Tag Archives: Plant Protein

Categories Free Resources, Listen

Vegetarian & Vegan Diets – What to Know

It seems like way too many people are not sure what exactly are the vegetarian and vegan diets, the difference between them and what people eat when they follow these diets.

Maybe you know someone who is considering these diets and you want to support them better.

In this episode, I provide simple, straightforward information and give you 5 important points to know about these diets that can help you be better informed, so you can decide if it is something you may want to pursue or how to support a loved one who is considering these diets.






Categories Recipes, Snack

Crunchy High-Protein Beancurd Sticks

Crunchy High-Protein Beancurd Sticks

Author Shani - Lemon Tree Nutrition
Crunchy, savoury and a good source of plant protein. That’s a big yes for me. I love these little sticks that I can snack on. They provide me with extra protein and are delicious as is or in a hearty sandwich.
Bonus - They are really easy to make!
Prep Time 45 minutes


  • Paper towel
  • A large pan


  • 40 grams dried beancurd sticks
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger powder
  • 3-4 teaspoons cooking oil of choice
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce


  • In a small bowl place the paprika, garlic and ginger powder. Mix with a teaspoon until blended. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, place the dried beancurd then cover with hot water. The beancurd will float in the beginning. Once it absorbs the water, it will sink. Allow to soak in hot water for about 30 minutes.
  • Pour into a colander and shake a bit to get rid of excess water.
  • Place a piece of paper towel on your table and spread the wet beancurd in one layer. With another piece of paper towel tap dry the curds.
  • Place the curds in a dry medium bowl and sprinkle the spice mixture over the curds. With two forks toss the curds to allow them to be covered with the spices as evenly as possible.
  • Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and toss the curds in. Add the tablespoon of soy sauce. Mix well.
  • Allow the curds to cook on one side for about 2 minutes then turn them over to cook on the other side.
  • Increase heat to high and cook the curds until crispy and tiny bubbles form on their skin. About 2 minutes. Turn the curds to fry them on the other side.
  • The sticks are ready when they are brown and crispy.


If you do not have smoked paprika, you can use regular paprika and add ¼ teaspoon liquid smoked if you have it at home. If you have none of these, use regular paprika but the smokey flavour gives it this extra deliciousness.
Categories Free Resources, Read

7 important things to know about protein intake

How much protein do we really need? How do we get enough of it? Should we follow a high-protein diet?
Protein is found in every cell of our body and has many functions. It is involved in many chemical reactions and is an important macronutrient for putting some meat on our bones, making blood, skin, hair, enzymes and more.
To keep our body in a healthy state, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) per day for an adult is 0.8 grams of protein for each kilogram of body weight. However, depending on our sex, age, lifestyle, frequency and intensity of physical activity, goals and other factors, an individual may need more than that. Let’s look at some important points to consider:

1. Too much of a good thing

Although protein is an important macronutrient, the expression “the more, the better” does not apply to its daily intake. A healthy diet should consist of all 3 macronutrients which are properly balanced and designed to the individual and their personal goal.

2. Remember your personal goal

Different people may have different goals when it comes to weight management, health and fitness. If someone is a bodybuilder, while your lifestyle is sedentary, the amount of protein requirements will be substantially different for the two of you. Your protein intake should be matching your goals, life choices, biology and other factors. Remember we are not all the same.

3. Consider the source of protein

Protein can come from animal and plant foods. When choosing your protein, remember it comes in a package that normally includes other macronutrients or other characteristics. For example, animal protein such as beef, chicken, fish, dairy and eggs, will also include some fats. While fats are an important macronutrient, some animal protein provide high amounts of saturated fats aside from protein. Saturated fats should be consumed in moderation.
On the other hand, protein from plant sources may have a reduced bioavailability. Being aware of that and incorporating cooked veggies and grains into our food intake can help increase bioavailability.

4. Adjust the total food intake

When our goal is to maintain or lose bodyweight, whenever we increase the intake of a certain macronutrient, we should make adjustments so we do not consume more food than we require. Meaning, if you have not changed anything in your diet except increase your protein intake, you may experience some weight gain due to overconsmption of calories. Swapping foods can be a good solution in this case. For example, instead of snacking on a couple fruits, swap with a few carrot sticks and hummus dip, while maintaining a similar caloric amount.

