Recently I was chatting with someone who was thinking of going Vegan and wanted to know what I thought about it and more specifically if there was anything they should be concerned about.
While I’m not a practitioner (and likely never will be) I have done some research on it and generally speaking there’s a lot of positives to choosing that lifestyle.
There is no doubt that a significant amount of research has been done on it. There’s been much debate over the pro’s & con’s but generally speaking most scientists agree that going vegan, vegetarian or even just focusing on a mostly plant based diet, can have significant positive results on your health.
Many people consider eating whole-foods and plant-based foods a type of diet; however, nutritionists think of it as more of a lifestyle than a simple eating habit.
One significant benefit to this new lifestyle is that it is largely free of processed foods, artificial sweeteners, refined sugar, and hydrogenated fats.
The one big negative that most people who choose a plant based lifestyle though is they often struggle to eat enough protein to meet their bodies needs especially as they get older.
As we know for most people their primary sources of protein is meat followed by dairy.
Obviously, if you choose to follow a plant based lifestyle those options will likely not be available anymore.
The good news is there are several plant based sources of protein which will allow you to meet your protein needs.
The first we’ll talk about is soy or soy based products which are one of best ways for anyone (not just vegans) to increase the protein intake.
Soy products include: tofu, tempeh, and edamame among others. These products are among the richest plant-based foods in protein. However, the protein content will vary, depending on the way you prepare the dish.
Here are some numbers:
● ½ cup of tofu contains around 10 grams of protein;
● 1 cup of tempeh (166 g) contains around 31 grams of protein (this number is slightly reduced when tempeh is cooked);
● 1 cup of cooked edamame contains 17 grams of protein.
Another great sources of protein and one we incorporate regularly into our diet is lentils
Lentils are very rich in fiber, iron, and potassium. However, they are also protein-compacted, with ½ cup containing up to 8.84 grams.
Moreover, consuming lentils regularly reduces your risk of developing iron-deficiency anemia.
Next is another of our favors and a weekly addition to our diet…Quinoa
Quinoa is a type of grain that’s used in many traditional dishes and salads. These grains are incredibly rich in nutrients, such as fiber, protein, iron, and magnesium.
One single cup of quinoa may contain up to 8 grams of protein.
Another good source of protein and one that surprises many people is potatoes! One large potato may store 8 grams of protein.
They are also a rich source of vitamin C and potassium and can be mixed up with hummus to acquire more protein.
Finally there’s protein-rich vegetables
While leafy green vegetables alone will not meet your daily protein requirements, they are still great snacks to boost your protein intake.
Here are some vegetables that are rich in protein:
● A single, medium stalk of broccoli contains about 4 g of protein;
● Kale offers 2 g of protein per cup;
● 5 medium mushrooms offer 3 g of protein.
Choosing to go vegan or follow a plant based lifestyle is a personal choice which often is based on personal beliefs.