The Midwest Is Meat Country
The Midwest is commonly referred to as a meat and potatoes type of place. It is very normal to grow up here and have every meal centered on what chunk of animal protein is on the plate. However, as the environmental and health impact of eating meat at every meal has come into question, more and more people are trying to begin a plant-based diet, and reduce the amount of meat being eaten on a weekly basis. All in all, this is a good thing. Generally speaking, incorporating more plants into your diet is only going to yield positive results. Things like the 800 gram challenge are a great way to begin on this journey. However, it does leave a big question – if you reduce meat intake, how do you eat enough protein? Especially if you care about the quality of your workouts, this question matters to you a lot.
Rule : Explore Plant Protein
If the rennet dance sounds a little complicated, which is understandable, consider exploring other vegetarian protein sources. Luckily, there are plenty to choose from, most of which line up nicely against their animalistic competitors. Some of the most popular sources include:
- Egg protein, egg white protein, and liquid egg whites. All three offer a protein punch similar to whey protein, but are far simpler and more predictable when it comes to ingredients.
- Soy protein. Perhaps the most prominent vegetarian alternative to whey, soy proteins are similarly protein-packed but are incredibly low in fat and cholesterol. Soy generally offers more flavor options than other vegetarian proteins, but read your labels carefully, because some soy proteins contain milk and/or fish products.
- Pea protein. The lowly pea is riding high these days due to the “Dr. Oz Effect,” but the TV doc was only stating what savvy vegetarians already knew. Pea protein is high in protein, easy to digest, cholesterol-free, and has a solid branched-chain amino acid profile.
- Hemp protein. Hemp seeds are packed with Omega-3s and high in magnesium and iron, to say nothing of their solid protein content. Plus, a serving also contains almost half your daily dose of fiberâremember that stuff?
Top 16 Sources Of Plant Based Protein
Plant based Protein food is healthy and easily accessible. Vegans and vegetarians have a wide variety of vegan protein sources to choose from. What are the best vegan protein foods? What are the Top 16 Sources Of Plant Based Protein?
The first foods you might think of include vegetables, beans, and nuts. But dont you have to eat like a huge amount of those things to get enough? No you do not, just implement the proper plant based protein diet foods and you will receive all the nutrients you need!
Pumpkin seeds have 5 grams of protein in 1 oz Hemp seeds have 10.78 grams of protein In 1 oz. Almonds have 6 grams of protein in 1 oz. Pistachios have 6 grams of protein in 1 oz. Flaxseeds have 5.19 grams of protein in 1 oz. Tofu has 10 grams of protein In 1/2 cup. Oatmeal has 8 grams of protein in 1 cup cooked. Lentils have 8 grams of protein in One half cup of cooked. Chia seeds have 4.7 grams protein in 1 oz. Spirulina has 4 grams of protein in 1 tablespoon. Nutritional Yeast has 3.8 grams of protein in 1 tbsp. Soybeans have 11 grams of protein in 1/2 cup. Peas have 8 grams of protein in 1 cup. Kale has 2.9 grams of protein in 1 cup . Broccoli has 2.6 grams of protein in 1 cup chopped. Brussel Sprouts have 3 grams of protein in 1 cup chopped
Tofu is another 1 of the Top 16 Sources Of Plant Based Protein
Lentils are a healthy vegan protein food
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Healthy High Protein Vegetarian Recipes To Eat Enough Protein
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This article is part of the Meal-Prep series. to learn more.
Theres a common misconception that you need to eat meat and other animal products to reach your protein requirements. As its widely believed, meat is considered a major source of protein, but there are also many plant foods that are excellent sources of protein. In fact, you should know that if you choose not to consume meat, you can still get enough protein by eating plant foods. All it requires is a small bit of thought and planning. In fact, with the help of some high protein vegetarian recipes, you can easily get all the protein you need without eating meat.
Can You Build Muscle Without Meat
Theres this belief that to build muscle you have to eat meat, and to build lots of muscle, you have to eat lots of meat.
Theres no way you can be a pro bodybuilder without meat. Ive never heard of anyone who doesnt eat protein, says Dexter The Blade Jackson, who last year won the premier international bodybuilding championship, Mr. Olympia.
Jackson routinely bookends a day of steak and chicken eating with 10 egg whites. Meat is such an obvious delivery device for protein that bodybuilders often use the two words interchangeably.
But can someone become a bodybuilder without going this route? Is it a myth that if you dont eat meat that its impossible to build muscle?
I cant think of any reason why muscle cant be built on a vegan diet, says nutrition professor , the author of What to Eat. Going vegan, she explains, should have no effect on the performance of normal athletes, provided they eat a balanced diet.
Kenneth Williams is a prime example of the fact that not eating meat and building muscle are not mutually exclusive. Hes a professional body builder who five years ago made the switch from a full-blown meat eater to a vegan.
