Wednesday, January 31, 2018

How to Include Quality Plant-based Protein in Meals

updated 3/31/18

Today I'm happy to share food tips, ideas, and information about how this plant-based eater amps up quality protein in her meals.

High Protein Salad of Mixed Beans, Brown Rice, Red Lentils, and Salad Greens

Since I made the decision to be a vegetarian (37 years ago) and vegan (10 years ago), my journey to create a healthy lifestyle has been filled with exciting food adventures.

I've explored nutrition research, read cookbook recipes and invented my own, consulted with the experts, and listened to my body and intuition many times too. 

I've discovered legumes including dried cooked beanslentils, and dried split-peas are a low fat source of quality protein and fiber. Legumes contain important vitamins and minerals like iron, potassium, calcium, and folate. Compared to animal sources of protein, whole food plant-based protein is usually lower in cost. 

Protein is the building block of cells, but not the only element to consider when planning a sound vegan eating plan. It's key to eat a variety of whole plant-based foods that are colorful, and rich in nutrients. 

I get protein from complex carbohydrates including grains, veggies, fruits, pulses and legumes, and make sure to drink adequate water during the day. 

To add digestion, elimination, and not gain weight, I eat only a smidgen of plant-based foods that contain fat including avocado, black olives, pumpkin seeds, and a teaspoon of raw almonds or other nut.

Many brands of tofu, tempeh, and soy and nut milks are packed with protein and fortified with other nutrients such as calcium, iron, and vitamin B12, so I get my fill of those too.

To Get More Specific, Here's a List of Vegan Foods with Protein Count Per Serving:

Organic Tofu. Protein: 8 to 15 grams (depends on how it's made) per 3 oz serving

Organic Edamame. Protein: 18 grams per 1-cup serving, cooked

Organic Tempeh. Protein: 3 oz. supply 15.77 grams cooked

Black Beans. Protein: 39 grams per cup, cooked

Mixed Salad Greens. Protein. 2 cups raw provides 2 grams

Spinach. Protein: 1-cup serving provides 1-3 grams, depending on whether it's raw or cooked.

Broccoli. Protein: 1-cup chopped serving provides 2.6 grams

Zucchini. Protein: 2.9 grams in one zucchini

Kale. Protein: 1 cup chopped kale has 2.9 grams

Kidney Beans. Protein: 13.44 grams per 1 cup, cooked

Chickpeas. Protein: 1 cup cooked provides 15 grams protein

Chickpea Hummus. Protein: 2 Tablespoon provides 2 grams

Lentils. Protein: 9 grams per 1/2 cup, cooked

Split Green Peas. Protein: 16 grams per cup, cooked

Sweet Potatoes. Protein: 1 cup provides 2.1 grams

Almonds. Protein: 1 oz of raw almonds provides 6 grams 

Brazil Nuts. Protein: 6 raw nuts or 1 oz provides 4.1 grams

Pecans. Protein: 1 oz raw provides 2.6 grams

Walnuts. Protein: 1 oz raw walnuts provides 2.6 grams

Almond Butter. Protein: 2 Tablespoons raw unsalted 7 grams

Cashew Butter. Protein: 2 Tablespoons raw unsalted 6 grams

Peanut Butter. Protein: 2 Tablespoons raw unsalted 8 grams ( I don't eat peanuts, but include this for your information)

Sunflower Seeds. Protein: 1/2 cup provides 14.5 grams

Chia Seeds. Protein: 1 oz or about 2 Tablespoons provides 4 grams

Flax meal. Protein: 1 oz or about 2 Tablespoons provide 12 grams

Pumpkin Seeds. Protein: 1/4 cup 9 grams

Barley. Protein: 1 cup of cooked hulled barley provides 22.96 grams

Brown Rice. Protein. 1 cup of cooked brown rice provides 5 grams

QuinoaProtein: 8 grams per cup, cooked

Cornmeal. Protein: 1 cup of cornmeal provides 11 grams

Buckwheat. Protein: 6 grams per 1 cup serving, cooked

Nutritional Yeast. Protein: 3 Tablespoons supply 12 grams

Whole Grain Bread, Escarole and Bean Soup, Edamame, Kale Red Pepper Butternut Squash Salad

My health and happiness increases with intentional eating, mindful self-care including exercise and stress reduction techniques, nutritional study, trial and error,  and consistent, patient implementation of this style of meal planning every day including holidays. 