5. Get to know your protein powder

Some people may choose to incorporate protein powder into their food intake. While such powders are a great way to supplement our diet with protein and a great solution when you are in a hurry or on the go, we should learn what is really in our powder. Such powders may come from different sources (dairy, eggs, plant-based) and can often contain other ingredients such as vitamins and minerals, thickeners, added sugars or other sweeteners, as well as artificial flavouring. When choosing a protein powder, make sure to read the nutrition and ingredient labels first and see if you are okay with the final product.

6. High-protein diets

A very high-protein diet normally encourages an extremely low carb intake which may translate into overall minimal consumption of fruits and vegetables. While high-protein diets may offer certain benefits to certain people for a limited time period and under clinical supervision, studies have shown over and over again that daily consumption of enough fruits and vegetables contributes to our health in many ways and can be helpful and even preventative for many diseases.

7. Protein for vegetarians and vegans

Getting enough protein from non-animal sources is possible. Although a bit more planning may be required, achieving the protein intake requirements only through plant protein can be done. While vegetarians who eat dairy, eggs or fish can meet their protein intake requirements quite easily, vegans need to plan a bit more but can still get enough protein regularly. A common concern in some vegetarian diets or a vegan lifestyle is unintentionally creating a deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals. If you plan to become a vegetarian or vegan, a professional nutritional guidance or in-depth planning should be done to avoid such deficiencies.

Categories Dine, Recipes

The world’s quickest vegetarian meal

The world’s quickest vegetarian meal

Author Shani - Lemon Tree Nutrition
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes


  • A medium glass or ceramic mixing bowl
  • A large plate or lid to cover the bowl
  • A medium-sized pot
  • Fork


  • 1 cup dry couscous fine or medium
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups water boiling
  • 1 can organic chickpeas or beans of choice
  • 1 jar high-quality, organic pasta sauce, 650 ml
  • Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste


  • Place the dry couscous in a medium bowl. Add the salt and olive oil. Mix well with a fork until all the couscous turns a bit shiny.
  • Add the boiling water, quickly stir with a fork and cover with a large plate, lid or plastic wrap. Bowl must be completely covered. Set aside for 5-10 minutes.
  • In the meantime, pour the pasta sauce into a pot and bring to simmer. Add drained chickpeas or beans and mix. Bring to simmer again. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder if needed, to taste.
  • With a fork, fluff the prepared couscous to separate the grains as much as possible.
  • To serve, place the desired amount of couscous in a small bowl, top with the prepared sauce.


For a spicier version, replace the pasta sauce with an Indian-style cooking sauce such as Tikka Masala sauce or a prepared sauce for butter chicken (a vegetarian version).
Categories Free Resources, Read

How to Make Healthier Choices on a Budget

A common misconception is that a healthy lifestyle is expensive and only a minority can afford it. Often, when picturing a healthy lifestyle, images of expensive gym memberships, pricey organic produce and some high-cost environmentally-conscious products. While there is definitely a lot of money in the health industry, the wonderful news is that living a healthier lifestyle can be done with little financial investment. In fact, you will find the investment is more of a time & effort one, rather than financial.

The important thing is to be willing to make small changes, start making them and keep consistent. With time, these can help you improve your current situation. It is the little changes we do that slowly and gradually impact our own lives for the better, our community and if we are patient enough, the environment we live in.

I came up with a list for you to have. You are more than welcome to adopt one or multiple suggestions. Please share this with people you think could benefit from it.

1. Cook more at home.

This will save you a lot of money and will provide you with more control over what goes into your food. Eating out or ordering take-out can add up in both money and less healthy choices.

2. Buy seasonal produce.

No one has to have grapes in the winter or oranges in the summer. Imported produce can be pricier and sometimes less nutritious due to longer storage and travel time. Someone has to pay the price of travel and storage and that would be you.

3. Make your own protein/granola/energy bars.

Most recipes available online are easy to follow and most bars freeze well. Most recipes use products that are available at home or can be found in any superstore. Keep a stash in the freezer for you to grab & go.

4. Try frozen veggies & fruits.

There are times throughout the year where the variety of fresh produce is small, or what is available is pricey. Frozen options can often be as nutritious as fresh, and it is better to choose frozen than to not have any fruits and veggies at all.

5. Go for daily walks.

Whether it is a long stroll or a short fast walk, with or without added weights, the benefits of walking are frequently underestimated. It is a great exercise, can be adjusted to any fitness level and can be done by most people year-round.

6. Reduce intake of expensive meats.

Instead of having beef, chicken, turkey or fish daily, consider replacing a few meals per week with a vegetarian option such as lentils and beans dishes, eggs or tofu.

