3 Protein-Rich Plants + an Easy RecipeTom Levin
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Health and Fitness Built Right In!
Tip: Chia seeds, sprouts and spirulina are great plant sources of protein, and will help you compensate for not consuming animal protein.
If you frequent this corner of the internet, hopefully you’ve diminished your animal product consumption – or perhaps stopped it altogether. However, as health conscious individuals, it’s important to be aware of ways to incorporate sufficient plant-based protein in our nutrition. Proteins are essential to the construction, maintenance and rehabilitation of various body tissues: Internal organs, muscles and skin. Proteins are also beneficial to our immune and hormonal systems.
Proteins are composed of 22 amino acids, 14 of which can be manufactured by our own bodies; the rest, we have to source through our nutrition. So, just how much protein do we need to consume, and where can we get it? There’s more than one answer to that question, as it depends on every person’s individual biology. This means that our nutritional demands are tied to our anatomy, metabolism, genetic make-up and familial ancestry. An Eskimo and an Asian may sit at a single table and consume identical food, but only one of them may come out of it nauseous.
The amount of protein required by the human body also varies from person to person, most extremely between a young athlete, and a 50 year old office dweller. For this reason, doctors and nutritionists typically point to a consumption range between 0.4 and 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (equivalent to 0.2-0.4 grams of protein per pound). For instance, a woman weighing 140 lbs would need between 28 and 50 grams of protein per day (unless she is a professional athlete). Luckily, it’s not particularly difficult to reach recommended daily protein levels even on a vegan diet, as long as we make conscious choices.
If you’re constantly on the lookout for great plant sources of protein, and you’re not huge fans of beans (that take long to cook, and don’t always go down easily – if you know what we mean), we’d like you to meet three refreshing ingredients you can incorporate in your daily nutrition. These would be perfect to consume after the gym, especially after completing low-to-medium intensity training such as yoga, Pilates or running.
- Chia seeds: Contain 14% protein, or about 4 grams of protein for every 2 tablespoons. Chia seeds are also a great source of ALA omega-3, and are a perfect addition to salads and shakes. They also serve to make simple pudding, as the recipe below shows.
- Spirulina: Contains 70% protein, or about 7 grams of protein for every 10 grams. Contains 18 different amino acids, and serves as a great addition to shakes and even water (flavorless).
- Sprouts: An excellent source of protein, iron and chlorophyll, and a great addition to salad.
Chia Pudding Recipe
- 1 cup organic almond or soy milk
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp organic maple syrup
- Optional add-ins: Cocoa powder or fruit slices.
- Blend all ingredients together except for the chia seeds. If you choose to add cocoa powder or fruit slices, do so at this stage and blend.
- Once a homogenous mix has been reached, add the chia seeds and stir thoroughly.
- Pour mixture into a container, cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 4 hours).
- When you wake up, you’ll enjoy a thick, omega-3, calcium and protein-rich pudding.
- A bonus: add your favorite fruits and granola to it!