Protein sources in our vegetarian diet

Q. I’ve been reading your weekly menus with great interest, partly because I’m trying to move to a more vegetarian-based diet. But I am struck by how little protein there appears to be in your diet. You all look healthy and given the level of physical activity you must have in your daily lives, whatever you’re doing seems to work for you. But I’m wondering if there are protein sources in your diet (other than the occasional mention of cheese) that perhaps aren’t getting mentioned in your weekly menus.

A. We have been vegetarian for about 17 years now. My how time flies! We get our proteins through nuts, eggs and dairy products. As for the weekly menus I didn’t mention that on some days we do eat snacks, mostly peanut butter (high in protein) with homemade jam or honey. We purchase some peanut butter by the 15lb bucket from our co-op. On our salads we sprinkle nuts (also high in protein), sometimes cheese and our homemade granola also contains nuts. In the winter time our meals will consist of more dried legumes (lentils, black beans). From time to time on special occasions we do splurge and eat vege burgers or vege hot dogs. We are blessed that we are healthy. Some folks don’t believe we are vegetarian because “we don’t look it.” On one occasion a reporter couldn’t believe Justin didn’t eat meat because he’s of healthy build and muscles (in light of our Belgian heritage we’ve nicknamed Justin “muscles from Brussels”). I guess the reporter couldn’t get over how “buff” he looked and seem to think that if a person was vegetarian they have to look “weak.”

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