Are you following a vegan diet? If yes, then do you also find it difficult to get your macros in from sources other than animals?
Today, more and more people are cutting down on meat and animal products and shifting towards vegan diets. However, a common concern for most newly-turned vegans is that they may not get enough protein, minerals, and vitamins from their vegan diets alone.
To ensure you get sufficient amounts of proteins from your diet, while avoiding animal products and sources, you need to follow a well put together diet plan. Experts are of the opinion that a well-balanced vegan diet can be sufficient in terms of providing us with enough quantities of macro nutrients.
The key to meeting your protein requirements on a meat-free diet is to combine eating veggies with other whole grains, lentils and beans. Diversifying your dietary choices may help you stick to your diet longer.
Benefits of High-Protein food
Hard-core vegans might commit the mistake of overlooking the benefits of protein, and in their spirit to stay committed to a healthy vegan diet, they’ll gladly forego incorporating protein as a macro nutrient into their diets.
However, protein plays an important role in almost every function of the body, so when their levels are inadequate, the body’s normal functioning can be affected. For optimal performance, it is necessary that you provide your body with enough protein, ideally sourced from plant-based products.
Protein is that macro nutrient that helps us maintain muscle mass. Due to a variety of reasons that relate to age, anxiety, stress, or depression, people start losing muscle as they age. But the most common reason for atrophy—the process where the body loses muscle mass—is substance abuse. So, patients undergoing addiction treatment are recommended to take a lot more protein than normal to help recover their health.
Not all food is created equal, though, when it comes to protein content. But if you are strictly vegan, you might be hard-pressed to find any good plant-based protein, especially if you are someone that doesn’t have access to expert dieticians and nutritionists.
Here’s a list of protein sources you can consider adding to your diet.
With up to 9 grams of protein per 100 grams of serving, lentils are the most common source of protein for millions of people worldwide. Add it to fresh salads or soups, you cannot go wrong when combining lentils with some of your favorite recipes. The protein present in lentils not only provides nutritional value but also promotes a healthy gut.
In addition to protein, lentils contain some essential nutrients, like manganese, folate, iron, and other antioxidants. They are also effective in reducing your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Tired of eating only lentils and beans as part of your vegan diet? Try Seitan. It is made from gluten and is obtained when washing off starch from wheat. Seitan is a great source of plant-based protein, and is commonly referred to as wheat-meat by vegans for its meat-like texture.
Seitan can be grilled, pan-fried, and even sautéed; cook it any way you like. Each palm-sized serving of Seitan contains around 75g of protein, which fulfills the daily protein requirements for many people. Not only is it a great protein source, but Seitan also provides other nutrients, like selenium and trace amounts of calcium, iron, and phosphorous.
Beans are a fiber-rich food, and considered a staple of the vegan diet around the world. One serving (equivalent to half a cup) contains around 7-8 grams of protein. Since they are rich in fiber, they keep you feeling full for longer. You can add a variety of beans to your diet, including kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans, and pinto beans.
Enjoy chickpeas with a sprinkling of chopped onions, sliced tomatoes, and a dash of turmeric, or you could just add them on top of your salads. A diet containing beans and legumes can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, minimize belly fat, and manage blood sugar.
A kind of edible seed that is found in black, white, and red colors. Quinoa is cooked the same way as rice. Each cup of cooked quinoa (185 grams) provides 8 to 9 grams of protein. It is a complete source of protein as it contains all the vital amino acids. In addition to that, quinoa is also a good source of phosphorous, magnesium, iron, and manganese.
5– Protein-rich vegetables and fruits
All fruits and vegetables consist of protein content to some extent, however, some may contain it in higher quantities than others. High-protein vegetables include spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli, asparagus, corn, avocado, green peas, and cauliflower. Each cup provides about 4-5 grams of protein.
Fresh fruits usually contain a lesser content of protein than vegetables. Bananas, blackberries, mulberries, guava, cherimoyas, apricot, kiwi, jackfruit, and nectarines are some fruits with relatively higher protein content. A cup of fresh fruit can provide you with 2 to 4 grams of protein.
Tofu, also known as bean curd, is made from pressed soybeans, and is considered a complete source of plant-based protein. Although tofu can be tasteless, adding other ingredients to it can add flavor to your protein meal.
It can be cooked in several ways, such as stir-fried or baked, as well as cooked in soup if you want a creamier texture. A 100-grams of tofu contains about 8-grams of protein.
7- Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are extremely versatile: You can use them as a snack or add them to your salads and soups. No matter whichever nut or seed you pick, it will contain 5 to 7 grams of protein per ounce. Some of the best nuts and seeds you have to include into your vegan diet are almonds, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, ground linseed, Brazil nuts, and hemp seeds.
When you finally commit to a vegan diet, you will be hard-pressed to find any good sources of protein. As important as this macro nutrient is to our health, you have to consider the plant-based sources mentioned above to fulfil your daily requirements.