A lot of people are starting to eat less animal products and opting more for a plant based diet. We always talk about the benefits of a plant-based diet and feel like that’s the way to go. Ideally you want your diet to be 70 to 80% plant-based and then the 20 – 30% can be other things such as animal products, carbs & grains, etc. But 70 to 80% of the diet should be vegetation. So protein is not just animal products. There are plants that contain a lot of protein.
We put a list together of whole food plant-based proteins that provide you with tons of nutrition in a variety of different things not just protein.
Don’t Make This Mistake
What we are starting to sea is a lot of processed vegetable proteins that are out there. Different types of veggie meats, packaged proteins and veggie sausages and a lot of processed soy products. We don’t want you to get in trouble with these type of foods. You don’t want to jump from the pot into the frying pan. You want to make sure that you eating whole foods that are very nutrient dense and high in absorbable protein that offers you a larger rate of nutrition.
When you are transitioning to eating more plant-based, you can easily fall into the trap of consuming highly processed protein items that are very addicting because of the flavorings that are used.
These processed foods really don’t give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to nutrition. For optimum health you want to lean more towards whole food plant based proteins.
So what are some good whole food plant based proteins?
5 Healthy Plant Based Proteins
When you think of hemp you think of marijuana, right? The hemp we are talking about is a variety of cannabis sadus plant which has no measurable level of THC, which is the psychoactive compound cannabis is known for. Hemp contains all essential amino acids. Not only is hemp high protein, but it’s very high in fiber and has a 3 to 1 ratio of the good fats derived the omega-3 and the omega-6’s. There is a couple different ways to get hemp into your diet.
Three tablespoons of hemp protein powder is going to give you 15 g of protein, 8 g of fiber and is only 9 g of of carbs. It’s very high in iron.
Hemp Heart Seeds. You can eat them like regular seeds. Three tablespoons of hemp heart seeds has 10 g of protein.
Hemp Tofu. When you think about tofu you instantly think of soy. Hemp tofu comes in a block just like soy but there is no soy in it. It is just hemp. A half a block is 15 g of protein.
So I would consider hemp a powerful food when it comes to plant-based whole food protein. It’s very good at building muscles and has all of the essential fatty acids.
The next whole food plant based protein we suggest is spirulina. Spirulina is a water vegetable. It comes from lakes and basically it’s algae. It’s super concentrated, full of so much nutrition and antioxidants. It contains so many minerals and has so much protein. Three tablespoons of spirulina equals 18 g of protein.
The only problem that people may run into with using spirulina is the strong fish like smell and taste. It has a distinct flavor. When you first try it you may have to get used to it, but give it a chance. It is important to start small, then work your way up. I would start with just 1 tsp then increase it 1 tsp each week until you reached the 3 tablespoons.
One half cup of lentil equals 9 g of protein. Lentils are high in fiber, folate and other nutrients. Lentils don’t take as long to prepare and can be used in many dishes & stews.
Lentils are definitely easier on your digestive system as opposed to beans but even with the lentils I definitely recommend soaking them overnight, or for at least eight hours. Sprouting your lentils helps to unlock all of the nutrition within them and make them easier to digest.
There is a lot that you can do with lentils, so this is definitely a protein that you want to put into your diet.
One half block of tempeh has 20 g of protein! It has a lot of good and fat, fiber, carbs probiotics and helps to reduce cholesterol. When it comes to soy there are a lot of different studies going on. There is a lot of controversy out there with soy. Overall I’m not a fan of soy and I think that you know you should stay away from non-fermented soy. The thing with tempeh is that it is fermented and it does contain probiotics. The nutrients in tempeh are unlocked and are easier to digest.
All of the negative things that you hear about regular soy you don’t get those things with tempeh. I know there are a lot of people out there that beg to differ, but there are a lot of studies that support both ways. I just think that it’s better to stay away from soy unless it is fermented.
Everyone’s body is different but tempeh across the board has been proven to be safe.
The last plant-based protein we suggest are chickpeas. One half cup of chickpeas equals 8 g of protein. They high in carbs, fiber, it’s loaded with folate & manganese and it helps to control blood sugar levels and prevent cancer.
I really like chickpeas because it’s an indigenous food, it’s not hybridized and is literally been around for thousands and thousands of years. Especially in the Middle East.
Chickpeas are super packed with nutrients, B vitamins and fiber. So it is definitely something that you want to incorporate into your diet.
Just to recap our top five plant-based proteins we discussed hemp protein, spirulina, lentils, tempeh and chickpeas.
So all these different foods you definitely want to look up a really good recipe and the one thing that a lot of people are starting to do is having meatless Mondays. So on Mondays they are eating vegan or vegetarian all day. This is a really good thing to practice.
This is a great way to incorporate one of the recommended plant based proteins to include into your diet. It is not about becoming vegan or vegetarian. It is about is eating cleaner and getting those whole foods into your diet. Incorporating any of these top five plant-based proteins in your diet on a weekly basis certainly cannot hurt.
For those people that are striving to become vegan for whatever reason, this is the way that you want to go. You want to try to eat whole food proteins as opposed to the process food choice. So many people start eating the process foods and it gets stuck on them and they end up creating the same health challenges that they are trying to get away from. This is really important obstacle to avoid.