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Protein with a Vegan Twist

Henry Forgi

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Vegan

Has it ever happened that even though your day is set to be amazing, it really does not feel that good? If you feel foggy, weak, get sick often, you are craving sweets or even worse as in your hair is falling out, then you may be suffering from protein deficiency. While it is true most Americans do not show signs of protein deficiency, that does not mean it doesn’t happen. If you are someone who avoids animal products, then let’s discuss protein the vegan way. Being a vegan is fine, but we must be careful about becoming victims of misinformation which may lead us to do more harm than good.

So what exactly is protein and what is its role in the human body?

Protein is within our body tissue and accounts for up to 20% of our body weight. This very important component is closely linked to our DNA, helps us strengthen our immune system, build muscles, and ligaments. It also helps strengthen hair and nails. It is no wonder those who have protein deficiency also could experience hair loss or thinning hair. During digestion, the consumption of protein creates amino acids. There are 20 amino acids that form a complete protein. Only 9 of these amino acids the body cannot produce on its own. While there are many who prefer to get their protein and amino acids by meat consumption, plant-based diets can get you there too. What matters here is that you get plenty of them. 

Here are 9 plant-based proteins which can bring more variety to your meals and still keep you healthy and satisfied:

1. Quinoa

8 grams of protein per cooked cup. All you have to do is cook 1 cup to 2 cups of water. Within 15 minutes it’s ready to be enjoyed. You can add flavor to it as you would with rice. Unlike rice. Quinoa tastes amazing cold too. It has tons of fiber, iron, and magnesium.

2. Hempseed

10 grams of protein per 2 tbsp of servings. There is no narcotic feeling that comes from it, just plenty of fiber, magnesium, zinc, and omegas. These fantastic seeds have a nutty flavor and go well in your smoothies, salads and even soups.

3. Chia seeds

4 grams of protein per 2 tbsp of servings. The tiny South American seeds are a powerhouse. Originally used by Andean tribes and runners. They are packed with fiber, nutrients, and iron. They work great as egg substitutes, pudding, and smoothies.

4. Peas

3 1/2 grams of protein per 1/2 cup. These could go great with quinoa or just a side of veggies. Get creative. It doesn’t hurt that they also have fiber.

5. Spinach

3 grams of protein per 1/2 cup. This fantastic vegetable contains tons of iron also, and it goes well in your salads, smoothies or cooked with garlic…yum!

6. Baked or boiled potato

3 grams of protein per 1 medium-size potato. Have fun with the toppings, and don’t overdo the salt. Potatoes are best to be purchased organic so you can take advantage of eating the skin. Potato skin is very high in fiber.

7. Broccoli

2 grams of protein per 1/2 cup. Another fiber powerhouse, it goes great for those who are on a healthy food plan. Broccoli goes best steamed, so you can retain its nutrients.

8. Brussels Sprouts

2 grams of protein per 1/2 cup. They go amazingly baked with a dash of salt and pepper.

9. Chickpeas or Garbanzo Beans

7.3 grams per 1/2 cup. high in fiber, yet low in calories. Hard to go wrong with it. Whether its pureed and made into hummus or just thrown in a salad, there is no need for meat when chickpeas are around, unless you want it that way.

 

While eating too little protein has its repercussions, eating too much of it has its repercussions as well. On a daily basis, anything over 46 grams from women is too much and anything over 56 grams for men is too much. It is important to notice that 3 ounces of meat equal to 21 grams of protein. The lesson here is excess protein creates excess weight. Additionally, too much protein puts stress on the heart. Other side effects of protein overconsumption are fatigue, dehydration, dizziness, palpitations, and bad breath. Always keep in mind that focusing too much on one nutrient may result in you being deficient in another.

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