Getting Started - Protein Symbol

Getting Started - Protein Basics

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A you consider becoming a plant powered person, you probably wonder about getting enough protein. The good news is that getting enough protein in your plant based diet is much easier than you may expect. A plant powdered diet will provide plenty of healthy protein so you can be strong and fit, without the stuff you don’t need like cholesterol and saturated fat. First, here is a fun way to think about it, and then we can dive into a few details.

We measure the power of an engine by comparing it to the strength of horses, hence the “horsepower” of an automobile, for example. Horses (and other large animals such as oxen) were literally the engines of the world before the invention of the steam engine. And here is the thing about these powerful creatures: They are 100% plant powered! Horses only eat plants, and their strength is the way we still measure mechanical power. Likewise, eating a plant based diet will not only provide sufficient protein, but will also allow you to be, as they say, “strong as a horse”. Protein is present in virtually all plant foods in various amounts, and your body is quite good at finding the protein in the foods you eat and making good use of it. Feed you body a high quality plant based diet and you will be building a strong body.

Now a few details. The plant derived foods you are eating now are providing protein for your body. That’s right. You are already getting lots of protein from plants! For example, the grains in our breads, bagels, muffins, cereal, and pasta all have varying amounts of protein. Add to that grains and seeds like rice, quinoa and chia. and there is a very solid foundation for protein. Let’s not forget about all the protein rich nuts you may be enjoying as snacks and in nut butters. Then there are all the beans that can supercharge protein intake in your diet in the form of chili, soup, humus, and as a tasty side dish.

Okay, you say, but those foods without the meat portion of a meal don’t sound very satisfying, like what people are used to with foods such as a beef burger, scrambled eggs, or a ham sandwich. Those are the highly satisfying foods people crave, you say. Understandable, but there are many plant based options to fill in for those items.

For burgers there are many plant based alternatives that are not only healthy and protein rich, but also super tasty. Many times I have been with people trying "plant" burgers, for example, and they have regularly said the plant based burgers taste just as good or better than the meat version. There are also plant based options for bacon, deli meats, sausages, bacon, and now even scrambled eggs!

Yes, these plant based foods are different from what you might be used to, but the key point is that protein is easy to include in a plant based diet because all plants contain protein - it is literally everywhere! At Plant Powered People we will show you smart, simple ideas to make choosing protein packed plant based foods easy. Here are some great plant sources of protein to get you started:

To finish this introduction, here is a summary about protein to help you as you think about protein from plants.

First, plants and animals all use the same 20 amino acids to build their proteins. Living things are built from the same stuff. That is amazing. And all animals get their protein amino acids from plants, either by eating plants or from their prey that eat plants somewhere along the food chain.

Your body can make eleven of the 20 amino acids. Very nifty. It cannot make nine of them, and these are known as “essential amino acids” because you have to get them in your diet since your body cannot make them.

As you know, meat is considered a “complete protein”. This means it contains all 20 of the amino acids needed by your human body to build the proteins it needs. Yup, your body uses those amino acids to build its own human proteins. It does not need cow protein or fish protein or any other critter’s protein because those proteins cannot be used by humans. Nor can plant proteins be used by humans.

Each human body takes apart the protein it gets from any source, animal or plant, so it can recombine the amino acids from the protein to make the over 70,000 different human proteins it uses to build and maintain the body. Because not all or enough of these amino acids are in every plant (although all and enough are in some plants), it is important to eat a variety of plant based items to provide your body the opportunity to obtain all of them in sufficient quantities. But you don’t have to worry, as the amino acids you need are easily found in plants, and you don’t have to get all the amino acids at each meal. Include just a few basic protein sources in your food choices throughout the day and your protein needs will be met. Your body knows what to do.

Finally, if you want a super easy assurance of getting your essential amino acids, a protein supplement is a simple option to make you feel confident as you move into the world of Plant Powered People. Below is a link to MRM Nutrition, maker of my favorite protein supplement. It tastes really great, has excellent ingredients, and has all the essential amino acids.

MRM Nutrition

So whirl up a shake, if you like, and rev up for your plant protein powered life!

Plant Powered People

Vegan Nutrition Tips, Ideas & News for making plant based menu choices. Add more plants to your diet one step at a time with our ideas & suggestions.


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