How to get enough protein on a plant-based diet and why you need it.
According to Rick Hay* (Dip Nutrition, Dip Botanical Medicine, Dip Teaching), a well-planned plant-based diet can provide us with sufficient nutrients and here he shares his tips on how to get enough protein.
More and more consumers are starting to implement a variety of plant-based options into their diets, some opting to ditch meat and dairy products completely. The question we keep hearing a lot is: “Where do vegans get their protein from?”
A common misconception about plant-based diets is that they lack sufficient protein.
However, a well-planned vegan diet can provide us with all the nutrients we need.
The fact is, certain plant foods contain significantly more protein than others. Soybeans, for example, are considered a whole source of protein, which means that they provide the body with all the essential amino acids needed, so tempeh and tofu are a great meat-alternative.
Another great source of plant-based protein is hemp seeds. They contain 10 grams of complete protein per 28 grams. And don’t forget legumes, not only are they a good source of protein, but also supply us with dietary fibre, essential for digestive health.
The recommended daily amount of protein for an average male is 56 grams per day, for an average adult female 46 grams per day are suggested. In any case, keep in mind that the right amount of protein for any one individual, male or female, depends on lifestyle factors, age, physique/fitness goals etc.
Proteins are the main building blocks of our body. It is needed to make organs, muscles, and skin. It also plays a part in the creation of enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters that serve multiple important functions. Without sufficient protein, your immune system may also suffer. Proteins are made up of amino acids. It is essential for the growth and repair of the body, helping us to maintain good health, and keeping us feeling healthy, strong, and fuller for longer.
Organic tofu, tempeh, legumes (beans, lentils, cashews), quinoa, spirulina, chia seeds, hemp seeds, linseeds, pumpkin seeds and nuts (almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts etc) are all great sources of protein and can be implemented into our diet easily. Plant-based protein powders, such as Rejuvin8tion which consists of adaptogenic herbs and medicinal mushrooms, can be added to smoothies to increase daily intake – they make an easy yet healthy breakfast alternative when made with plant-based milk and some fruit like frozen berries.
They are a good option if daily intake is lower than normal or if you are looking to lose a few kilos. Even a small increase in plant-based intake can have benefits to cardiovascular and digestive health.
A sample day
Breakfast: Porridge with hemp seed sprinkles or Plant-based protein powder smoothie.
Snack: A handful of almonds and some blueberries
Lunch: A salad with tofu
Snack: Rice cracker with cashew butter and raspberries
Dinner: Rice & Black Bean Casserole
*Rick Hay (Dip Nutrition, Dip Botanical Medicine, Dip Teaching) is an expert in anti-ageing and fitness nutrition with many years of clinical experience in nutrition, naturopathy, botanical medicine and iridology.