Plant Based Proteins
May 1, 2014
May 1, 2014
As I mentioned in my Plant Strong blog post, I will be discussing sources of plant based proteins here. Disclaimer: I am not a registered dietitian or nutritionist. I merely took a couple nutrition classes in college, was raised by a family of health nuts and am a self proclaimed (health) foodie. When really diving deep into the plant life, please consult with your doctor. Especially if you are pregnant or nursing.
The most common question all plant eaters get is “But, where do you get your protein from?” Well, I’m here to shed some light on that answer. As you know, YAX is Plant Strong. This does not mean we are vegans or vegetarians. We do not like being confined! It simply means we base our diets heavily on plants. Plants include whole foods such as fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, grains, etc. Basically, anything that comes from this earth in it’s purest form. This is not to say we don’t eat animal products or sugar, we just seriously limit those items. I’m hoping this post will give you something to take home and incorporate into your lifestyle. We believe in learning and gaining as much information as possible to add positivity to our healthy lifestyles.
I’ll start by breaking down the most common plant based lifestyles. Although, these diets have many similarities, there are important and slight differentiations.
lacto-ovo vegetarianism = eggs + dairy products
lacto-vegetarianism = dairy products – no eggs
ovo-vegetarianism = egg products – no dairy
pesca-vegetarianism = fish – no other animal flesh (may include dairy/eggs)
vegan = obtains from all animal flesh foods and products including animal based products, i.e. honey, dairy, eggs, fish. This can also be extended into lifestyle such as avoiding leather, shoes, or other materials made from animals.
Now let’s get to the meat of this post.
Myth: Vegans and Vegetarians don’t consume enough protein.
Fact: Unless you are an Olympic athlete, your body does not need as much protein as society says it does. Plants contain more than enough protein for your body to not only survive, but thrive. When selected properly, plants provide enough protein for you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Don’t get me wrong here. Consuming adequate amounts of protein is extremely important to your health. Protein is the building block of our cells, muscles, tissues, and so much more. To read more about Plant Based diets, read the position paper written by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
So, how much protein ARE you supposed to be consuming?
The answer to this question depends greatly on the individual. Generally speaking, 0.8g of protein/kg of your bodyweight is RDA/guideline recommended by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Some may argue that you should consume more if you are plant based because plant proteins are not complete proteins.
A complete protein (or whole protein) is a source of protein that contains an adequate proportion of all nine essential amino acids necessary for the dietary needs of humans or other animals.
This just means that plant proteins are digested differently than animal proteins.
So, let’s break it down. If a woman weighed 140 lbs. she would need 51g of protein daily. 140 lbs is = ~64 kgs. 64kg x 0.8g = 51g of protein/day. Make sense? Of course, if you are training for an athletic event such as the Olympics you will need MUCH more protein. With that being said, you will be ingesting and burning more calories so this task is easier to accomplish.
Let’s take a quick look at some plant based competitors.
So, where do you get appropriate amounts of plant proteins? Yay! We finally made it! There is a plethora of plant based proteins just waiting to be eaten!
Starchy proteins (protein + carbohydrate)
Beans: chickpeas, navy beans, black beans, pinto, black eyed peas, etc.
Whole grain products
pasta (brown rice, quinoa, millet, etc.)
Fatty proteins (protein + healthy fats)
Nuts: almonds, walnuts, pistachio, cashew, pecan, brazil, etc.
Nut Milks: almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, cashew milk
Seeds: hemp seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.
Organic tempeh (also contain healthy fats/carbohydrates)
Nutritional yeast (contains little carbohydrate)
Quality protein powder supplements: brown rice, pea, sprouted rice, hemp protein. My favorite is RAW PROTEIN
Also note, many vegetables, carbohydrates, and some fruits naturally contain trace amounts of protein as well (2-5g per serving depending on the vegetable)- these shouldn’t be “reliable” sources of protein unless you’re eating incredibly large amounts of these, which I also wouldn’t recommend due to the extremely high fiber content overtime.
I hope this post is helpful in offering alternate protein sources. If you’re interested in a meal plan or some personal attention, just give us shout. We’d love to guide you on your path to plant based nutrition!