Since changing my eating and moving to a vegan lifestyle to improve my autoimmune issues, I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked that question. It does get old after the 20th time as you could imagine, but then I realised that people don’t say it to be annoying, most ask because they really want to know the answer. So I thought I would write about it, so those of you who are curious will have the answer to that all important question and those who don’t, well you will learn too!
Proteins are contained in every cell and are the building blocks of the body. Our body uses protein to build and repair tissue, make enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals, also to promote immune function. Unlike carbohydrate and fat, the body does not store protein, so it is important to eat protein rich foods every day. The amount of protein people require vary due to body weight so for every 1 kg of body weight, a person should consume around 0.8g of protein. With this in mind, most people today actually eat more protein than necessary, rather than not enough.
Studies have shown that plants contain more than enough protein to meet the human bodies requirement on a daily basis. On average most vegans consume 70% more protein than required per day. The thought that plant protein is inferior to animal protein was dismissed as a myth by the nutrition community decades ago, after intensive research proved that this was not the case. As our research continues, it has been found that there definitely is no shortage of protein on a plant-based diet.
Here are a few examples of plant-based foods that contain protein.
- Vegetables: Just one cup of spinach has about 7 grams of protein, beans 13 grams and so on.
Hemp: Sprinkling a handful of hemp seeds on your cereal or putting 30 grams of hemp powder in your smoothie and you receive
about 11 grams of protein.
Quinoa: I love quinoa. It can be eaten as a porridge for breakfast, in salads for lunch and with a curry for dinner
instead of brown rice. One cup equals 9 grams of protein.
- Non-Dairy Milk: Soy and Almond milk have about 7 to 9 grams of protein per cup.
Nut Butter: Using pure peanut butter, almond butters and cashew butters give you about 8 grams in just two tablespoons.
- Tofu: 120 grams of tofu equals 9 grams of protein.
- Lentils: 1 cup of lentils equals a mighty 18 grams of protein.
- Beans: 1 cup of kidney, black beans and all varieties equals about 13 to 15 grams of protein.
Tempeh: 1 cup of tempeh equals about 30 grams of protein so that is one large protein punch. That is equivalent to the
protein of 5 eggs!
Hummus: This healthy chickpea side dish is very high in protein with 1 cup of hummus contains 19g of protein.
So there you have it. There is many more foods that could be added to this list but now you can understand that people who don’t eat meat can still absorb their protein from many other foods.
With the advent of people now including a meatless Monday meal in their week to reduce the risk of chronic illness and their carbon footprint, this is a great list of alternates foods that that you can use and know you are eating the protein necessary to assist your body without consuming animal products.