“…but where do you get your protein?”
A vegetarian since 2003/2004, I’ve heard this question about protein more times than anything else. Especially since I’ve been a competitive endurance athlete that entire time. I can tell you that my athletic performance only improved once I became a vegetarian and I think that was due to the lower inflammation and the fact that it was much easier to maintain my optimal weight for racing.
As you will see from this simple, easy and delicious Zenberry Vegan Protein pancake recipe, that it’s very easy to get lots of protein from plants (by the way the “complete” protein theory was debunked years ago) but what we have been obsessed with lately is dietary fiber.
Join our FREE Focus on Fiber Challenge
How Much Fiber Do We Really Need?
It’s time for us to shift our focus from protein (Americans get 2-3x more than they need), carbs and low fat and start really focusing on fiber. We all know we need fiber but do you know the RDA for fiber? It’s about 25g per day for women and 38g for men according to the Institute of Medicine.
Very few omnivorous Americans meet that amount, unfortunately. Most vegans, vegetarians or plant-based folks usually meet this threshold unless they are what we call “twinkie vegans” and eat mostly technically vegan junk food.
The implications of a low fiber diet are much more profound than a “low” protein diet when you consider that almost zero Americans (even strict raw vegans) fail to get the minimum RDA for protein. We coined the phrase “Focus on Fiber” to help keep you, well, focused on fiber.
How Much Fiber Did Our Ancestors Eat?
We were inspired by a recent video by one of our favorite information sources, NutritionFacts.org, where Dr. Greger sifts through the studies and explains that our ancestors in the Paleo and later in the Miocene ate 100g and 150g of fiber per day, respectfully. That is a lot of fiber! Way above the RDA, right?
As Dr. Greger explains in the video, 90% of our evolution (thus our digestive tract and physiology) was during the Miocene era. It is doubtful that in the tiny amount of time (10,000 yrs roughly) that we have been eating more and more animal protein that we have evolved to eat such large amounts of meat and low amounts of fiber.
Even our closest relative who is also the most carnivorous of apes (besides us), the chimpanzee, eats a 98% plant-based diet. Yes, they do hunt from time to time, but it’s not 2-3 meals per day like the average American.
Our Experiment With Fiber
Emma and I have been experimenting with trying to eat like our ancestors in the Paleolithic era where we eat 100g of fiber per day without adding extra calories to our diet (after experimenting we went with the lower amount of fiber than the Miocene but we might try the 150g per day at some point).
I will tell you that it was an eye-opener! Even as vegan and vegetarians it was a real challenge. Sure, adding a bunch of calories would have made it easier (though we were full long before we reached 100g) but we wanted to really focus on fiber-dense foods.
If you want to take part in this 100% FREE Focus on Fiber Challenge, sign up and take the course which will have advice, info, recipes (like this one) and will guide you to a fiber-rich diet even if none of us consistently hits the 100g per day. I love great pancakes and these do not disappoint, plus you’re getting a huge amount of fiber!
Zenberry Vanilla Chai Pancakes Recipe
Serving size is 7 small pancakes and has 15g of fiber and 27g of vegan protein
- 1 1/2 cup organic rolled oats
- 1 cup almond milk or other nut milk (unsweetened)
- 1 spotted banana (ripe so it’s sweeter)
- 2 TBSP Zenberry Vanilla Chai (other zenberry flavors will work as well)
- real maple syrup, fruit or raw honey to top, if you choose
Directions: blend oats, dry, in high speed blender (Vitamix etc) until powdered. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until it becomes smooth.
Using a non-stick pan, measure 1/4 cup portions of batter and cook at medium heat. No oil necessary! If you want some oil we recommend a little organic unrefined coconut oil.
Fiber Boost: serve with a cup of organic raspberries (the most fiber-dense food by calorie) to add 8g more fiber bringing the total to 23g. Now that is a good start to the day full of fiber! Thanks for reading! Bon appetit
Shane & Emma