Now 41 years old, hes currently 6 feet and 190 pounds. He took the last four years off from body building, but is now back in full training mode and hopes to gain another 25 pounds. And hes doing it all on a diet of fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes, and lots of soy protein.
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I Always Start My Day With A Protein
Until I had a protein goal, breakfast was a pretty low-protein meal for me. I used to eat oatmeal with fruit or some on-the-go bar , but I soon realized that breakfast is one of the easier meals to pack protein into, regardless of your dietary preferences.
If you’re a vegan, and not soy-sensitive, an organic tofu scramble with veggies is a solid option. If you are soy-sensitive, pea protein smoothies are the perfect go-to. As a currently ovo-vegetarian, I love making scrambled eggs and adding extra egg whites to up the protein count . If you’re a pescatarian, you can add some smoked salmon to your eggs for another 11 grams. Regardless of my dietary preferences, I always fill out my plate with sauteed vegetables, like mushrooms, spinach, onion, and sweet potatothese add negligible protein, but they’re nutrient-dense and oh so delicious.
Chickpeas And Most Varieties Of Beans
Kidney, black, pinto and most other varieties of beans contain high amounts of protein per serving.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are another legume with a high protein content.
Both beans and chickpeas contain about 15 grams of protein per cooked cup . They are also excellent sources of complex carbs, fiber, iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium, manganese and several beneficial plant compounds .
Moreover, several studies show that a diet rich in beans and other legumes can decrease cholesterol, help control blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and even reduce belly fat .
Add beans to your diet by making a tasty bowl of homemade chili, or enjoy extra health benefits by sprinkling a dash of turmeric on roasted chickpeas .
Beans are health-promoting, protein-packed legumes that contain a variety of vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds.
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Example: How To Calculate Vegan Protein Needs
Lets take a typical No Meat Athlete reader and see what this means for her, lets a say a 140-pound runner. Well split the daily protein range for endurance athletes in the middle and aim for .59 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight:
140 pounds * .59 grams/pound = 83 grams of protein per day
Keep in mind thats for a 140-pound endurance athlete, so youll need to plug in your own weight and, if you do a strength sport, use a different protein figure.
But really, only 83 grams?
All of this protein fuss the incessant inquisition about where we get protein is about 83 grams per day, even after adjusting for being an athlete?
Eat A Variety Of Veggies
Source: Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad
Vegetables all contain protein, even if in small amounts. The more you eat of them per meal, the more you can add protein to your diet easily. Mushrooms have 3 grams per 1/2 cup, sweet potatoes have 4 grams per potato, broccoli has 4 grams per cup, and green beans contain 4 grams per 1/2 cup just as examples. Including a variety of veggies at each meal wont only boost your protein content, but they also help satiate the body, energize the body, and complement other sources of protein like grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.
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Eat 2 Cups Of Spinach
This option alone will give you 10 grams of protein. While greens are not a complete source of protein, spinach is a unique source. Its filled with muscle-boosting and satiating properties including iron, B vitamins, chlorophyll, magnesium, fiber, and it is very filling. You can enjoy it in any entree, a smoothie, make a salad or use it in place of other greens however you like.
How To Get Enough Protein When You Dont Feel Like Eating Meat
A nutritionist at the Mayo Clinic shares the best alternative sources of protein.
Protein has been a superstar nutrient since the boom-days of the super high protein diet. People would sit down to giant plates of meat, and somehow, magically, it seemed, lose weight. Protein and fat are largely at the core of what makes these diets work yet, finding alternative protein sources can seem tricky.
When we think about protein, most people generally think of anything coming from an animal base, whether it be, meat or fish or dairy products, says Katherine Zeratsky, a registered dietician and nutritionist at the Mayo Clinic. There are, however, other alternatives that also offer complete protein.
Whether youre just looking to get more veggies in your diet, or investigating going completely vegan or vegetarian, there are plenty of non-meat options out there that can help you meet your protein needs. Heres how to get enough protein in your diet from alternative sources.
The buzz about protein
Protein forms an essential building block for our bodies. Most commonly, we think of it in association with muscle building and losing weight, thanks in large part to the popularity of diets like the Atkins Diet, Ketogenic diet, and Paleo diet. Yet, as Zeterasky points out, protein has many other functions.
How to calculate how much protein you need daily
Zeratsky recommends a more customized approach to determining just how much protein you need daily.
Alternative sources of protein
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Health Benefits Of Vegetarian Protein
A proper vegetarian diet offers numerous health benefits. Diets with animal protein tend to contain higher levels of fat, calories, and sodium. Following a vegetarian diet lowers your risk of health problems such as obesity, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
But vegetarianism doesnt mean healthy unless you take the right steps. A diet full of soda and candy is vegetarian but not healthy. A healthy vegetarian diet requires thoughtful planning and a well-rounded intake of nutrients.
