What about Plant Sources?

pea on fork

pea on fork

As we’ve discussed elsewhere in this site, whey is the top ingredient in protein powders according to body building experts, weight loss coaches, and fitness trainers. At least currently! They promote this product for ease of digestion and instant results while also lauding this as a perfect protein. A scoop of whey in a shake contains the amount of amino acids muscles truly need to cope with the rigors of body building. But, what about vegans just living ordinary, moderately active lives? Can they obtain all the protein they need from plants?

Can You Get Enough from Eating Plant Foods?

Plant-based sources of protein include dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, beans, and grains. Quinoa is rich in it; so are peas and kale. Vegans and vegetarians often replace meat, poultry, fish, and eggs with a variety of these foods but some vegans are still iron-deficient, even if they aren’t working out heavily. A doctor will sometimes have to recommend that the individual supplement her iron intake, eat more of her preferred nutrient-rich foods, or that she eat foods enhanced with powders derived from plants.

Getting Your Nutrition Needs from Plant: First, the Problems

The amount of any nutrient a person derives from a meal of kale and broccoli might not be enough to provide essential iron, support bone and blood health, provide energy, and maintain muscles. Someone who is not eating enough protein will often feel tired and weak. Bones might be brittle, hair will fall out, and fingernails split readily. Depression is common. While this individual’s food choices are healthy and low in fat, he or she has to eat a lot of them to get what he or she needs.

Now for the Solutions

Another way to consume protein is to drink a shake or eat a meal replacement bar. Many companies devoted to feeding vegans create powders containing all the nutrients from plants. This essential ingredient is concentrated and shoppers can see how much of their daily requirements is in each scoop or serving. That way it is easy for a person to gauge how much he should add to a smoothie.

For one example, our team here at the site looked at a brand of certified organic rice protein powder and discovered that in 1 serving (approximately 2 tablespoons or 17 grams), there were 11 grams of protein.

Powders vs a Plate of Plants

Should iron-deficient vegans switch to granulated forms? Probably not: there are other nutrients in the whole pant including fiber. The gut requires lots of fiber to help the body absorb nutrients and excrete waste. A better solution would be to mix things up: add a tasty shake at snack time but maintain the family meal time ritual which is also important. Consume a wide variety of vegan foods which include plants but also nuts and seeds, if possible.

Always opt for the highest-protein option at every meal. Oats contain it, but Quinoa is richer in the stuff. Remember that this is just one part of the body’s nutritional needs. Add omega fatty acids for brain health, fiber, calcium, vitamin C, and B vitamins and you soon realize there isn’t one type of food that will satisfy everything.

More importantly, mix up your plate because you will enjoy food more. If meals become boring, it’s too easy to skip them or switch to unhealthy, processed foods offering less nutrition, but more fat, sugar, and sodium.

Organic Options 2016