7. At-home cosmetics.

Consider using good quality olive oil or coconut oil to replace some cosmetic products such as hair masks, makeup removers, lip balm and lotions. Often these oils are available at home and are a much cheaper and healthier option than chemically-heavy cosmetics.

8. Double up on your favourite dishes.

When cooking your own meal, consider doubling a recipe to freeze and enjoy later. It will save you time and effort and maybe even help you refrain from ordering take-out.

9. Online exercises library.

Search online for some safe, at-home exercises that require no special equipment or conditions, and use body weight and a small space. There are many completely free options out there that can fit any style and fitness level.

10. Relax for free.

Instead of going to an expensive spa or for pricey massages, try relaxation methods at home, such as meditation, listening to calming music, stretching and/or breathing techniques.

Categories Dine, Recipes

Epic & Colourful Summer Salad

Epic & Colourful Summer Salad

Author Shani - Lemon Tree Nutrition
I hereby give you your new go-to summer salad. Seriously, it doesn’t get better than this. This salad truly has it all - it’s filling, crunchy, satisfying and colourful. For lunch or as a side for dinner, you pick!
This vegetarian salad provides a nice balance between healthy carbs, fats and protein. It is high in fibre, good nutrients, and the whole family can enjoy it.
Bonus: If you don’t have a certain vegetable, just swap it with whatever you have in the fridge.
Prep Time 20 minutes


  • Sharp knife
  • Mixing bowl


  • 1 cup chilled, cooked grain of choice: quinoa, whole-wheat couscous or bulgur
  • ½ can pre-cooked chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper cubed
  • 1 yellow bell pepper cubed
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 2 Roma tomatoes cubed
  • ½ cup fresh peas
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley finely chopped
  • Black olives pitted and halved, optional
  • Dried cranberries or raisins optional for some sweetness


  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon liquid honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper powder
  • ½ teaspoon teaspoon garlic powder


  • Begin with preparing the dressing: Place all dressing ingredients in a jar, close with a lid and shake until well combined. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, place the chilled grain of choice, chickpeas, bell peppers, carrot, tomatoes, fresh peas and parsley.
  • With a tablespoon, mix all ingredients. If adding black olives, cranberries or raisins, add them now and mix.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.
  • Refrigerate for an hour before serving to allow the flavours to set.
Categories Dine, Recipes

Classic Chickpea Hummus

Classic Chickpea Hummus

Author Shani - Lemon Tree Nutrition
Chickpea hummus is a staple in Middle-Eastern cuisine. Chickpeas are high in fibre, complex carbs, plant protein, vitamins and minerals. Pair it with some veggie sticks or whole wheat pita bread and you got yourself a nutritious and satisfying snack or even a meal.
Bored with regular chickpea hummus? Look at the notes for optional flavours and colours.
*Please note this dish contains sesame paste.
Cook Time 20 minutes


  • Food processor or blender


  • 1 can pre-cooked chickpeas
  • ½ cup Tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1 clove of garlic peeled and chopped or ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • warm water


  • Place the canned chickpeas in a colander, drain juices and rinse well with tap water.
  • Place drained chickpeas in a food processor or a blender and blend for 30 seconds just to break up the chickpeas a little.
  • Add Tahini (sesame paste), garlic, salt, cumin and lemon juice.
  • Add 1/2 cup of warm water and process/blend to a smooth consistency, scraping the sides and adding a bit more water until desired texture has been achieved. The ideal texture would be silky. Please note, the hummus gets firmer after a while. If you have added too much water, add one tablespoon of Tahini at a time until preferred consistency has been achieved.
  • Taste the hummus and fix seasoning if required. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  • Leftover should be kept in an air-tight glass container in the fridge, for about 2 days.


Here are some delicious modifications to your hummus:
  • Roasted peppers Hummus- Before starting the blending process, add 1 roasted red pepper.
  • Pink Hummus - Before starting the blending process, add 1 small cooked cubed beet.
  • Bean dip - Replace cooked chickpeas with cooked white beans.
Serving options:
  • With whole wheat pita bread (classic in the Middle East); veggie sticks; or even diluted with some extra water to turn into a dressing to drizzle over greens.
  • Middle Eastern style serving - In a small plate, spread 2 tablespoons of fresh hummus in a circular way (view picture), drizzle with a bit of olive oil, garnish with some whole cooked chickpeas, and sprinkle a bit of sweet paprika and chopped parsley on top.