Generally when someone hears that I am plant based, they ask me if I’m eating enough protein. Or they ask where I get my protein from..
Let me start by saying this: Meat is not the only, nor the best, source of protein.
Yes, protein is important in our diets, but you don’t need meat to have a high protein intake.
Most people picture someone who doesn’t eat meat as a frail, thin, tree hugging hippy who wears baggy pants. But they are very surprised when they hear that I don’t eat meat as I train several times a week in martial arts and am not thin, nor frail.
So let’s answer this question; Are plant proteins better than animal proteins?
Mostly, yes. Because we don’t eat protein. We eat food. And our food is made of different macronutrient breakdowns, and a plethora of micronutrients, too.
The benefit of plant proteins over animal proteins is that these foods contain many, many, many more of these nutrients. And when we are getting such a variety, we give our immune systems a mega boost, and can also reduce our risks of things like heart disease and cancer.
So while, yes, meat can be a good source of protein, there are plenty of plant based foods which contain equal amounts, or more, and have added health benefits, too.
Ethically, it’s hard for me to describe these animals in terms of their protein content, but I understand that we need to have this knowledge for reference.
So, meats such as chicken and beef contain 18g protein per 100g and turkey contains 20g per 100g.
In terms of plant based foods, are there any that have more protein than meat?
Let’s list just 5:
- Chlorella – 60g per 100g – Chlorella is a nutrient dense algae (with loads of iron, vitamin C and B12) which has been shown to rid the body of toxins and lower high cholesterol levels.
- Spirulina – 57g per 100g – Similar to chlorella, spirulina is a kind of algae that can be consumed as a tablet, flake or powder which contains mega protein as well as B1, B2, B3, iron and copper. It’s also a powerful antioxidant and natural anti-inflammatory.
- Nutritional Yeast – 50g per 100g – It’s called ‘nutritional’ yeast for good reason. It’s packed full of zinc, magnesium, selenium as well as many different B vitamins and is a complete source of protein.
- Hemp seeds – 31g per 100g – Hemp seeds are tiny seeds from the cannabis plant and have a deliciously nutty flavour. (Just to clarify – hemp seeds are not marijuana)
- Lupini beans – 36g per 100g – Lupini beans can be eaten cooked or raw. They can be very bitter, so are normally soaked or pickled before being eaten.
Want more? Ok.. Here’s 5 more:
- Soybean – 35g per 100g – The soybean is a high protein legume which has had a bad rap. Unfortunately, it is known for being genetically modified and then fed to feedlot animals. But this bean is just misunderstood.
- Peanut butter – 25g per 100g – As long as we stay with natural peanut butter (ingredients should only be 100% peanuts!), is it very high in protein. Also, fun fact, peanuts are actually a type of legume, and not a fruit like almonds.
- Almonds – 21g per 100g – Speaking of almonds, these are high in protein too, which is why they are touted as a great snack between meals. They are also packed with vitamin E, magnesium, manganese and lots of good fats.
- Black beans – 21g per 100g – Protein, fibre, B vitamins, and a low glycemic index makes them a winner. This means they only cause a small rise in your blood sugar levels after eating. Studies have shown that if you eat black beans with rice, it can still keep your blood sugar levels lower compared to eating the rice alone.
- Pumpkin Seeds – 20g per 100g – Also called pepitas, these are the seeds from inside a pumpkin. You can buy them as white or green. White means the outer husk is still intact, and the light green means the husk has been removed.
These are just 10 examples which all have higher protein levels, and also mega loads of nutrients. We barely touched on food that have equal or just a little less than the protein found in meats.
Many foods such a beans, nuts and seeds come in at or above the 20g mark, putting them all at the top of the list.
Next time you’re looking at your protein intake, know that you can do so with plants. Plus, you’ll also benefit from all the added vitamins and minerals!
Want to know more about a plant based diet? Comment below and we can send you our sample meal plan, ready for you to start exploring the world of plant based eating.
Owner, Box it Out.