Without fail this is pretty much the guaranteed response I get after having told someone that I have switched to a plant based diet. “What are you going to do without meat though”? and “Where will you get your protein from”? At this point I just respond with a knowing smile as I explain that believe it or not, protein isn’t just found in meat. I know some vegans/vegetarians that get frustrated with this typical reply but for me not so much. I believe it’s simply a fact of miseducation. Of course we are going to believe that meat is the best source of protein and that milk is the only way we can build strong bones as the government subsidises both of these industries. What saddens me is that this is not actually the truth in the matter but guess what, and I hate saying it, money overrides the health of our nation. The whole time we remain sick the Pharmaceutical industry continues to boom. God forbid we are taught that we are able to heal our bodies of our ailments with plant based foods! Anyway I’m getting sidetracked, that’s a whole other blog in waiting. Anyway, back to protein.
Ok so below is a list of some amazing plant based foods. Check them out:
- Gluten free whole grains such as quinoa, wild rice, amaranth, millet and steel cut oats
- Spinach, kale, peas, asparagus, artichoke, sprouts, swish chard, watercress, mushrooms and sprouts
- Sweet potato and white potatoes
- Chia seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds
- Lentils, black beans, white beans, pinto beans, cooked lima beans, chickpeas and kidney beans
- Tahini and hummus
Nuts such as peanuts, almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, cashews and nut butters
What a yummy list huh? And guess what all these foods have in common – PROTEIN! Yes believe it or not all these delicious foods are incredible sources of plant based protein and what’s even better is that they are clean sources of protein (I’ll come back to this in a minute). But for now can you see how you don’t even have to try and think “I must make sure I eat enough protein today” because it would be very difficult to become protein deficient on a balanced plant based diet.
And now here is an example of what I typically eat in a day:
- Breakfast consists of normally a green smoothie made with spinach, an apple, chia seeds, some kale and a banana or maybe some gluten free porridge made with almond milk, cinnamon, an apple and chia seeds.
- My morning snack tends to be another apple with some almond butter , a handful of nuts or some sort of fruit.
- Lunch consists of a large salad normally containing spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, some form of beans, a whole grain like quinoa, an avocado and a sprinkling of seeds.
- In the afternoon I maybe have a beetroot juice, green juice or some homemade date and nut energy balls
- And for dinner I like to eat a variety of plant based curries or a chilli normally packed with lentils and beans and always served with a whole grain of some sort.
As you can see throughout my day I am eating plant based sources of protein in every single meal, even including my snacks and the best bit is… I’m not even trying! It’s so incredibly easy to make sure you get enough protein. Now not only will you be getting enough protein, but by swapping your fry up for breakfast, that ham and cheese baguette at lunch and the chicken pasta bake for dinner you will be feeding your body a huge array of phytonutrients, minerals and vitamins that help your body to fight disease and keep you healthy instead of eating empty calories. How great is that!
Now what do I mean by clean protein? So when you eat meat chances are it will contain one or more of the following: hormones, bacteria, antibiotics, chemicals, diseases and heavy metals to name just a few. Worrying I know! I had no idea either and it’s also full of saturated fats which we know are the bad guys. So clean protein means you are simply getting protein without all the yucky stuff that goes in meat. I recently read a fantastic book called “The Kind Diet” by Alicia Silverstone, it promotes a plant based diet not only health and weight loss reasons but for the survival of our planet and for the welfare of our animals. In it she gives an amazing example of the nutritional content of meat verses that in beans that I just have to share with you. The differences are as follows:
- Steak raises cholesterol and beans lower cholesterol.
- Steak constipates you and beans keep you regular.
- 0% of calories come from complex carbohydrates in steak whereas beans contain 70% of calories from complex carbohydrates.
- Steak has no fiber and beans are high in fiber.
- Steak contains hormones and beans help discharge excess hormones.
- Steak is unsustainably produced and beans are sustainable grown.
- In steak 80% of calories come from fat (mostly saturated) and in beans only 5% of calories come from fat (unsaturated).
- And best of all, in steak 20% of calories come from protein whereas beans contain 25% of calories from protein!
Did you hear that? There is actually more protein in the same portion of beans than there is in a steak! Who would have thought it? Not me that’s for sure, but the more I learn and educate myself on this subject the more I am surprised with what I find out. I just wish this was shared more with the public and we were clearly educated on the matter and from there we can make our own informed choices on whether or not we wish to include meat in our diets. Why don’t you give it a go for yourself and try swapping some meat based protein sources for plant based protein sources and see how you feel? I’m sure your body will thank you for it.
#HopeVsHeadaches #Protein #Health #PlantBasedDiet #HealthCoachInTraining