Plant-Based Protein

Happy Thursday, all.

Welcome to another chapter of FYI Thursday where I try to define or discuss an important topic related to clean eating or diet and nutrition.  Today I want to talk about plant-based protein.

First of all let me say that I am not a Vegan or a vegetarian. However,  I do support meatless meals once in a while.  One of the current fads is “meatless Mondays.”  So information about plant-based protein seemed kind of important to me. I hope it does for you too.

Plant based proteins have a little more to add to your nutrition than animal proteins and they are lower in calories.  They are loaded with  fiber, vital anti-inflammatory and antioxidant phytochemicals.  They also have other vitamins like folate to help maintain a healthy nervous system and good old potassium for electrolyte balance and healthy blood pressure.

There are several foods that can be eaten that give you a great deal of protein.  You’ve heard about soy as a substitute – foods such as tofu (a soft food product prepared by treating soybean milk with coagulants; bean curd)  and edamame (immature green soybeans usually in the pod) . They contain all of the amino acids necessary to be a complete protein.  Tempeh (an Asian food made from fermented soybeans) is also a complete protein.

Other foods used as proteins are nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, quinoa, nutritional yeast and Spirulina. Nuts include almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, and brazil nuts.  They are rich in vitamin E and healthy fats. Seeds include sunflower, sesame, chia, hemp, flax and pumpkin.  A 1/4 cup serving can be from 7 to 9 grams of protein. Beans (legumes) are quite high in protein and are rather economical too. Beans such as pinto, navy, black beans, and chickpeas can serve up a healthy 15 grams of protein for a 1 cup serving. Lentils are a starchy protein as is the split green pea.  Quinoa (pronounced keen-wha) is another starchy seed that when cooked serves up 7 to 9 grams of protein. Nutritional yeast (not a fermenting yeast) is a powdery substance that has a cheesy flavor. It is also rich in B vitamins. Lastly, spirulina.  This is a kind of algae grown in water (salt and fresh) which is incredibly protein rich. Two tablespoons have 8 grams of protein.

Wow!  I had no idea there were so many non-animal proteins.  And believe it or not, this is not a complete list.  As usual I have not exhausted the topic because I want you to do some research on your own.  It’s your health so you should be active in learning more  about it.  Sorry, the mother in me comes out sometimes and I can be a little bossy – but for your own good. 🙂

I hope you have a good evening and that you are all well.

Bye for now.


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