If you are a vegan, new or old or contemplating dabbling in vegan cuisine, I highly recommend reading this book: Vegan for Life.
Like right now.
I mentioned basic vegan nutrition in my earlier post, but this book is chock-full of advice navigating the murky scientific waters of vegan nutrition. Vitamin B12 supplementation should be old news but what about calcium, iron and zinc? Essential fatty acids?
Of course, then there’s the never-ending protein question. (Love this video, by the way)
Beyond, where do you get your protein but how much do you really need. I used to aim for the prototypical 0.4g of protein per pound of body weight, so around 50g for a 120lb woman. Brendan Brazier’s books were also instrumental in highlighting the importance of the ratio of protein to carbs, as well, when exercising.
While I stagger my meals and snacks to support my exercise, I have never really considered myself an athlete. I am not a bodybuilder but I do lift weights twice a week. I have cycled really, really long distances (over 350km in 2 days kind of a lot). Although it seems like such a distant memory right now. Even though I tucked my bike away for the winter, just last month, I was cycling a minimum of 1.5 hours each day for commuting alone. It makes me tired just thinking about it. I have so much more energy now.
My co-worker would (lovingly) heckle me, telling me I wasn’t eating enough protein as a vegan, especially with all my cycling. I reassured him I was ok, 50g is enough. I eat my beans. Vegan for Life has me re-evaluating my base protein needs. Strength and endurance athletes (and pregnant people- not any kind of hint, by the way) seem to require more protein although how much is debatable. It could be up to 0.8g/lb for weight lifters. If you interested, this is a good read, too. I strive for 25% protein in my meals, so I think my new protein goal is be achievable. Especially since I love beans.
The benefit of beans and legumes were highlighted not only for their high protein content but also their amino acid profile, compared to other vegan protein sources (vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains). They are a good source of lysine, a particular amino acid that is not as easily found in other vegetarian foods.
So.. the moral of the story? Take charge of your nutrition. And eat more beans.
Even within the legume family, there is a lot of variety. Lentils and chickpeas are my go-to beans, but they all have their own merits. Pick up a new bean and get creative.
Have some split peas but don’t know what to do? Try this soup. I really like split peas, but less eager to cook with them due to their long cooking time. Even with soaking (or not), I find they take a while to cook, sometimes longer than an hour and a half.
It is worth it, though.
I prefer yellow split peas, which have a milder pea flavour. The split peas thicken this soup spiced with ginger and coriander. Filling and hearty yet light at the same time from the lemon. The lemon zest really brought this up a notch. It also packs a protein punch: 20g when serving 3. Serve with a salad to get some greens.
Looking for other ways to eat split peas? Try these:
Smoky Split Pea Soup with Roasted Garlic and Sage
Finnish Double Pea Stew with Apples
Iraqi Eggplant and Seitan Stew
Split Pea Dal with Ginger and Lime
Ethiopian Split Pea Puree (Kik Alicha)
Ethiopian Split Pea and Squash Stew with Collard Greens
Swedish Yellow Split Pea Soup with Dill at Power Hungry
Curried Squash and Split Pea Soup at Choosing Raw
Sunshine Curried Split Pea Soup at G Living
Yellow Split Peas with Garlic, Ginger and Cilantro at Kalyn’s Kitchen
Yellow Split Pea Soup with Smoked Paprika and Crisped Leeks at Not Eating Out in New York
Polish Split Peas and Cabbage at About.com
1 tsp whole coriander seed, crushed, or 1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 medium leek, cut longitudinally, washed and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1-inch-long gingerroot, peeled and grated (~1 tbsp)
1 cup yellow split peas, picked over and rinsed
4 cups water/vegetable stock
2 rosemary branches, plus additional chopped leaves, for garnish
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2-3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (from half a lemon)
1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, toast coriander for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add oil. When hot, stir in carrots, leek, garlic and ginger. Reduce heat to medium and saute for 5 minutes or until the vegetables have softened.
2. Add water/stock, split peas, rosemary and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Bring soup to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 60-90 minutes until peas are falling apart. Remove rosemary and bay leaves. Stir in lemon zest and juice. Season. Serve. May need to thin with additional water if it thickens as leftovers.