If youre wondering how to add more protein to your vegetarian diet, talk to your doctor or a nutritionist.
How To Get Enough Protein Without Eating Meat
These days many people are going vegetarian for health or moral reasons. The common predicament discovered in this process is how to get enough protein on a plant-based diet. With the following tips, you can be sure to meet your protein requirements without the need for animal products.
To meet your bodys protein needs, you will have to strategize a nutrition plan to ensure that you get all the essential nutrients.
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Not Sure Which Foods To Eat For Extra Nutrients Download Our Free Nutritional Cheat Sheet On Foods High In Vitamins And Minerals
Remember, plant based protein supplements can be used to supplement healthy eating. With that being said, they can be particularly beneficial when you are extra busy, traveling, have medical conditions or if you have higher protein demands like some athletes. Here is some more information on the different protein supplements and when they can be most beneficial.
What The Experts Say About Plant
Before we move onto good vegan and vegetarian protein sources for getting this amount, lets take a look at what some well-known and credentialed vegans say about protein.
- In the documentary Forks Over Knives, China Study author Dr. T. Colin Campbell says that you need 8 to 10 percent of your calories to come from protein.
- Vegan Ironman Brendan Brazier, in his appearance on No Meat Athlete radio, says he eats about 15 percent protein when training for short events, and close to 20 percent protein during periods of heavy training for long endurance events.
- Tim Ferriss writes in The 4-Hour Body that ultrarunner Scott Jurek gets 15 to 20 percent of his calories from protein.
- Matt Ruscigno, in the post he wrote for No Meat Athlete about protein for vegetarians, says he recommends that his athlete clients get 10 to 15 percent of their calories from protein.
Notice that everybody expresses things in percentage protein instead of grams, in order to more easily account for different body masses.
How does our 83 grams of protein, for a 140-pound female endurance athlete stack up in terms of percentage of total calories?
Well, the first thing to note is that a gram of protein contains four calories. So:
83 grams * 4 calories/gram = 332 calories of protein
322 calories of protein / 2375 total calories = 13.6% of calories from protein
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Ways To Get The Protein You Need
Proteins are nitrogenous organic compounds, consisting of long chains of amino acids made up of large molecules. These compounds are essential to the functioning of every living organism, both large and small.
Here are just a few important benefits of protein:
Protein comprises the majority of molecular elements that make up our hair and nails. Protein is used to aid the body in repairing and building tissues. Protein is a foundational element of enzymes, hormones, and other chemicals within the body. Protein is the building block of blood, bones, cartilage, muscles and skin.
Similar to carbohydrates and fat, protein is classified as a macronutrient simply meaning that our bodies require significant amounts of it to function normally. Unlike carbohydrates and fats, the body does not have a backup supply when body levels of the nutrient are depleted. Therefore, we must be proactive in ensuring our body gets enough of it.
Meats contain among the highest amounts of protein, and are heavily consumed by individuals on a frequent basis. However, many people for a number of reasons do not eat meat. Therefore, it is necessary for these folks to find alternative means of consuming this important macronutrient. Fortunately, there are a multitude of ways to consume protein without eating meat.
How Do Vegetarians Get Enough Protein
Vegetarians may be at risk of having a protein deficiency, so its important to incorporate more plant-based protein into your diet.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture , most adult women should eat about 5 ounces of protein a day, while most adult men should eat between 5.5 and 6 ounces. One egg, one tablespoon of peanut butter, or half an ounce of nuts or seeds is equal to one ounce of protein. Meeting these goals can be done easily by adding plant-based proteins to every meal.
The USDA recommends building your meals around proteins such as beans, lentils, and rice. Think about which of these foods you like and how you can incorporate them throughout your day. Here are some examples of plant-based protein sources for you to try:
After choosing your favorite protein sources from the list above, start looking for recipes to try for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Be adventurous and add new items to your grocery list. Its a lot of fun to research recipes before heading to the supermarket.
For more information on maintaining a healthy diet, consult a registered dietitian at UPMC.
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The Basics: Protein 101
Protein is a vital macronutrient. It is responsible for the repair and building of tissues such as muscle, ligaments, organs, skin, hair, and nails. It is also required for many cellular processes, building hormones, and neurotransmitters. Proteins are actually large molecules composed of smaller parts called amino acids.
Amino acids are the building blocks of muscles and serve as catalysts for almost every chemical process in the body. In total there are 20 amino acids. Nine of these are considered essential amino acids . In contrast to the other types of amino acids, EAAs are essential because the body cant produce them on its own and can only get them from the diet. Most healthy humans can make the other amino acids they need.
When referring to getting enough protein, one must consider two things: the amount of protein and the right amount of all of the EAAs.