Plant-Based Protein: The Low Down

Since the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 there has been a large shift towards veganism and plant-based eating. Although they're not the same. A vegan is an individual who abstains from animal based foods for a range of reasons however, most often for animal welfare. This isn't to say a vegan diet is neccessarily healthy. Chips are vegan... 

Plant-based eating is simply about adding more plants into your diet by basing the crux of your meals on plants. This is often adopted for health reasons. Individuals who consume more plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds often have a higher intake of micronutrients and fibre which is essential for gut function. 

Whilst we're not here to go into the pros and cons of the two dietary choices we are here to talk about one key macronutrient... Yes you guessed it... Protein. Traditionally when we think of protein sources we think of chicken, fish, beef, eggs etc. However, with a shift towards a more plant-based diet comes an awareness of our plant-based protein sources. 

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It is understood that animal-based protein sources has a much higher bioavaliability than those from plant-sources. This means more of the protein can be absored and utilised by the body. As a result when adopting either a vegan or a plant based diet it is essential that we are cautious of our protein intake. 

We should be consuming around 1g per kg body weight in protein. For example a typical 70kg male will require 70g of protein. For those who are physically active this may increase to around 1.2-1.5g and for athletes may be slightly higher still. it's also important to note that the kidneys cannot metabolise more than around 20g of protein at one time. You see where I'm going with this... All those high protein, protein shakes are causing expensive damage to your kidneys when you're consuming them regularly. 

So with the recommendations in mind below are a list of plant based protein sources and their quanitites per serving. 

Quinoa - 1/2 cup cooked = 5g protein
Chickpeas - 70g = 7g protein
Almonds - 25g = 5g protein
Tofu - 140g = 12g protein
Kidney beans - 80g = 11.5g protein
Buckwheat groats - 150g = 5g protein
Lentils - 100g = 9g protein
 

These foods are great as a bulking agent to salads. Quinoa, buckwheat, chickpeas, kidney beans and lentils can also be thrown into soups and stews to ensure you're hitting your daily requirements. 
The almonds and roasted chickpeas also make for a great snack as they'll keep you fuller for longer.