Protein is a very important part of our daily diet. One misconception among the meat-eaters out there is that it is difficult to get protein on a plant-based diet. Wrong! Actually, it is recommended to get most of your protein from plants, regardless of your meat preference. In fact, if you get too much protein, it is hard on your liver and kidneys because your body can’t handle more than it needs. It can’t store it for later. There are actually many sources of protein that don’t come from meat. All you have to do is find them, and include them in your daily diet. You just have to be conscious of what you need and make it available to yourself.
Here are some great sources of plant-based protein:
Ok…now soy is great. You can eat tempeh, tofu, edamame, etc. and get sufficient protein from it. But there are a couple things to keep in mind. 1-Make sure you are getting organic, non-GMO soy. Most of the soy consumption in America has been genetically modified. 2-Soy contains estrogen, which in large quantities can be harmful, especially to males. I actually like to find my protein from other sources, and keep our soy consumption to a minimum. But we will still use it occasionally. My husband especially likes dark chocolate covered edamame, which is easy to make at home and a fun and healthy snack.
Beans are awesome! Especially black beans, but any whole, organic beans will do the trick. They contain all the protein you need plus the benefits that most meats can give you, like iron and B vitamins, and you can substitute them for meat in many dishes. Beans are great for filling out salads, and are a main ingredient in most soups we make. You can even make bean burgers and grill or bake them like a regular burger. Seasoned correctly, they taste amazing!
There are a ton of sea vegetables out there and they are nutritionally complete and packed with more of what you need than land plants, which make them easy to include in your diet. You don’t need as much to get as much! Here’s a great website that describes many different kinds of different sea vegetables and their benefits.
Whole grains have a lot of nutritional value. They contain protein, and they also contain fiber, B-vitamins, and other great vitamins and minerals essential to your health. Try getting grains in their whole form to get maximum nutrition. We like to use whole oats in a lot of recipes. I’ve heard that quinoa is especially wonderful. So far I’ve used it as a side and in the black bean burgers I make. My son loves it.
The best source of protein in fruit is in goji berries. You can eat them raw or dried, but they are difficult to find fresh. You can also get goji berry juice, but make sure it is actually goji berry juice, no added sweeteners, and organic. Other fruit proteins include raisins, apricots, dates, currants, figs, and avacados. Yes avacados are technically a fruit. 😉
So there you go, and now you know. Your body’s need for protein is not really an excuse to not eat meat. I’m not knocking on those who choose to eat meat, and occasionally I will too. (I love love love sushi!) I encourage you to find more of your protein in plant-based sources regardless of your diet. Your body will thank you!