Plant Based Proteins
Eating plant based is rapidly growing in popularity all over the world, especially in the fitness industry. We are constantly seeing plant based athletes such as Venus Williams, Heather Mills and Rich Roll thriving and achieve amazing results while eating plant based.
So first of all, what does this diet involve?
A plant based diet is one that consists mainly of plant foods such as fruit, vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts and legumes. There is little or no animal products included. Veganism is indeed considered a plant based diet, in which no animal products are consumed. There are also many plant based individuals who are not vegan and use this style of diet to eat almost entirely vegan while still being able to include the odd bit of meat/fish/dairy here and there. A plant based diet promotes flexibility and is often a good transition for anyone wishing to become vegan.
“Where do you get your protein from?” – The question that I am sure every plant based individual is tired of hearing when asked about their diet.
The main reason that this question comes about is because unlike animal products which are complete proteins, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids, many forms of plant based proteins are incomplete. The myth that has surfaced from this information is that you cannot achieve your protein targets while eating a diet based predominantly on these incomplete proteins. Yes, it may involve slightly more planning, but by simply including a wide variety of protein sources, all of which contain slightly different amino acids, there is no reason that a plant based individual will be lacking in protein.
Sources of plant based protein
- Not all plant based proteins are incomplete, soy contains all the essential amino acids and is found in soy milk, tempeh and tofu.
- Quinoa is also a complete protein and is a fantastic addition to meals such as stir-fry, not only to increase the meal volume, but also to help hit your protein targets and feel fuller for longer.
- Chickpeas contain approximately 18 grams of protein per tin and are highly versatile. Add chickpeas to curry & stews, make hummus or even try out my recipe for chickpea cookie dough if your craving a protein packed dessert.
- Spirulina is a type of algae that is impressively high in protein and micronutrients. Simply mix 1-3g of spirulina powder with water and drink as quickly as possible (A taste somewhat like pond water). Some people prefer to buy capsules.
- Seitan is a form of mock meat made from wheat and contains approximately 25 grams of protein per 100g.
- A few other sources of plant based protein include nuts, seeds, edamame, lentils, beans, nutritional yeast, oats, nut butters, certain fruits and vegetables and there are also a wide range of plant based protein powders on the market.
Combining these protein sources together can be as simple as having a variety of bean with rice, adding vegetables and tofu to wholegrain pasta, spreading some nut butter on your morning slice of wholegrain bread or even just sprinkling some nuts and seeds over a salad with some hummus on the side.
Everyone is different, some people may benefit hugely from restricting the amount of animal products in their diet while others may struggle. At the end of the day it comes down to the individual, their beliefs and their health…not their protein intake.