The meat of the problem
I think whether you’re vegetarian or vegan you probably get a bad rap from people. Not everyone, but some people: ‘Are you getting enough protein?’, ‘are you combining food to get the full protein spectrum’, ‘how do you stand not eating bacon?’ etc. Sure, being a vegetarian or following a plant based diet requires you to be aware of the amount of protein you are consuming, but so does being a meat eater. And of course there is the myth that following a plant based diet requires you to mix protein to get the complete branch chain amino acids that our body does not produce (there are 9 of them), also known as protein complementing. Check out the following links to read further about protein complementing and how it has been proven false. Eat enough plants to meet your caloric requirement and you will get the amino acids you need.
So what if you follow a plant based diet, or are interested in moving towards a plant based diet. What foods are there that can provide the protein that we need? Let me provide you with a list of foods rich in protein that will allow you to pack on muscle and strength:
- Hemp: Hemp hearts are a great source of protein, or you can also purchase hemp protein powder. 3 tablespoons contain 10 grams of protein and also contain omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids.
- Seitan: Holy high protein content! 21 grams per ½ cup! Seitan is a great source of protein and can be an alternative to tofu. You can bake, grill or even braise it.
- Kelp, nori, spirulina: Packing 8 to 32 grams of protein per cup and rich in calcium, iron , iodine and potassium.
- Avocado: 10 grams of protein in an awesome flavor packed green potato like treat. How can you not like avocados.
- Peas: 9 grams per cup. Eat two cups and you probably have met a quarter of your protein requirement for the day.
- Soy: 1 cup will get you 28 grams! Wow!
- Lentils: 1 cup will get 18 grams. Throw the lentils into a chili and add black beans or kidney beans and you have a high protein meal.
- Peanut butter: A staple for me. I probably eat about 4 tablespoons a day. Each tablespoon contains about 4 grams of protein.
- Almonds: The same. A tablespoon will have about 4 grams.
- Oatmeal: Believe it or not, 1 cup will have about 6 grams of protein.
It needs respect
Protein should not be overlooked. You need to be aware of how much you are consuming daily especially if you are active and looking to increase strength and muscle size. Of course consuming too much protein can be detrimental.
Don’t hesitate moving to a plant based diet if you are concerned if you will get enough protein. You will! Like any diet you need to be aware of what it is you are eating. That’s it. Know that there are a lot of options to get that protein. I have listed only 10 but there are so many more.
As of January 2015, I have been following a plant based diet for about 8 months and would not switch back to eating products from an animal. I use the term products because I think farming has lost sight of farming food and now farm products. The dollar is the driver of how animals are farmed, and how animals are treated. I feel better both physically and mentally. And I feel better knowing I have contributed to lessening the harm that goes to animals being farmed and also lessening the negative impact to the environment.
In the words of a fighter I’m a fan of, ‘don’t be scared homie’. Make the move to a plant based diet knowing that you will get the protein you need.
Do it. Make a change. Be the change for a better earth.
Yours in health,