Something funny happens after you start living a vegan lifestyle. Suddenly, it seems that everyone around you becomes a nutritionist. People who have never uttered the word “protein” magically become experts and demand to know where you are getting yours.
Maybe it should come as no surprise that people can be so hung up on protein. After all, the word itself stems from the Greek word “proteios,” which translates to “of prime importance.” Protein is composed of amino acids and is one of three macronutrients – along with fats and carbohydrates – that are crucial to our body’s functioning.
From a young age, we are taught that protein comes from meat and that a meal devoid of animal flesh will have a disastrous effect on our health. What we need to understand is that this tale of meat and protein stems from great marketing schemes by big agriculture—the meat and dairy industries themselves.
So, where DO vegans get their protein? The truth is that protein is available in everything that is alive, and ALL plants are alive. Protein is an essential structure for a living organism to thrive, whether an animal, a human, or a plant. It is important to point out that the animals people commonly eat to get their protein are ALL herbivores, meaning all of these animals (cows, chickens, turkeys, pigs) get their protein from plants. Even the strongest animals in the word, like gorillas and elephants, are herbivores. It is time we cut out the middle-man (the animals) and go directly to the source (plants!).
Just take a look around at all the healthy and thriving vegans in the world. We’re everywhere, and vegan athletes are dominating their sports (Serena and Venus Williams, Novak Djokovic, NBA stars Kyrie Irving and Wilson Chandler, MLB pitcher C.C. Sabathia, and so many more). These athletes are far from weak, nutrient-lacking, and struggling to maintain their protein levels.
Here is an easy (and delicious) list of protein packed foods that we love:
Top 10 High-Protein Vegan Foods
1. Tempeh, 1/2 package= 22 grams
2. Tofu, 1 cup cooked=20 grams
3. Lentils, 1 cup cooked=18 grams
4. Pumpkin seeds, 1/2 cup raw=17 grams
5. Almonds, 1/2 cup raw=16 grams
6. Split peas, 1 cup cooked=16 grams
7. Garbanzo beans (Chickpeas), 1 cup cooked= 15 grams (almost all beans have 14-16 grams per cup)
8. Hemp seeds, 1/4 cup raw=10 grams
9. Quinoa, 1 cup cooked=9 grams
10. Millet, 1 cup cooked=8 grams
Here’s a tip: Lentils may be the world’s most perfect food. They are high in protein, fiber and iron, and with no fat content, lentils are the only food on the planet with a zero insulin spike. Lentils will keep you full and satiated for hours on end. Add them to salads, pasta dishes, tacos, soups, Buddha bowls and more! And don’t forget to eat your broccoli; it has about twice as much protein per calorie as steak.
As long as you are eating a balanced diet, you will get more than enough protein – plus you will benefit from the immense advantages of a plant-based diet. There are a host of disease and health complications associated with animal protein, including high cholesterol and blood pressure, and increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Not only are these risks significantly lowered on a plant-based diet, but plant protein is also packed with fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that are healing and soothing to our bodies.
Transitioning to a plant-based diet does not have to be an overwhelming experience, and Compassion Champs is here to answer your questions. Sign up for our Mentorship Program and be matched with mentor who will help you navigate every obstacle and overcome any hurdle. We are here for you! Click here to find more information about the Mentorship Program.
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