Plant-based protein - easy read introduction and guide

 

Are you thinking about starting to live a more plant-based lifestyle but not sure where to get your protein? Whether you have decided to commit to a vegan diet, or if you just want to reduce the amount of meat you eat, this is for you!

When I first went fully plant-based, I was so overwhelmed with how many people took a sudden interest in where I was going to get my protein. The truth is, we have been conditioned to believe that meat is our only source of protein which is why we need it in our diets. The truth is; A. Protein deficiency is quite uncommon B. There is PLENTY of protein in plants. You just need to know where to look!

First things first, why is protein so important anyway? It’s so easy to understand why protein is so important for so many people, it is such a powerful component that exists within every cell of the body. Protein is largely known for muscle repair, which is why you’ll hear gym bunnies and athletes downing it like it’s going out of fashion. And rightfully so, protein literally makes up everything, your hair and nails? Mostly made from protein! It also helps build blood, skin, bones, muscles… (the list goes on).

Protein is a “macronutrient” - and I’m not going to get massively technical - but basically, unlike a “micronutrient”, “macronutrient” means we need quite a substantial amount of it. We need to keep replenishing it as our bodies don’t store protein. However, this doesn’t mean we need to go into protein panic overload. Overeating protein won’t help either, because your body can only absorb a certain amount. So, How much protein do we actually NEED?

Now I am no mathematician, but we are advised to eat 0.75kg of protein for every kilogram that we weigh. So if you weigh 70kg, you need 52.5g of protein a day. On an average basis, men are advised to eat 55g and women around 45g, so around two small handfuls in portion size! Pretty easy to squeeze in - obviously take the advice of doctors, personal trainers and anyone else who may have more bespoke advice for your lifestyle. However, that’s a good place to start and there are more than enough plant based options for this amount of protein. See the list below which will give you a good indication of how much protein you can find in these plant based ingredients;

  • ½ cup of rolled oats: 5g

  • ½ cup of cooked tempeh: 20g

  • ½ cup of quinoa: 5g

  • ½ cup of cooked buckwheat: 10g

Seeds and nuts are also a great way of getting in some extra grams of protein e.g.;

  • ¼ cup of hemp seeds: 14g

  • ¼ cup of chia seeds: 10g

  • ¼ cup of peanuts: 10g

And we haven’t even started on other veggies and legumes yet! See below;

  • ½ cup of cooked lentils: 10g

  • ½ cup of varied beans: 8g

  • 1 cup of green peas: 8g

  • 1 cup of artichoke: 6g

  • 1 cup of spinach: 5g

Now you can start to see how to make up your daily intake, and how easy it actually is via plants! The great thing about plant based protein is that there are so many fewer risks healthwise, and many of the above are also really high in fibre, which is arguably more important anyway!

I really hope this helps!

S x