For a number of reasons, plant based diets are catching on. How many of us have grown up thinking that animals were the only source of protein??
Even celebrities like Howard Stern have caught onto the wind that moves the plants. The documentary titled "Game Changers" even introduces us to Olympic athletes and world record holding weight lifters who eat nothing but plants. These athletes push their body to extremes that most of us can't even fathom achieving. So how is it that plants can be a source of growth and repair for human muscle?
In the same thought process, how is it that horses, elephants, zebras and cows get to be the size they are as adults if they are plant based too?
Knowing what our body does with the food we eat really can help us decide what the hell we should eat. I'm going to give you a list of foods that are high in natural protein which will convert to amino acids after digestion. Amino acids and proteins are what become the buildings blocks of life, muscle repair, neurotransmitting signals and growth. An Amino Acid is an organic compound that combined to form more proteins.
Our body needs 20 different amino acids to fully and properly function. There are 9 "essential" amino acids that we can't internally produce, so we need to consume these in our diet. Our body doesn't store these amino acids for later use. Instead, we need to consumes these on a daily basis. So don't give up!
When you shop the produce section at your grocery store, you won't see signs that say "Hey Essential Amino Acids are right here fool" Nobody adds histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine to your grocery list. Or do you?? There are supplements you can take which are commonly consumed by athletes, but if you want to put these items on your grocery list, you might have a better time shopping for these ingredients instead. They are high in plant protein, so I suggest adding these to your diet on a regular basis.
1. Tofu, Tempe & Edamame. All derived from the soy bean plant, most of which will take on the flavor of the dish in which you add them to. I agree, plain tofu sucks. Plus it's high in phyto-estrogen, which if you're fighting cancer can have negative health effects. However, Edamame is a complete protein and has all 9 of those complicated amino acids that our body is asking for.
3. Chick Peas/Garbanzo Beans.... see my Almaza hummus recipe in my blog here
6. Spirulina... its a blue or green algae. Add it to a smoothie, I don't suggest a hummus
7. Quinoa... this can also take on the flavor of the dish you add it to. It's something to get used to, but it is a complete protein so it contains all 9 Essential Amino Acids. I suggest adding it to oatmeal or even rice or make a quinoa fruit salad
8. Chia Seeds... yes, from the commercial. Sprinkle them on your salads or add to a smoothie. Maybe they will grow in your stomach, maybe not, but either way, very good for you
9. Hemp Seeds...no, you won't get high...sorry mannnnn
10. Rice & Beans Baby! Each contain sets of different amino acids and when they are combined they form complete proteins. Coincidence that they are always served together? Doubt it.
Rice and beans are still higher in carbs than the other options. While we do turn carbs into glycogen to fuel ourselves, the rate in which we digest it will always be important. White rice is still running without a leash down a busy street. Brown, Black and Purple rices are harder to digest and absorb slower, but we can do it and they get put to good use instead of being stored as chubby fat.
Peanuts and almonds make great spreads and are
commonly available. You can eat them on toast, celery, apples, lot's of great plant based snacks.
Last thing I want to add is what the difference is between classifications of "Plant Based" vs "Vegan". Really it is a matter of personal preference to describe that you don't eat animal products or by-products (like honey). For whatever reason you choose. I speak out and encourage a plant based diet. It is better for our health and better for our planet. My diet is plant-based, sure, call me a vegan but no, I don't hug trees, but I do thank them for all the good they bring to this world and hopefully to you too.