Proteins not Just for Meat Eaters
A shift away from animal-based products means a shift away from some common sources of protein. This can be a problem because a lack of protein means a lack of an essential macromolecule that our bodies need. Protein repairs things like our tissues, muscles, and bones. Here’s how vegans can stay healthy and maintain great muscles while skipping out on meat.
Unleash the Inner Squirrel
Nuts and Seeds offer multiple healthy components like fibre, fatty acids, and minerals.
Walnuts are a great first option. 3 Walnuts contain around 3 grams of protein! Some other nuts are almonds, cashews, pistachios, and brazil nuts. Brazil nuts are at the top having 4 grams for every 6 nuts. Pistachios are at the bottom having 1 gram per 10 nuts.
Seeds can be as good of a source of protein as nuts. An ounce of flaxseeds has 5.2 grams of protein. Seeds like chia, hemp, sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower will allow for a great variety. Hemp seeds are in first place at 1 ounce containing 8 grams of protein. Nuts and seeds are heart healthy and rich in fibre, so they are a perfect choice for vegan. Just watch out for overeating, as calories will quickly stack up!
We should also keep a large number of vegetables in our diet. That’s why turning to the right ones can be a huge help in maintaining healthy protein levels. Leafy greens like kale, spinach, peas, and broccoli are superfoods in this aspect. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which will keep you feeling energised all day. Some vegetables even contain more protein per calorie than common meats like steak. Corn, Brussel sprouts, and artichokes are some other alternatives to try out. Even top companies are now producing vegan protein powders that can assist in development.
A Rainbow of Options
Fruit is not often seen as a high in protein food option, but this does not mean they should be ignored. Pomegranates, guava, passion fruits, and bananas are likely the most colourful protein ranges vegans will find. Or anyone in that matter. These fruits are great for making smoothies too. One whole banana is equal to 11 grams of protein. These fruits also contain high amounts of vitamin c and other nutrients. Dry fruits are even better for protein seekers. Raisins, dates, dried cherries, dried apricots, and prunes are some classics. They are packed with fibre, iron, and potassium to go alongside protein. 100 grams of raisins contain 3.1 grams of protein. Trail mix is beginning to look like a great option to pick up.
Beans are likely your best bet for protein. Beans are low fat and cholesterol free. While most beans are high in protein, there are a few that will give you an extra boost. Soy, black, pinto beans are some of the highest. 1 cup of black beans has 15 grams of protein. Soybeans contain all the essential amino acids our bodies need making it a complete protein. Kidney, lima, and navy beans are some other great ones. Tofu predominantly comes from beans, so they are a great alternative as well.
Whole grains help you build lean muscles and apparently repair them with all the protein in them. Amaranth, buckwheat, kummel, and quinoa are psuedograins that are heart healthy. Most of these are gluten free too. Potatoes may be just seen as a starchy plant, but they have 4.3 grams of protein in every potato.
Vegans have a wide variety of proteins that are often overlooked. It is definitely possible to get plenty of protein while staying away from animals. Lots of these protein options don’t contain the unhealthy fats that some thick meats contain. Health is an excellent reason for going vegan.