Top 5 Plant-Based Proteins.
“In terms of personal choices, let’s all think more carefully about where we get our protein from.” — Sylvia Earle
Protein is a critical block for building muscle mass and it regulates the body’s cells, tissues and organs. Pretty vital!
One of the biggest questions a vegan is asked is, “Where do you get your protein?” Even vegans can get a little stressed over thinking they’re not getting enough. In fact I wrote a short piece recently about why I believe this question is asked — The Protein Question
Sure, if you’re into bodybuilding or working out, then adding some protein powder to your smoothie is perfectly acceptable. But, honestly, you will get enough protein if you’re sensible about what you’re eating.
The human body, just like all animals, needs protein for several critical functions. So where do animals like the gorilla or the elephant get their protein? From plants. Studies have shown that too much protein can be harmful, specifically animal-based protein which is inflammatory. Compare that to plant-based proteins which can reduce inflammation and keep the body alkaline, and it’s a no-brainer which is the best.
So here are my top five protein sources.
1. Soy products.
Tofu, Edamame and Tempeh contain a rich source of protein. Tofu is easily put into any meal as it takes on the flavour you put with it. This makes it incredibly versatile. Tempeh is made with fermented soybeans and has the highest protein per serve of the three. It has a firmer almost meatier texture, and the flavour is kind of nutty. Again you marinate it to your taste, and it goes well in a stir-fry or even excellent in sandwiches. Edamame. These are the immature soybean and can be eaten alone. My preference is dry roasted and eaten as a snack or in salads.
Quinoa is the only grain that is a complete protein. It is similar to rice and can be served in place of. It’s great in soups, stews, even a replacement for certain pasta. Put it into tacos, serve as a side dish or mix it through your salad.
3. Beans and lentils.
These contain way more than the protein. They have fibre and key nutrients like iron and potassium and should be eaten each day. You can put them into soups, curries, salads, make dips or hummus and definitely in tacos or tortillas. Even simple beans on toast are brilliant.
4. Nuts and seeds.
Surprise, surprise. These all contain protein as well as the healthy fats that we need. A small handful can be a great pick-me-up. Don’t forget nut or seed butter which can be used almost anywhere from blended into oatmeal, spread on toast or made into a sauce/dressing.
You probably already know that chickpeas are a source of protein and these you can have in a variety of ways. Hummus is my go-to, but they’re also great roasted and tossed through salads and stir-fries. But did you know green peas also come into this category? Those simple green garden peas are also a good source of protein — now who would have thought that?
These are my top 5 go-to protein sources. Add any one or more of these each day to your meals and you have the protein nailed.