I want to start something new to help with one of the most popular questions I keep seeing when it comes to a vegan diet, and even more important when it comes to the fitness world in general.
Where do you get protein from while eating a plant based diet? What foods are available to Vegans which have a high protein content to complement the fitness lifestyle?
So how do I plan on doing this you may ask? Well that’s pretty simple, after years of training with a bodybuilding mentality I have become very aware of food labels. To the point where I am that weird guy in the grocery store making my food choices by whats in them nutritionally.
So I want to work on finding as many high protein options that I can and share each experience with you. What I hope to accomplish by doing this is to spread awareness of the variety of sustainable protein choices which are out there. I also have learned first hand how it is VERY possible to continue bodybuilding or adding muscle without any meat in your diet.
Training is the easy part, but controlling what you put into your mouth is the big issue. Now I get nothing from any of these companies so it is my honest opinion about their product and what I truly think about it after trying it myself. If I don’t like it I promise I will let you know about it. So lets make those gains, crush some negative stereotypes vegans are associated with, and learn what protein sources are available to us.
What is on the menu for today? Starting with one of my favorites from the company Field Roast, is their Frankfurters sausages. I have been able to find them in a wide array of stores locally, so they are not a real specialty item which I have struggled to find like some protein sources. If you live in Canada you should be able to find them at Superstore or Save-on-Foods if you have either of those options. They are an American founded company, originating in Seattle so I imagine they should be pretty easy to find in the rest of the United States.
The package is very clearly labelled that they are vegan and contain no meat. I like it when companies do this, making my life a whole lot easier while searching the food isles. They are supposed to be kept in the refrigerator so expect to find them in a cooled section, either in the health food area or close to the veggies. Don’t be looking around the other real sausages as you will not be able to find them. Around here they are not cheap, usually around $7 for a package of 4, but I’m sure this changes depending where you are.
What do these Frankfurters consist of and what gives them their protein content? Checking out the ingredients list its appears like the majority of the protein is from vital wheat gluten, being the second ingredient on its list (after water.) Later on down the list there is also some pea protein, which I’m sure accounts for some of the protein count.
One thing I did find a little interesting is the vitamins and minerals which are added, especially since they are some of the ones vegans are known to lack. So bravo Field Roast for doing your research. Each Frankfurter has 220 calories which seems to be average for an artisan vegan sausage. Almost half of that is made up of fats, each sausage packing 11g of fat or about 100 calories worth. The sodium content is a little high, sitting at 770 mg per sausage but that can be expected with most simulated meats. I was happy to see the high B12 count, like 140% of your daily value, being a vitamin which is usually missed by vegans this is a bonus.
Field Roast was able to keep the carbohydrate number low which is a pretty good feat when it comes to plant based protein sources. Only having 6g of carbs and 2g of that from fiber. Now for the part which makes the fitness enthusiast in me happy is the protein content, each Frankfurter having a whopping 24g of protein. With a low carb count and a high protein count these are very macro friendly and can easily fit into most diets.
How to prep them? Well they are basically a sausage so you can expect to cook them the same ways you would a traditional sausage. There is the boiling technique which I wont lie to you, I have yet to try nor do I really want to. You can also fire up the barbecue and throw them on the grill; this is probably my favorite way to cook them as I love the way a grill makes food taste. Something about that char flavor you get from the barbecue makes my heart happy.
If you live somewhere like I do, where winter is more then half the year, saute’ them in a frying pan with a little oil over a medium low heat. You can do this with the sausages as a whole or you can cut them up to throw them into a pasta dish or whatever else your heart desires. They are relatively firm making them cut up and hold together real well without becoming a mess or ground “meat.” They don’t take long to cook and say they ready to eat on the package, so unlike a meat sausage you wont get sick if they are under cooked.
The smell you get while sauteing them is actually very sausage like and what you would expect from a real frankfurter. If you have tried any of the other Field Roast sausages you can anticipate a pretty similar taste and texture to those. There is a slight smoked flavor to them from “natural liquid smoke.” The smoke flavor is by no means overwhelming, but it does give them a great taste which you would expect from a real sausage.
There is also what I would assume to be pepper in them giving a mild kick but not spicy by any means, I would even go out on a limb and say they are child friendly. You can tell they do have a good deal of salt in them, so while cooking them I probably wouldn’t add any more salt without taste testing first.
They continue to hold their shape and texture while you cook them which is nice compared to some simulated meats. They do tend to firm up if you over cook them, so I would recommend keeping an eye on them to make sure you don’t over-do it.
While barbecuing them you don’t get the casing bubbling up like you do with some veggie dogs. If you have tried barbecuing the average grocery store veggie dog, you will know what I am referring to. I do like to put a little oil on them prior to cooking them on the barbecue as they tend to dry out otherwise, barbecue sauce also works for this.
Overall I enjoy these Frankfurters and would recommend them if you have yet tried them. They do a pretty good job of delivering what I expected flavor wise and with a excellent protein count they are a great addition to a vegan diet. Very close to the macros you would expect from a meat sausage, but cruelty free making it a win!