“Where do you get your proteins?”: you might have been asked this at least ten times if you are a vegan. Or perhaps it’s the question you’ve asked a nutritionist, a friend, a new acquaintance, perhaps during a lunch when confronted with someone else’s choice of vegetables, legumes, and cereals. Contrary to general belief, the amount of protein we need daily – circa 1.0 mg for each kg of your weight, unless you are an athlete – is not only found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy, but also in vegetables. An example? 100 grams of broccoli have double the protein you find in beef.
A good source of plant based protein is cereal, wholewheats, brown rice, spelt, the fabulous quinoa: a very ancient cereal the Incas called «chisiya mama», mother of all grains. Rich in protein, it also contains phosphorus, magnesium, iron and zinc. It doesn’t have any gluten, and is ideal for excellent vegetarian meals similar to cous cous. It’s become a necessary ingredient for vegetarian recipes: Gwyneth Paltrow introduced salty and sweet quinoa recipes such as Quinoa Granola Gluten Free in her book It’s All Good.
You like ethnic food? You shouldn’t have to give up Mexican vegetable burritos, spicy Indian dahl or Middle-Eastern falafels. Legumes – beans, lentils, peas – are a great source of vegetable protein. Be careful to choose good dry legumes and cook them at home rather than buying them in conserves. If you like Asian food, tofu and tempeh will become your health’s and vegetable sautée’s new best friends. They are both by products of soy: the greatest camaleon of vegetarian cuisine! There are many drinks made with soy, or yogurts, delicacies, many are the gourmet transformations of soy, and if you are looking for a tasty snack with some protein in it try a good chocolate soy ice-cream during the summer season.
Two spoons of peanut butter have 10 mg of protein. We might not want to get all of our protein intake there considering the amount of fat, but we can mix it up with dry nuts, cashew nuts, flax seed oil, sesame, sunflower seeds (also rich in Omega 3!): tasty and delicious for breakfast or a snack during the day.
Many vegetables we usually eat in our diet are also rich in protein: broccoli, Brussels sprout, artichokes, soy bean sprouts, peppers, asparagus, are the ones that contain more protein. There are also many fruits: figs, peaches, avocado, chestnuts, coconuts, prunes, grapes, apples, apricots, are also at the top of the list.
There is great doubt when it comes to B12 which is found in animal products only, and usually is a good argument omnivores make during a conversation. What if we started to cook with algae, great for many recipes? The algae that containes more B12 is the light blue kind such as the spirulina and the one from lake Klamath. Try breaking them like a powder, add toasted sesame and salt, this will add flavor to any warm dish or salad!