What’s the Beef with Protein?

When I became a vegetarian, my parents were not shy about making sure I met my nutritional requirements. Specifically, the subject on their minds was protein. “Sarah, have this piece of fish. It’s full of protein. You need protein in every meal to stay healthy.” It drove me absolutely mad, so much so that I became super focused on making sure I was hitting at least 100 grams or more. I tracked my macronutrients using LoseIt extensively, making sure that every handful of spinach or carton of egg whites helped me reach my goals. Sometimes, I would eat 3 Quest Bars just to make sure my protein needs were met. Now to be fair, at the time, I probably was not eating enough calories, which resulted in the symptoms of protein deficiency. And yes, once I stopped eating my vegetable-only salads in favor of a more balanced meal with added protein and fats, I felt loads better. However, after reflecting to that time in my life,  I began to critically think about the intense focus our society has on protein in our diet.

With this in mind, I beg the question: what is the deal with protein?

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“Are You Getting Enough Protein?”: Counting Macros

The first time someone told me that I needed more protein was from my mom. I had just come back from a weekend trip in college and was visiting my family for the holidays. My mom took one look at my hair and asked, “Are you eating enough protein? Maybe you should have some fish.”

To be fair to my mom, I probably was not getting enough protein or calories at the time. Like all trips you take in your late teens and early twenties, I was subsisting on a diet that would not be considered balanced. In this case, my team and I ate nothing but granola bars and Subway sandwiches. And because I was a pescatarian and store bought tuna salad (which is basically half mayo) FREAKS me out, my only option was the veggie delight sub with the sweet onion sauce. As you can tell, this probably has zero protein.

But you cannot say I did not get my veggies in.

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Learning to Eat Mindfully

I am a bit embarrassed to write this post. As a health and wellness blogger, I feel as though I need to have a perfect face on at all times. However, my hope with The Cutting Veg is to be real with you guys. And I do not feel as though I can move through this journey until I come clean about my journey through emotional eating. And really, this will be a journey. And I want you to come on the magic bus with me. Cause duh!

So here it goes.

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Cutting Out Sugar/Wheatberry Porridge with Runny Eggs

Did you y’all realize I used to be a sugar ADDICT?

I mean I still kind of am. BUT I am working on it. When I was a kid, I used to hoard sweets and candy in my room (sorry to my mother who did not know this. Ha!). Reese’s cups were my drug of choice.  I was so content to have a muffin or a donut for breakfast, and, even in college, my go to was a highly sweet yogurt with just as sugary granola. I usually would crave chocolate after every meal. And I was not just satisfied with a whole piece. I needed a whole bar.

You heard that right friends. A whole freaking bar.

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Favorite Trader Joe’s Products

The post you have been waiting for is actually here! Aka where I channel my obsession for a store.

It is a little nuts that I have this much love for a grocery store, right? Actually, probably not. I never went to a physical Trader Joe’s until I was in college. For me, Trader Joe’s was a magical place that my grandfather went to to pick us up all kinds of goodies. The nearest Trader Joe’s to my house as a kid was over an hour, but he lived five minutes from one. He would always surprise us with some of the weirdest stuff. He was a depression man, so he always thought the various canned goods were bomb!

Sardines in harrisa? Yeah, not exactly my cup of tea.

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