It’s fairly common knowledge that protein is an important part of any diet. Protein not only helps to build muscle, it also helps in losing weight. Most people are familiar with whey protein. But what are some sources of plant based protein? Walk into a supplement store and look at the tubs upon tubs of whey protein for sale. Look at the packaging at the grocery store stating how much protein a certain food item has. Protein helps to build muscle. A lot of protein on the market is made from whey, which is cow’s milk.
I have mentioned before in this blog that I am a plant-based athlete. For a plant-based athlete like myself, whey-based protein is not something which is on my “approved” list. I have spent countless hours researching plant-based methods for proper nutrition. I would be delighted to talk to you about not only your wellness goals but also your nutrition goals.
When people find out I am plant based, one of the most common things they ask is, “how do plants provide protein?” Since this is a common question, I figured I would write a blog post and dive into the answers. But you don’t have to just read my answers here; I’m always happy to help people understand more about nutrition while on their wellness journey.
As I have stated in this blog post before, I am a USAC Licensed CAT 3 Bicycle Racer. Ever see the movie “Breaking Away?” That’s me – without the skinny shorts and tube socks. Do not worry – I wear a real helmet; not that silly leather thing you see in the movie. I do race on a local team and am the Vice President. My team is Blue Mountain Velo which is based in Harrisburg, PA. You will hear me talk a lot about them in the coming months as the weather warms up. I ride my bicycle a lot. An evening ride for me may be upwards of 75 miles during training season; and I do this several times a week. If you ride a bicycle and want a group of good people (co-ed) to ride with, you are welcome to come join us!
But I digress, this blog isn’t about my bicycle adventures; it’s about how you, reading this at home, can rely on plants as a source of protein! We’ll talk about my bicycle adventures in the spring time when I am on my bicycle several times a week.
Just Plain Nutty
Let’s get to the nuts & bolts of this blog post. For starters, nuts are a fantastic source of protein. (See what I did there?) Keep it clean (limit the honey roasted/salted ones!); but I love peanuts, almonds and pistachios. Nuts not only have protein, but also healthy fats and fiber. Nuts will help fill you up which in turn will curb your appetite. They are a great, satisfying snack and a fantastic alternative to potato chips.
Legumes are another great source of natural plant based protein. What exactly are legumes? How about soybeans, lentils, peas and even alfalfa. Legumes are low in fat and have zero cholesterol. Legumes are not only fantastic by themselves; but they are also wonderful to throw on salads, in soups and mixed with rice. I always have a supply of chickpeas and lentils at my house.
Another wonderful source of plant-based protein is quinoa. Quinoa is all the rage, there are so many recipes which use quinoa as an alternative to rice. And for good reason, it has protein as well as magnesium, (good for regulating muscle contractions), potassium (just like a banana!), phosphorus (which is necessary for the body to make protein and for cell and tissue repair), and folate (which is a B-Vitamin that is necessary for your sells to divide). A whole bunch of healthy in one tasty package. Did you also know that naturally, quinoa has all 9 essential amino acids? Wow!
Popeye Was Right
Another wonderful way to get protein from plants is by eating spinach. Popeye had it right all along; eating spinach provides not only protein but also calcium, potassium, vitamin a, and folate! There are others – but who has time to sit here all day and read how awesome spinach is for you?
I am also a Hammer Nutrition dealer. They have not only plant-based protein but also plant-based Recoverite. Both of these products are useful before and after a hard workout when your muscles are craving protein. The Vegan protein has 20 grams of protein per serving.
The Recoverite also acts as a meal replacement shake (ask me about the orange vanilla flavor – it is one of my favorites). If I need a little something extra during the day, but a full meal isn’t want I want, a scoop or 2 of this works great. The protein is derived from pea protein instead of whey protein. The Recoverite has 10 grams of protein per serving.
There are many other ways that plant-based athletes can supplement their diet with protein naturally. What are some of your favorite ways?
Most of the information in this blog was found on PlantBasedNews.org