful creations of your own.

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