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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise
Ask Aunt Nettie

We're delighted to share our Aunt Nettie with you. She's always ready to answer any questions you might ask about food, its preparation, and even clean-up tips. But we have to prepare you. She just might want to come right over to your house and help you fix dinner.

Since many people believe that vegans can't get enough protein on a plant-based diet, Aunt Nettie has decided to share her thoughts on the subject.

To send any questions to Ask Aunt Nettie an/or get her cooking advice, .

Stop Frettin' 'Bout Protein;
There's Heaps All 'Round Ya

Well, howdy there darlin's,

I been noticin' that lots o' folks been frettin' 'about protein. When I tell 'em I don't eat meat 'n' all the other animal foods, why they gits ta puzzlin' 'bout what in 'tarnation keeps me tickin' without all them steaks an' stuff.

When I tell 'em 'bout all them good veggies what I do eat, some folks jes shake they heads in wonderment, but there's a heap o' folks really wantin' ta know more 'bout protein an' how I git so much energy at my age. Why, they jes want ta feel as chipper as I do.

Soy Products So this here is all 'bout the protein I git from bein' vegan. Lots o' folks think soy is the only answer fer vegan protein, but they jes don't know there's lots of good protein aside from soy. So if them soy products is givin' ya trubble, why jus leave 'em behind. There's food a-plenty without it.

But if'n soy is no problem, why there's tofu an' tempeh an' soymilk full o' protein an' you kin cook up a heap o' good fixin's with 'em.

Now, I know beans got a bad reputation ta some folks' way o' thinkin', but I pay them folks no mind. Why, I cook all kinds o' beans an' deelicious legumes like lentils an' green split peas or yeller split peas. They's mighty tasty an' mighty good fer ya too 'cause they's got a heap o' protein.

Lentils But that's not all beans is good fer. They's mighty low in fat. Now, mind, darlin's, beans is impressive high in fiber, an' I know that you know fiber does ya good. An' that's not all, neither. Beans is so wholesome they kin help lower yer cholesterol an keep ya full an' satisfied 'til it's time fer supper.

What else got protein? Why, jes peek in the whole grain bin. There's brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, barley, oats, wild rice, bulgur wheat, an whole wheat got plenty protein, too. If y'all eat whole grains ever' day, you'll be feelin' mighty regular. Some of them grains like oats an' barley even help ta lower cholesterol without them pills that kin bring ya a heap o' trubble.

Almonds Some folks have a hankerin' fer nuts an' seeds. They's got a heap o' protein, too. But nuts an' seeds is sumthin' ya oughter eat just a tad, like one quarter cup a day. An' that little bit kin even help ta lower yer high cholesterol an keep ya from gittin' a heart attack. That's 'cause nuts is high in good fats like them mono an' polyunsaturated fats. Remember, though, jes a tad.

An' all them fixin's I mentioned got plenty fiber, too. An' that's important fer good digestion an' keepin' yer blood sugar nice an steady.

Now, I got a surprise fer ya. Did y'all know that even a radish got protein? It's true, child, it does, an' so do most all the vegetables an fruits in the world. Though not a heap o' protein--jes a tad.

Here's 'nother surprise. Some vegetables, like broccoli got a heap o' protein. An' cooked broccoli has more protein than raw broccoli, though both is mighty fine. It surprises folks that eatin' a vegetable like broccoli is like puttin' money in a healthy protein bank.

Broccoli Here's the easiest recipe fer broccoli I know: Steam it just a tad, like no more than 3 ta 4 minutes. Put it in a dish an' squeeze some fresh lemon juice over it. Add a tad of salt an' pepper. An' that's all.

All them fixins' I been goin' on about--soy, beans, whole grains, nuts an' seeds, fruits an' vegetables--why they's practically explodin' with vitamins an' minerals an' tiny little secret plant chemicals them scientists don't even have a name fer yet, but they's there ta keep y'all strong an' healthy an' protect ya from gittin' cancer an' heart attacks an' diabetes.

So now, kin y'all see there's no need fer frettin' 'bout protein. You'll git a good measure of it when ya git yer fill o' plant foods at the table. Purty soon you'l be feelin' like a million bucks--I knows it 'cause I shure do.

Oh, did I ferget ta mention you'll be leavin' behind a heap o' calories ya don't need when start switchin' yer protein from animal foods ta plant foods? Now, that's a good thang!

Well, darlin' I surely do hope this is good advice. It's been mighty fine fer me an' my kin.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

If You Haven't Met Aunt Nettie. . .

Our Aunt Nettie has a head like a hard disk. It's filled with gigabytes of information about food and cooking. And she's just itchin' to share her learnin' with city folk who live in mortal fear of the stovetop.

Aunt Nettie grew up on the farm. She did not eat out of a can or reach into the freezer. There was no microwave to pop her food into. Everything she made was from scratch. All the food she ate was natural, without pesticides. It was grown right there on the family farm, and she had to cook to survive. At eighty-three years young she still leaps and bounds around the kitchen and can shake, rattle, and roll those pots and pans with the best of them.

Nowadays, Aunt Nettie just shakes her head and complains, "Nobody cooks anymore. They have no idea about puttin' a meal together." She's on a mission. She wants to help those younguns eat better so they can grow up healthy like her own eight kids.

Click here for past Ask Aunt Nettie Columns

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