These 15 Foods Are The Key To Making A Meat-Lover Into A Happy Vegetarian

My favorite holiday growing up was the Fourth of July. I loved being surrounded by my family and friends, laughing and lounging outside in the summer heat and of course, the burning smell of the grill all while eating a giant, juicy hamburger.

Holidays were celebrated with meat in my family, as I’m sure is customary in many other families, too. My grandmother would go to the kosher butcher and bring back various types of chicken, turkey and red meat. I was taught that “healthy eating” came from grilled chicken paired with rice and a vegetable. Eating “well” was still eating meat.

I never thought being a vegetarian was an option for me.

I’m taking this class that has opened my eyes to the human relationship with animals. It got me wondering why we treat dogs like our children, but we put chicken in our salads. Or why when we’re eating steak and someone mentions a cow, we say “Don’t ruin my meal for me.”

Most of us shield ourselves from the reality of the meat industry. We see hot dog carts on the street and think of lunch, but if we were handed a pig and a knife and told to prepare our own meal, most of us would not be able to do it. But nevertheless, about 2,000 pigs are killed for meat every hour and most never see the light of day.

Chickens are separated from their mothers upon hatching. Their beaks are sliced off because chickens have the ability to feel anxiety, and when they’re anxious, they peck each other. Male chickens are “discarded” upon hatching because they cannot lay eggs and cannot grow fast enough to be used for meat so they are economically invaluable. Poultry farms use a process called maceration. Sounds scientific, right? But the process kills the babies by either placing them in a gas chamber or throwing them into a high-speed grinder. How does it sound now?

I didn’t plan on converting to vegetarianism, but I haven’t been able to look at a piece of meat and put it in my mouth since being exposed to the harsh reality of the meat industry. That said, there’s no right and wrong. Everyone has the capabilities of making their own decisions so if meat is part of your diet then that’s totally cool. But I think that everyone should be educated on what’s really going on.

Many of you may have thought about converting, but ask the big question, “How will I get get my protein?” I struggled with that question, too, but after some intense research, I learned that there are way more sources of protein out there than you may think.

Here are just 15 foods that are high in protein that you may not have thought of.

1. Chickpeas

Yes, that includes hummus! Half a cup of cooked chickpeas packs in 7.3 grams of protein.

2. Cheese

It’s not the best source of protein since it’s high in cholesterol, but it’s a great source of calcium. In moderation, cheese is an option.

3. Black Beans

Half a cup of cooked of cooked black beans gives you 7.3 grams of protein and have proven to boost your brain power.

4. Kidney Beans

Half a cup of cooked kidney beans racks in 7.6 grams of protein and effectively controls blood sugar.

5. Peanut Butter

Two tablespoons of peanut butter contains eight grams of protein.

6. Quinoa

One cup of quinoa has eight grams of protein and can be paired with literally anything.

7. Sprouted Whole-Grain Bread

Not all breads are refined, white carbs. Just two slices of this bread pack eight grams of protein.

8. Lentils

Half a cup of cooked lentils contains nine grams of protein.

9. Pumpkin Seeds

Perfect for fall! One ounce has nine grams of protein.

10. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt packs 20 grams of protein per seven ounce cup.

11. Soy

There are 10 grams of protein per half cup of soy, including tofu and beans.

12. Spinach

Spinach contains five grams of protein per one cup of it cooked.

13. Peas

There are eight grams of protein per one cup of peas.

14. Almonds

There are six grams of protein per ounce of almonds.

15. Cashews

Cashews contain five grams of protein per ounce.

The list doesn’t stop there. There are so many healthy sources of protein out there, you just need to do a little research. You don’t have to live off of lettuce and celery to be a vegetarian.

There are also some amazing vegetarian Instagram accounts out there if you need a little #foodinspo, including @mynewroots , @loveandlemons and @dollyandoatmeal.

The decision is in your hands now, and hopefully you choose the one that’s best for you.

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