I'm still adding a new trick or two and read everything I can get my hands on about health and a healthy lifestyle.

I eat many servings of both fresh (raw) and cooked veggies and fruits every week. I use the fresh stuff in salads, veggie juices, and fresh food snacks, and incorporate others into sautéed, baked, and broiled dishes. 

Greens, black eyed peas, sprouts, and carrots

These are some plant-based foods I love: broccoli, collards, beets and beet greens, carrots, red cabbage, chard, kale, blueberries, apples, and arugula. I even put certain veggies or fruits into dips, soups, and casseroles.

Dare to excel and use tempeh and tofu as toppings for salads, add to sauces, or as part of the filling for tacos, enchiladas, veggie burgers, or veggie loaf. 

What I don't eat and suggest you not eat either, are processed foods, "fake" foods, and empty calories from soda, fried foods, or highly salted or sugar laden ingredients. These empty calories lower the body's natural ability to maintain optimal health. 

A whole food plant-based eating plan raises your body's natural inclination to stay healthy. In the long run, eating all your fruits and veggies cuts down on medical expenses.

Did you know spices add a touch of protein as well? In fact, garlic is a stand alone spice. It works well with just about everything. If you'd like, roast the entire clove and eat it as a side dish. One teaspoon of garlic contains .2 grams.

When you make planning for a whole food plant-based diet a priority, you care for yourself in a very special way. 

Rest assured that this lifestyle can help prevent chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Eating all your fruits and veggies also elevates your mood and increases your sense of well-being. Be happy, eat whole foods that are plant-based and get your fill of energy from plant-based protein.

The quote for today follows:  “A plant-based diet is more likely to produce good health and to reduce sharply the risk of heart problems, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, gallstones, and kidney disease.” – T. Colin Campbell, PhD

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  1. Hi Nancy,
    I certainly agree with you in regards that the Western diet that contains unhealthy fats, sugar and processed foods are definitely not what anyone should be eating and I truly believe that is the cause of many diseases. I do not agree with the vegan diet but I respect anyone who does believe in it and if it works from them and then they should follow what they believe. I could not live without meat because many fruits and vegetables I have allergies and sensitivities to but most meat is not a problem. Although I do not eat factory farmed meat. I eat local that I know how it is raised and what it is fed. I believe that all our bodies are unique a what works for one person doesn't work the other. I do believe we should be eating a lot of organic or local harvest fruits and vegetable and that no one should be eating processed junk. Thanks for sharing your story and how vegan works for you. Have a healthy, happy & blessed day!

    1. Thanks Marla. Incidentally, I took that quote “People feel poorly because they are nourished by foods you wouldn’t feed to your dog and cat. The rich western diet is full of fat, sugar, cholesterol, salt, animal protein — all the wrong foods for people.” ― from Dr. John McDougall off the main body of the blog. When I re-considered it, it sounded a little too harsh and not where I'm coming from. I want people to consider adding more whole food plant-based foods in their eating plans. When they find out how easy, healthy, and humane it is to do it, they may realize they have less trips to the doctor and and are off various drugs for illness and conditions. It's my wish that you be well and have a great weekend.

    2. I am going to try some of your ideas#trafficjamweekend@_karendenbid199@gmail. Is

    3. Thanks Karen. Appreciate the visit and wish you good health eating more plant-based protein. Happy Holiday WE too.


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Hope you enjoyed your visit and will return again. Be well. Live well. Lead a colorful life! Warm regards, Nan