The number one question I get asked as a plant eater is, “But where do you get your protein?” I know it’s been engrained in our brains that protein is SO important in our diet. But honestly, I think we live in a protein obsessed society. Rather than focusing on a well rounded whole foods diet, our eating habits are centered around added protein and lowered fat and carbs. Did you know that it’s nearly impossible to suffer from protein malnutrition in the United States? In developing countries, malnutrition is a serious problem, but Americans soar far above when it comes to protein intake. A wholesome diet does include protein, but who knew we could get all the necessary protein we needed from plants?? Shocking I know! 😉
How Much Protein Do I Actually Need?
Our daily protein intake should be about 50 grams, more or less, and animal based protein is certainly a quick way to achieve this amount. However, consuming animal protein comes with a few negative side effects including saturated fat, cholesterol and added antibiotics. Heart disease is a huge problem in the United States, and we have the meat industry to thank for a large part of it. Plant based protein, on the other hand, is really something special. It has the added benefits of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins!
Sources of Plant Based Protein
I’ve put together a quick list of plant foods that are great sources of protein. Remember, you don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to enjoy these delicious protein packed whole foods!
- Non-Dairy Milk
- Nut Butters
- Black Beans
- Chia Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
Why Should We Eat Plant Based Protein?
As I mentioned before, you don’t have to be vegan to prepare meals with these tasty sources of plant based protein. But you should!! Even just incorporating vegan protein sources into your diet once per week is a great and healthy choice. You could prepare a Meatless Monday meal every week to try out these different plant based whole foods. There are so many reasons why you should try out plant proteins but here are just a few reasons why. Plant based protein is:
- Good for Your Body – Plant based proteins are powerhouses of nutrition.
- Good for Your Wallet – Not always, but often, plant based meals are much more affordable than their meaty counterparts.
- Good for the Environment – The meat industry has lasting negative effects on the environment. The production of meat requires a lot of natural resources and energy and also causes a huge amount of pollution. Honestly, eliminating or reducing your meat intake makes a stronger impact than any sustainable habit you might invest in!
- Good for the Animals – Of course, this one is a no-brainer. Eating plants doesn’t harm animals, and that’s definitely a plus in my book! 🙂
I hope this post reassures you that you can have a healthy, protein packed diet while eating plants! I know the idea of switching to a plant based diet can be overwhelming. Take it one meal at a time and enjoy experimenting with new plant proteins. There are so many delicious vegan recipes out there. For some inspiration, head over to my Vegan Eats Pinterest board!
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