When I turned vegetarian 11 years ago, a lot of people expressed concern as to where I would get my protein. I was too young, and I needed my nutrients, they said. Back then, we didn’t have the vast knowledge and options we have now with regards to vegetarianism, and thus, after a few months, I felt like I didn’t have many options (except for bread) and went back to eating seafood, which I have maintained over the years.
Nowadays, with all the vegetarian and vegan options popping up in the neighborhood, it’s easier to get proper sustenance without having to resort to animal products. There are days that I would stop and think, what if I just give it up already? I can survive days without seafood and just eat fruits and veggies anyway. And even though I am a pescetarian (a person who eats seafood, but not any other meat or eggs) and not pure vegan yet, people especially meat eaters would often ask, “But where do you get your protein?” or tell me, in a matter-of-fact manner “With how you workout you need to eat meat, dude.” These statements often lead to a lengthy discussion of how I am properly nourished, with or without meat.
Let me tell you right now that even if I don’t eat seafood for weeks, I still get the proper amount of protein I need. And if one day you decide that you would also want to have a change of lifestyle and give up meat altogether, let me guide you as to where you can get your protein. You’d be surprised though, there are a lot more sources out there that aren’t named on this list.Quinoa – this grain has been gaining popularity lately not just for vegetarians, but for everyone who has been trying to live a healthier lifestyle. This terrific substitute for rice contains eight grams of protein for every cup plus it’s full of fiber, iron and magnesium.
Quinoa – this grain has been gaining popularity lately not just for vegetarians, but for everyone who has been trying to live a healthier lifestyle. This terrific substitute for rice contains eight grams of protein for every cup plus it’s full of fiber, iron and magnesium.
Buckwheat – perfectly used as a flour substitute to gluten-free pancakes, buckwheat is said to improve circulation, lower blood cholesterol and control blood sucrose levels, aside from the fact that a serving of one cup has six grams of protein.
Hempseed – hemp is getting a lot of flak because people think that this is the popular drug that gets people stoned. First of all, it’s not, but it is a relative. Hempseed has significant amounts of nine essential amino acids plus omega 3; and two tablespoons have a whopping 10 grams of protein in it. This is why I take raw hemp protein powder with nut milk as my post workout most of the time!
Chia seeds – top it on your pancakes, mix it with your smoothies or even make a pudding out of it! Chia seeds contain four grams of protein for every two tablespoons of it, plus it also contains omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, iron, calcium, zinc and other antioxidants.
Soy – whether from tofu, tempeh or soy milk, soy is one of the highest sources of protein for vegetarians. It contains about 10 grams of protein per serving and you can cook/prepare it in so many ways!
Lentils – a lot of vegans love lentils because it is packed with nine grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber for every half a cup added to your meal.
Black beans – these beans are not only high in protein, (eight grams per cup), but they are also a great source of antioxidants.
Amaranth – also a rice substitute like quinoa, this ancient super grain is packed with iron, B vitamins, magnesium and seven grams of protein per serving.
Oatmeal – with thrice the amount of protein than brown rice, this is also a great source of magnesium, calcium and B vitamins.
Pumpkin seeds – although often overlooked, these seeds contain eight grams of protein for every ¼ cup. It’s nice to add these to your salads or even oatmeal or smoothie bowl!
There are a lot more sources that I can name, from spinach to green peas, edamame, broccoli, nuts, spirulina and even tahini. Bottom line is, there are numerous sources of plant based protein out there. So don’t be misguided and misled by the notion that vegetarians don’t get protein. Because honestly, we get more than enough.
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