If you are a vegan, you probably get asked the question, “where do you get your protein?” A LOT. Many people believe that protein can only be obtained through eating meat, eggs, and dairy. Did you know, though, that every whole food contains protein? Yes, that means that fruit and vegetables contain protein! Everything from figs, avocados, cucumbers – the list goes on. Eating a wide variety of fruit and vegetables will ensure that you get the appropriate amino acids (building blocks of protein) that are much more easier for the body to use than consuming protein in the form of animal products.
Plant-based foods are high in fibre too, and devoid of cholesterol. They also have an amazing alkalizing effect on the body compared to acid-forming foods like meat, eggs and dairy. An acidic body can lead to a variety of diseases and illness, clogging up your lymphatic and digestive system, and leaving you feeling tired and moody.
Every food that you eat contains amino acids (some lower than others, but nonetheless, contain these wonderful protein building blocks). Our bodies are incredibly intelligent and can take the food you eat, break it apart, and absorb the nutrients it needs from that food item. When we digest foods, the amino acid chains are broken down and made ready for our bodies to use. Eating wide varieties of plant foods will ensure that you get a wide variety of different amino acids.
In fact, there are many vegan bodybuilders, ultra-marathon runners and award winning athletes out there, which proves that eating a plant-based diet can easily supply you with more than adequate amounts of protein.
All of your protein needs can be met with a plant-based diet. Below is a list (including but not limited to) which can act as a quick reference for getting you started on consuming amino-acid rich plant foods:
1. Chia seeds (1/4 cup = 12 grams)
2. Hemp seeds (1/4 cup = 10 grams)
3. Sunflower seeds (1/4 cup = 8 grams)
4. Spirulina (1 oz. = 16 grams)
5. Quinoa (1/4 cup dry = 6 grams)
6. Sesame seeds (1/4 cup = 7 grams)
7. Pumpkin seeds (1 oz. = 9.35 grams)
8. Mushrooms (1 cup – 5 grams)
9. Barley grass (1/2 cup, juiced = 12.6 grams)
10. Watercress (1 cup = 3 grams)
11. Peas (1 cup = 8 grams)
12. Asparagus (8 spears = 3.08 grams)
13. Romaine (1 cup = 1 gram)
14. Almonds (1 oz. = 6.03 grams)
15. Cauliflower (1 cup = 2.28 grams)
16. Maca root (1 tbsp = 3 grams)
17. Broccoli (1 cup = 5.7 grams)
18. Kale (1 cup = 2.5 grams)
19. Sprouts (1 cup = 5 grams)
20. Avocado (1 avocado = 4 grams)
21. Brazil nuts (1 cup, shelled = 20 grams)
22. Figs (1 cup = 2.5 grams)
23. Goji berries (1 cup = 10 grams)
24. Spinach (1 cup = 5.35 grams)