Posts by Lita Dwight:
Plant-based eaters are often asked: Where do you get your protein but an equally valid question for the high (animal) protein eaters should be: Where do you get your fiber?
Fiber is incredibly important for great health and is only found in plant foods. What is it? It’s an undigestible carbohydrate found in the cell walls of plants.
There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber reacts with water and turns into a gel during digestion. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, absorbs water and adds bulk to your stool. While soluble fiber tends to slow digestion, insoluble fiber tends to speed it up.
Why are they so important? Soluble fiber is food for the healthy bacteria (gut flora) in your gut that supports everything from healthy brain function to healthy immune system, and insoluble fiber helps add bulk to your stool, which keeps you eliminating regularly so don’t have toxic build up in your intestines.
Since fiber is a major component of plant cells, almost all fruits and vegetables are good source, and most of them contain both soluble and insoluble varieties. Whole grains and legumes are also fiber-rich and a great way to get your daily dose of fiber.
Try to get at least 25g fiber/day but when you increase fiber you should also increase your water intake to help move it along through your system.
6 Sources of Plant Protein
These sources of protein are not only great substitutes for animal protein, they are complete and offer infinitely more vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients that are lacking in animal protein.
- Legumes: Best and highest sources of protein from beans comes from lentils, adzuki, black and red kidney
- Nuts and nut butters: Almonds and Cashews are the least acidic of the nuts but walnuts, brazil nuts and pistachios are packed with valuable omega 3s
- Seeds: the most complete seed protein comes from hemp and sacha inchi Great sources of iron pumpkin and rounding out the top picks are sesame, sunflower and
- Grains: high protein grains and low acid grains including my favorite quinoa and amaranth
- High protein vegetables: spinach, brocolli and kale
- Soy: tofu, tempeh and miso
There are roughly 20 common amino acids that are the building blocks that make up protein and 8 or 9 of those are “essential” because the human body cannot make them. In other words, they must come from food.
About 40 years ago, a popular diet book was published that led to the erroneous believe that plant foods had to be combined in a certain way to make up for deficiencies of certain amino acids. Unfortunately, this led to the idea that animal proteins were “superior” because they were “complete”.
It turns out, though, plant proteins are complete proteins too. Some plant-based foods have all essential amino acids (quinoa, buckwheat, soy, chia and hempseed) while others have a mix of some and lower amounts or not others. But as long as foods like legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits and vegetables are consumed daily, you’re getting everything you need and then some.
And best of all, plant proteins don’t come with all the problems that are linked to animal protein: saturated fat, cholesterol, antibiotics, bacteria, parasites, growth hormones, pesticides and herbicides from animal feed, and carcinogens.
Plant protein also offers a host of benefits that animal protein can’t come close to rivaling. For example,
Using 100 grams of quinoa as an example, a serving provides 14 grams of protein along with 25 percent of the RDA for both iron and vitamin B6 and almost 50 percent of the RDA for magnesium. It also delivers 563 mg of potassium.
The same amount of beef comes has 26 grams of protein, and only 14 percent iron, 20 percent B6, a meager 5 percent magnesium and 318 mg of potassium. It also has double the fat at 15 grams with 90 mg of cholesterol, while quinoa has just 6 grams of fat and zero cholesterol.
Everyone is obsessed with getting enough protein these days.
It's no wonder. After all, protein comes from the Greek word, "proteios" meaning "of prime importance", so naturally we have been taught to value this macronutrient more highly than any other in our Western diet.
But how much protein do we really need?
The truth is we don't need very much. In fact, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) is only about 10% of calories. That's about .36 grams of protein for every pound that you weigh. So a 120lb adult woman should consume about 43 grams of protein each day. To be on the safe side, the higher range can be .45 grams of protein/lb or 49 grams of protein each day for that same adult female. And for an average adult male who weighs 165lbs, the range would be 59-68g.
Here is a sample menu to show you just how easy it is to get all of your daily protein requirements from plant foods based on RDA above.
GRAMS OF PROTEIN
1/3 cup oatmeal
1 cup soy milk
1/4 cup almonds
2 slices of sprouted whole wheat bread
1 cup black beans
1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup corn
The first question people ask me when they transition to a vegan or plant-based diet is where do you get your protein?
With Paleo movement leading the way, the protein craze has grown out of control. Everyone wants more protein! High protein power bars, high protein pasta, high protein yogurts, high protein energy drinks! Protein, protein and more protein.
And it’s not enough that we get the maximum amount of protein from just any source, it must come from the highest quality, most revered type of protein: from animals in the form of meat, dairy or eggs.
Plant protein? Seriously?? Do plants even have protein??? And if they do, don’t you have to eat 15 different types of plants simultaneously to achieve the “complete” complement of amino acids that comes naturally from meat, milk or eggs?
Enjoy my upcoming posts that answer these important questions: how much protein do we really need, do plants offer a complete source of protein to meet our daily needs and is it better to obtain our protein from plant sources or animal sources?
When you weigh all the evidence, you’ll see why it makes sense to go vegan!
If you are ready to transition from a standard American diet to a healthier plant-based diet and vegan lifestyle, then you have come the right place.
The first question people ask when they transition to a vegan diet is: where do I get my protein????