For those who eat a plant based diet, this can be the most common and the most frustrating question they get. A majority of people think you have to eat meat or flesh foods to obtain protein. But that actually isn't the case. Where do you think cows, sheep, goats and deer get their protein from? For you see animals are not inherently born with all the protein they will ever need in their lives. Interestingly enough, if you look at animals that God set forth in the Bible as being clean and permissible for mankind to eat in Deuteronomy 14:4-6 ...the ox, the sheep, and the goat, the hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg, and the wild ox, and the chamois. And every beast that parteth the hoof, and cleaveth the cleft into two claws, AND cheweth the cud among the beasts, that ye shall eat. We find they are all plant eaters.
I recently spoke with a gentleman who used to eat meat and he told me that now he consumes a plant based diet and prefers to get his protein first hand.
Alright then, where can we obtain protein when eating a plant based diet (PBD)? This is good information for those who already do eat a plant based diet or if someone wanted to make a change to a PBD.
First lets establish just how much protein we should take in per day. Recently read on PlantBasedNews.org their article "Which Plant-Based Foods Are High In Protein" of July 2021 in which they shared these requirements:
According to the British Nutrition Foundation, most adults require 0.75 grams (g) of protein per kilogram (kg) of body weight daily (g/kg/d). It notes that protein requirements increase in pregnancy by 6g per day and lactation by 8-11g, depending on the infant’s age.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise adults to consume 10-35 percent of their daily calories as protein, 46g for females and 56g for males.
It’s important to note that the amount of protein that someone requires may vary depending on their activity levels and the type of exercise they do.
For example, the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) recommends 1.4-2 g/kg/d protein for building and maintaining muscle mass. However, they also note that there is evidence that higher protein intakes of over 3 g/kg/d may have positive effects on body composition in resistance-trained individuals.
However, a 2016 study advises that although long-term consumption of 2 g/kg/d protein is safe for healthy adults, long-term intakes of higher than this may result in digestive, renal, and vascular abnormalities. Harvard Health also agrees that until experts are conclusive about safe amounts, untrained individuals should aim for no more than 2 g/kg/d.
So women need around 46g and men 56g a day. So if I want to consume that much what should I eat that would give me the most protein?
Here is a lovely edamame bean salad. As you can see there is tofu, broccoli, edamame beans, and turmeric rice in the bowl. According to the article from PBN here is the scoop on:
Containing 8.08g of protein per 100g, tofu is a source of minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and iron.
Furthermore, tofu contains isoflavones which some research suggests may be beneficial for hot flashes and improving arterial health in menopause.
People can purchase a firm or silken tofu to use in various ways, including stir-fries, burgers, and scrambled "eggs".
Edamame beans are whole, bright green, immature soybeans. Grocery stores typically sell them frozen for people to steam and add to stir-fries, soups, or salads. People can also make them into a tasty dip.
One cup of edamame beans contains 18.4g of protein and all the essential amino acids. Additionally, they are a good source of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin K.
Although vegetables aren’t the first thing people think of when planning protein into their diets, their protein content contributes to someone’s intake in smaller amounts.
Broccoli, for example, contains 2.38g of protein per 100g, is an excellent source of folate, vitamin C, and calcium. Therefore including vegetables such as broccoli in a meal with other protein sources provides additional nutrients.
Don’t forget to use the stalks too; a medium broccoli stalk contains 4.28g of protein. Therefore someone could use a stalk to make a protein-rich broccoli ‘rice’ by blitzing it in a food processor.
A favorite at our home is lentils, red, green or French it doesn't matter, we like them all. I think we prefer the French lentils though because they seem to hold their shape the most.
Chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo beans, are another wonderful and versatile food. They can be an accent to many a dish, made into a sandwich spread or into hummus to eat with veggies. PBN had this information about both:
Lentils are a popular protein choice for people eating a plant-based diet, with one cup of cooked lentils providing 17.9g of protein.
Additionally, lentils are a source of fiber, B vitamins, and calcium.
People can choose from red, green, and brown lentils and use them to make dahls and curries or add to cooked or raw vegetables. Serving lentils with rice gives the meal a good amino acid profile.
Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are a versatile and tasty source of plant-based protein. A 253g can of chickpeas contains 17.8g of protein. In addition, chickpeas are a low-fat, high-fiber food providing a good source of calcium and magnesium.
People can incorporate canned chickpeas into salads or use them to make a quick hummus by adding protein-rich tahini. Likewise, serving a chickpea curry or dahl with brown rice provides a wholesome meal rich in amino acids.
Another favorite food many people like for breakfast is oatmeal. Oats are a wonderful food that can stand alone or be used to make patties or burgers or as delicious waffles. they are also a good source of protein as PBN related:
Oats are an all-round excellent choice for breakfast.
A 50g serving of rolled oats contains 7g of protein. Furthermore, someone can increase the protein content of breakfast oatmeal by adding chopped nuts and seeds.
Additionally, oats are a good source of fiber and beta-glucans, which research indicates may help balance blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and support the immune system.
Nuts, grains and seeds are also excellent sources of protein. Hemp seed powder can be added to smoothies to give a wonderful boost of protein to your fruit or you can add the seeds to granola.
Hemp seeds are rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Three tablespoons of hulled hemp seeds provide 9.48g of protein.
The outer shell of hemp is indigestible, so people can purchase shelled hemp hearts to add to salads, smoothies, and cooked meals. In addition, hemp hearts are a good source of minerals, B vitamins, and fiber.
Additionally, people can consume hemp as a protein powder or oil.
Although quinoa is a type of edible seed, people refer to it as a whole grain.
One cup of cooked quinoa contains around 8g of protein and all the essential amino acids, classifying it as a complete protein.
Furthermore, a cup of quinoa contains 5g of fiber and essential nutrients such as magnesium, folate, and vitamin B1.
Someone can make quinoa dishes with various vegetables, herbs, and beans or add it to homemade burger patties.
Nuts are a healthy addition to a plant-based diet and a good source of protein. For example, protein per 100g of popular types of nuts is as follows:
Furthermore, nuts contain fiber, minerals such as calcium and zinc, and healthy fats. Walnuts, in particular, are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
In addition, a 2019 review suggested that consuming nuts reduces the incidence of and mortality from cardiovascular diseases.
Peas have not always been my favorite but I have truly grown to love them. Realizing how healthy they are for me and the benefits I will reap from eating them, I can't help but be excited to consume them. PBN shared this about:
Per cup, green peas have an impressive 7.86g of protein. They also provide additional nutrients such as calcium, iron, and vitamin C.
Someone could try adding a cup of green peas to stock, chopped scallions, and fresh mint and blending in a food processor to make a protein-rich tasty pea and mint soup. Furthermore, thawed frozen green peas make a healthy snack for munching on rather than potato chips!
Additionally, pea protein powder which manufacturers make from yellow peas, contains an impressive 21g of protein per 27g serving. People can blend this into smoothies or add it to breakfasts or soups.
So there you have 10 different foods in which you can find an abundance of protein along with many other vital nutrients. Today as I write this blog we had lentils and rice and cauliflower steaks for lunch. In the lentils I received 26g of protein! What a blessing! I hope you will enjoy trying some of these foods if you haven't already. May they nourish and strengthen your mind that you may more easily discern spiritual things.
***These are beneficial health suggestions. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This is not a substitute for speaking with your health professional.