Happy Herbivore Blog

June 2, 2012

This Week’s Q&A (Talking Slow Cooker, Non-Dairy Milk & More)

You've got questions, I've got answers!

1. Can I grind up dried chickpeas in the food processor to make chickpea flour the same way I grind up oatmeal to make oat flour?

It would depend on your food processor, but most processors cannot handle it. Same for most blenders. Check the manual or call your manufacturer.

vegan yam falafels

2. Can you cook beans in the slow cooker?

Yes, although if you choose not to presoak them the cooking time will vary depending on the freshness of the dried beans. Kidney beans must be pre-cooked according to their package directions to make sure they are safe. For more information, see my post on Slow Cooking Lentils and Beans.

3. Do you strive to get a certain number of grams of protein a day or do you assume they even out from day to day. I went to work out this morning and was very shaky. I hope I'm getting enough protein, I know that word is overused a lot and we don't need as much protein as we think, but wondering if I should start counting grams?

Protein is in ALL plant foods (even rice and bananas) so as long as you eat whole foods all day you get enough protein -- even more. You could eat nothing but potatoes all day and get enough protein. In fact, you CANNOT BE protein deficient UNLESS you are calorie deficient (meaning you are starving yourself and not eating enough calories each day). See my protein post for more information.

I'm not a doctor or nutritionist, but re: the shaking, first you need to identify what kind of shaking you are experiencing. For example, if it's a muscle twitch, that's a (normal) muscular response to effort and activity. For example, sometimes my thigh muscles shake when I'm in certain yoga poses and that is totally natural. But if you have tremors (your hands are shaking) that is probably a blood sugar issue, and you should see a doctor about that and have tests done to rule out diabetes or other issues. As far as I know, blood sugars (specifically low blood sugars) are related to sugars, not protein consumption.

4. Which non-dairy (neutral/not sweet) milk do you use or recommend? I use unsweetened vanilla as my go to non-dairy milk for sweet things but not sure what to use for dishes like the veggie pot pie.

I tell people to find a plain non-dairy milk they like and use it universally. Rice, almond or soy -- just not hemp or coconut (I find both have tastes that are not complementary in a lot of dishes). I've used sweetened and unsweetened, rice, soy and almond, even homemade. They all work, it's a personal preference. I wouldn't use vanilla in cooking, but it would be fine in baking.

5. What's the deal with chia seeds? Are they really the super food the advertisements make them out to be?

They are packed with nutrients, but they can also interact with medicine and have some drawbacks. For more information, see my What are chia seeds post.

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