Choosing Plant-Based Proteins
With many mainstream publications declaring 2019 ‘the year of the vegan’ and the number of people taking the Veganuary pledge skyrocketing to an estimated 300,000 this year, now seemed like the perfect time to answer that age old question, “How do vegans get their protein?”
Protein is one of our three core macronutrients that is essential to our health. These amino acid chains are broken down by our body to build and repair muscle tissue; assist in the production of vital hormones; provide our immune system with a second line of defence and keep our bodies satiated & feeling fuller longer.
There has long been a myth that plant based protein sources are inferior to meat based sources. But the reality is all you need to do is take a look at the largest herbivores on our planet to know that thinking is outdated and incorrect. Elephants, hippos, rhinos, the giant panda, bison and buffalo, and the towering giraffe are examples of non-human animals who have reached their massive sizes by eating plants.
And luckily for us, our plant based proteins are much more tasty than grass and branches. The richest plant based source of protein available is seitan. Made of vital wheat gluten and offering a whopping 25 grams of protein per 100 gram serving, seitan provides as much protein as a serving of beef and makes an excellent meat replacement in any recipe.
Lentils, beans and legumes are all delicious sources of protein that can be added to soups, salads, macro bowls, curries and hummus. Hemp, chia and flax are powerhouse seeds that are perfect additions to your post workout smoothie. Ancient grains and cereals that include spelt, oatmeal, quinoa and wild rice are easy to find and easy to make. One ounce of nuts or nut butter offer the same amount of protein as a serving of chicken and can be tossed on salads or added to your morning oatmeal.
And don’t forget to eat your fruits and vegetables - green peas, broccoli, spinach, potatoes, brussel sprouts, bananas and blackberries are all excellent sources. Soybeans are considered a whole source of protein which means they provide your body with all of the essential amino acids needed and can be enjoyed as milk, tofu, tempeh and edamame.
Bottomline is that with a varied diet of protein rich plant-based foods, you will have the strength to enjoy your favourite classes and the nutrients needed to repair, shape and maintain your muscle tone all by cutting out the middleman (or in this case the middle-animal) and eating the plants yourself!
Tonia is a BECYCLE member who loves Barre and Yoga classes. She is a freelance writer, blogger, and ethical vegan. When she isn't working or working out, you'll find her exploring the city, finding the best vegan food in Berlin and hanging out with her dog Violet.