Like any diet, balance is key. Another way of looking at it is diversity is key. Like any well balanced, diverse diet, vegan diets must focus on all aspects of the bodies fuel needs. One of the concerns many people have about vegan diets is how to get enough protein. The recommended daily intake of protein is roughly 56 grams for most men and 46 grams for most women. Below is a list of 9 healthy, plant based protein sources that will keep your body humming along.
1. Quinoa: This little whole grain packs allot of power into it. It is a cholesterol-free, low fat source of protein. According to the USDA 1 cup of cooked Quinoa contains 8.14 grams of protein. This wonderful whole grain is wonderful in all sorts of recipes. You can also “beef up”, chilies, soups and stews by adding some quinoa to these recipes as well (without the beef).
2. Vegetables: Yup green is lean & mean! You should be eating allot of greens in your diet anyway, the darker- the better, for many reasons. For now let’s just stick to protein. 1 cup of spinach= .9g, 1 cup broccoli= 2.6g, 1 cup rabe = 1.3g, 1 cup collards= 1.1g, 1 cup kale= 2.9g
3. Beans & Peas: These are a great protein source. 1 cup edamame (soybeans) =15g. 1 cup peanuts=35g, 1 cup white beans=17.4 g, 1 cup lentils= 17.9g, 1 cup pinto= 15.4g, 1 cup black beans= 15.2g, 1 cup chickpeas 14.5g. 1 cup kidney= 15.3g, 1 cup split peas= 16.3g, 1 cup firm tofu= 21g, 1 cup lima beans= 14.6g, 1 cup hummus= 19.8g.
4. Nuts and Nut Butters: Both nuts and nut butters contain considerable protein in them. Yes they are fatty, but the good kind of fat. What are nut butters? The same thing as peanut butter but using other nuts. Want to know what heaven tastes like? try almond butter! 1cup of almonds= 20g, 1 cup cashews= 6g, 1 cup hazelnuts= 20g, 1cup walnuts= 12g, and 1 cup of peanuts= a whopping 38g.
5. Tempeh: Tempeh is a cooked, slightly fermented tofu. It has a firm texture and wonderful seasoning to it. The double punch here is the importance of eating fermented foods in our diets as well as protein. 1 cup of tempeh has 31 grams of protein in it.
6. Sesame, Sunflower & Poppy Seeds: 1/4 cup of these amazing little seeds yield 6 grams of protein. Great as a snack on their own. They can also be sprinkled on all sorts of dishes from salads to deserts, to help you bump up your protein intake.
7. Seitan, the wheat meat: Seitan is made from cooked vital wheat gluten and is surprisingly similar to meat. 3 ox of seitan brings the protein in at 31 grams.
8. Cocoa powder: Used in allot of South American dishes and yes chocolate, 1 oz of pure cocoa yields 1.4 grams of protein.
9. Spirulina: cultivated algae- yup algae, sold as a powder or in pills, the powder is great in smoothies or sprinkled over salads. This superfood in its dried state is about 60% protein. It is also a complete protein, containing all essential amino acids.
Reducing or even eliminating animal based food sources has amazing benefits on the human body. Many people argue that we are omnivores and can eat both, but then again we can do allot of things we really shouldn’t. Without getting into the arguments of the research that has been done on vegan diets and the reduction of heart disease, cancer, and obesity by universities, lets focus on how much better you feel eating lighter and healthier. Plant based diets require much less energy to digest. Leaving you energized and refreshed.
Recipes to try:
About the author:
Todd Schwing is a certified health and wellness coach with an emphasis on positive thinking and natural, sustainable living.
To find out more please visit his website Nulife Coach