One of the first questions you’ll hear after admitting to supporting a vegetarian diet is “where does your protein come from?” While it is a concerning topic, it can certainly be asked to individuals who eat meat. In fact, most people who adopt a plant-based diet do so because of the amount of saturated fat in meat outweighs the amount of protein. Therefore, many people adopt the plant-based lifestyle to consciously increase their protein intake and reap the benefits of eating clean. Ultimately, protein is essential to any diet you follow. Below we discuss some of our favorite sources of protein which include nuts, seeds, and legumes, and display how adaptable they can be!
All of the protein ingredients we list below (and there’s plenty more, don’t worry) share common properties which include high values in magnesium, potassium, calcium, zinc, fiber, folate and iron. Due to their high fiber content, these plant-based foods are excellent in promoting digestive system health, and even contribute to weight loss due to their minimal calories and fat percentages. Moreover, they reduce the amount of LDL (bad cholesterol) therefore they reduce the risk of high blood cholesterol which will ultimately reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
When you eat whole foods, you learn to take some of natures purest ingredients and turn them into complete nutrient dense meals. Legumes, for example, are remarkably versatile. Understanding the texture of legumes is really valuable when creating your own meal, or substituting an ingredient in a recipe. Legumes can be easy transitioned into pates, burgers, or soups. The real beauty is revealed when you experience the nutrients, and the flavor. Another fun fact about legumes, you can see the wonderful phytonutrient properties in the color! The darker the color, the higher antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties it holds. It’s as simple as that, why not start cooking now?
Nuts and seeds are great add-on’s for salads, casseroles, or even as crust for a kale chip. They’re versatile in that you can roast them, chop them and easily incorporate them into your favorite dish. Seed and nut flavors and textures vary, seeds are usually softer while nuts are harder, but depending on their use they can certainly satisfy that desire for “crunch” we all crave. Hemp seeds are soft in texture, and are an easily digestible protein. They are also a protein powerhouse – containing all 10 amino acids, high in anti-inflammatory properties and omega-3s. Sesame Oil can provide relief to a number of other issues, and we suggest looking further into research for details. Chia Seeds are excellent for prolonging hydration, and by doing so, serve as appetite suppressant. By incorporating plant-based foods into your diet you’ll gain that control back of knowing when you’re hungry, and also experience the feelings of satiation and nourishment.
We take great pride in our program Vegetarian Menu Plans Made Easy. For $9.99/month you’ll receive four recipes a week, all including high protein ingredients such as the ones discussed above. What you’ll also gain from this program is education, which will inspire your inner chef to begin adding legumes, nuts or seeds into your family’s favorite meals. By participating in this program, you’ll be in a community of supporters who share your desire to eat well, and also enjoy the pleasure of preparing nutrient dense meals for your family’s benefit.