Where Do You Get Your Protein?
I don’t know about you, but this is a question I get asked all the time.
Funny thing is, I never even thought about it before I went vegan.
I am so much more aware of how much protein I eat these days, not because I am worried about getting enough, but because I'm just more aware of what I am eating. Previously I had no idea how much protein I was eating because it never crossed my mind.
Thing is, we are all different, all unique, with different needs, so there is no one size fits all recommendation thats suits everybody. It is about experimenting and seeing what makes you feel your best! And your needs will change throughout your life, but I am not going to get into that now.
I would like you to take a moment and consider the quality of your protein. Are there other benefits you are getting other than just tick that macronutrient box for hitting your protein?
What about micronutrients?
Vitamins and minerals?
The cost of your protein?
Below I am going to share with you some fantastic sources of plant-based protein we can all include on our plates!
By the way, studies show that we can only assimilate 20g of protein at a time… the rest just adds strain to our kidneys and we pee out the surplus. (This is also why I am very cautious of protein powders)
1 cup = 18 grams
I love lentils firstly because they are usually really quick to cook (especially the red ones) about 15-20 minutes. Secondly they are in one of my fave dinners - sweet lentil dahl. Mmmm!! And third... they are cheap! Winning!!
As well as giving you a fantastic dose of protein (20 out of 22 of the essential amino acids), they provide a tremendous amount of fibre, are low GI, super high in iron, and are a great source of folate, which aids your body make and maintain the cells in your body.
1 cup = 9 grams
This is one super seed as it is a complete protein - containing all the essential amino acids that our bodies can't produce on their own.
It is also provides a good source of nutrients like manganese, magnesium, zinc and iron.
I am loving experimenting with quinoa at the moment. I’ve been trying out quinoa porridge as an alternative to oat porridge in the morning. My favourite flavour combo is with apricot, almond, and coconut. I think this works really well and could even be used as a desert in my opinion!
1 cup = 13 ~15 grams
Black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, black-eyed beans, adzuki beans, kidney beans…. All fantastic sources of protein!
Hummus is my #1 way to eat beans. Made with chickpeas, it's a classic, and I can always eat hummus if it is put in front of me. With pitta or veg sticks and my slightly unusual favourite.... hummus with baked beans!
I have also experimented with making different types of hummus and bean dips including my Smokin’ Black Bean Pâté
1 cup = 5 grams
I had to include this one, being nicknamed florrette girl by my friends!
Broccoli is a brilliant green source of protein. Whilst giving you 5g protein per cup, you get a host of other micronutrients including vitamin C, K, E, folate, and B vitamins, as well as a boost of fiber. All these promote eye health, bone health and gut health. Additionally they contain high levels of compounds such as sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol which are being linked with cancer-protective benefits.
My favourite way to eat broccoli is a) plenty of it, b) topped with avocado and chopped coriander!!
3 tbsp tahini = 8 grams
Sesame seeds (and ground sesame seeds, known as tahini) give you an abundance of minerals including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc. They are also high in omega-6.
Really easy way to eat more is to use tahini as a base for creamy salad dressings and dips. Why not try a variation of my Creamy Citrus Dressing recipe?
3 tbsp / 30g = 5 grams
As well as the protein, and healthy omega-3 fats chia gives you a good mineral boost too, including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc.
I’ve really got into making and eating(!) my Chia Jam recently. I like it with porridge, pancakes and even stirred into one of my famous smoothie bowls!
Ok, so there you have it, just a small selection of excellent proteins to include in your diet day-to-day.
These all provide great sources of quality plant-based protein, with the benefit of also being combined with vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients.
How much do protein do you think you eat? Can you incorporate a few more of the protein powerhouses above?