7 Excellent Vegetarian Protein Substitutes You Should Be Eating
Domlur, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
Human body is an incredibly efficient machine, performing literally thousands of functions each day without our knowledge. One of the functions is utilizing the precious protein to repair and rebuild the tissues of our muscles, skin and organs. At times we forget how critically essential protein really is to our existence. Simply put: you can’t have life without protein.
“How do you get your daily dose of protein?” is probably one of the most common questions, especially for vegetarian. If you are one of those who think that the primary source of protein comes from an animal tissue, then you might change your opinion after reading this blog. There are far better sources of protein for the health conscious individual, from vast arrays of nutritious and delicious fruits and veggies to myriad nuts and seeds.
How much Protein/day?
Recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 gram/kilogram of your body weight, but do keep in mind that this is a minimum for the average sedentary adult.
Here are top 7 excellent sources of plant based protein and how to incorporate them into your daily diet:
Sprouted grains are all rich in precious protein and dietary fiber. You can sprout any kind of whole grains such as; amaranth, (unhulled) barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, quinoa, rice, rye berries, sorghum and any other kind of whole grain. Sprouted grains are often eaten raw, lightly cooked, or ground into flour, so use them the way it suits you.
Lentils & Beans:
Beans and legumes of all kinds are widely available food choice that can really add dimension to any meal. When eaten in combination with high protein whole grains such as millet buckwheat, bulgur wheat or quinoa, legumes can provide a balance of all of the essential amino acids needed by our body. We, Indians usually consume lentils as dal and curry but there are other interesting uses also such as top on salad, in soup, spread, sauce for pasta & filling.
Raw Nuts & Seeds:
This group of foods is protein powerhouses. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, brazil nuts and seeds such as hemp, flax, sunflower, sesame, chia and pumpkin seeds are all both protein and mineral rich. Nuts & seeds should be consumed in moderation as little quantity goes a long way plus nuts are quite dense in fat as well. You can make trail mix snacks and have handful of it daily or sprinkle nuts & seeds on top of salads, cereals, oatmeal, smoothies, and porridges or to get that crunch and daily dose of healthy fat & protein.
Commercial protein powders are quite expensive and some brands may contain ingredients or flavours you might not like the taste. Why not make your own protein powder at home which is fairly cheap & easy. You can use lentils, brown rice or any other whole grain, oats, hemp seeds, dried chickpeas or split peas as your protein base. Personalize your flavor with little bit of cocoa powder, nuts, nutmeg powder or shredded coconut. Since homemade protein powders do not contain preservatives and additives it may be necessary to make protein powder in smaller quantities or take more care in how you store it.
It is hard to overstate the value of dark, leafy greens in your diet plan. Including dark greens, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, and peppers in your diet can increase your protein intake. You might be surprised to learn that greens even have high-quality, easily assimilated amino acids enough to build the protein that supports the muscle mass.
Spirulina has 70 percent protein by weight and all the essential amino acids your body needs. It also provides twice as much protein as carbohydrates. It’s deep blue-green in color and will change anything you mix with it into that color green. It tastes subtly sweet and nutty but with a background seaweed flavor. When it comes to having a better performance, increasing muscle strength and enhancing endurance spirulina can actually help. It can be an acquired taste, but with the right combination of ingredients, you will surely like it.
Soy containing foods such as tofu, tempeh, and edamame all are a complete protein containing all amino acids. But among all these tofu is popular and easily available to us. Due to its low fat content, many are switching to tofu and giving a miss to paneer. Tofu is ideal for weight loss, diabetics and heart patients, and also beneficial for lactose intolerant who cannot have paneer.
So you see, through these plant based sources you are getting plenty of high quality protein. Stick to a wide variety of plant-based foods, and your body will do the math for you!
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