There is an ongoing question for plant based and non-meat eating people, “…but how do you get your protein?” It’s a touchy subject that most skeptics ask when first learning about particular diets so I’m here to answer some questions!
I have been living a plant-based lifestyle for about 17 months but I’m always learning and never feel like I know enough. That said, I’ve been able to learn what works for my body and my health and am happy to share it with you.
To clarify, there are two foods that I eat that might not be considered vegan or plant-based: eggs and honey. When I do eat them, I know exactly where they came from and how they were raised or made. Otherwise, I find that the way the commercial world has chosen to manufacture and produce animal products is far too risky for consumption. Most commercial products are pumped full of chemicals that can cause disease. Plants that are grown organically are a much safer and healthier option as your source of protein. I believe that God put plants on this earth to nourish our bodies and that’s just what we should use them for! I’ve made a list of a few of my favorite sources of plant-based protein and I’ll explain why.
Lentils are legumes and come in all shapes and sizes. Like other beans, lentils are high in dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble. They are pretty high on the protein chain and contain 18 g per one cup cooked. You can mix them into almost any dish, my favorite way is to add them to soup but the possibilities are really endless with lentils.
Beans are very similar in nutritional value to lentils. They are categorized in the beans and legumes group and are an excellent source of natural protein. When buying beans, the dry varieties are best because they have not been soaked in sodium like a lot of the canned versions. If you do buy canned beans, be sure to buy organic. 1 cup of black beans has 39 g of protein per 1 cup, as compared to chicken, which has 38 g.
Quinoa is one of the greatest superfoods and contains all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. The human body cannot produce all amino acids and thus, need food to do so. Though it is a popular belief, quinoa is not a grain, it is a seed. Quinoa does not contain any gluten and contains 24 g of protein per one cup uncooked.
Nuts and Nut Butters:
One of the favorites in the protein category, nut butters are an excellent source of natural protein. As you know, nuts are high in healthy fats so they must be consumed in moderation. Almond butter and peanut butter are two of my favorites. You have to be very careful when buying peanut butter because peanuts are very susceptible to alfatoxin, which is a carcinogen. Always buy peanut butter in organic form. 2 tbsp of peanut butter contains 8 g of protein.
My favorite form of protein powder to add into smoothies is hemp protein. Hemp protein is made from hemp seeds. It adds well with most flavors and is easily digested. Hemp is also a complete protein, which is why it is my favorite!
These are just a few of the many, many sources of plant proteins but all are easily added into any diet. Any time you have specific questions on protein, look it up and see what scientific research has proven to be true about plant protein sources. You can’t go wrong eating the rainbow of plant produce that is all around us, waiting to be enjoyed!