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Why We Should Have More Vegetarian Protein and Where We Can Get It

Why We Should Have More Vegetarian Protein and Where We Can Get It

Tell someone that you are a vegetarian and it is quite likely that the first thing you will be asked is, “But where do you get your protein?” A vegan friend of mine used to say that she felt as though she spent a significant part of her life explaining vegetarian protein[1] to people.

Consuming the right amount of protein is important but how does plant-based protein compare to proteins derived from meat?

Animal Protein vs. Vegetarian Protein

When digested, protein is broken down into amino acids which are required for most metabolic processes. The main difference between animal protein and vegetarian protein is the types of amino acids that they contain.

Animal proteins are regarded as “complete” since they contain all of the essential amino acids. Vegetarian protein are sometimes viewed as being “incomplete” as some may lack one or more amino acid.[2]

However, there are various plants that are “complete” such as hemp seeds, quinoa, chlorella, and bee pollen. Furthermore, it is easy to combine different plant foods to have complete protein in your meals.

What are the Health Benefits of Vegetarian Protein

The good news is that you do not necessarily have to be a vegetarian to benefit from a plant-based diet! You can simply incorporate more vegetarian meals into your lifestyle. In fact, according to the American Dietetic Association, “appropriately-planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” [3]

These are 5 health benefits of vegetarian protein:

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  • You will lower your intake of cholesterol and unhealthy saturated fat which will lower the chances of heart disease.[4]
  • More plant-rich meals decrease the risk of some cancers.[5]
  • Animal proteins have little to no fiber. A vegetarian meal provides a good source of fiber which will lower blood cholesterol and minimize the risks of diabetes.
  • Plant-based foods are more alkalizing since they have a higher pH, thereby helping your kidneys to be healthier as well as preventing kidney stones.[6]
  • Vegetarian foods decrease your chance of developing a stroke or becoming obese.[7]

10 Great Sources of Vegetarian Protein[8]

Tofu

    These days there are many options of foods made from soy, which is a well-known source of protein. Tofu has about 20 grams in half a cup!

    Beans

    Beans come in a range of options that are rich in nutrients that nourish your brain, heart, and muscles. There are roughly 26 grams of protein in two cups of kidney beans.

    Lentils

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      Just one cup has 18 grams of protein, which is equivalent to the protein in three eggs but with less than one gram of fat!

      Quinoa

      Quinoa has more than 8 grams per cup. This includes all the 9 essential amino acids your body requires for growth and repair. Let’s not forget it is also an excellent source of unsaturated fats and fiber!

      Edamame

        Everyone loves having a nibble on these whilst waiting for their sushi, but they are also packed with 8.4 grams of protein in half a cup.

        Peas

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        One cup of peas contains 7.9 grams of protein. On top of that, one cup has almost 100% of your daily requirement of vitamin C.

        Chickpeas

          There are so many ways chickpeas could be eaten – from hummus to salads. Not only do they have around 7.3 grams of protein in half a cup, but they are also high in fiber while being low in calories.

          Vegan Protein Powder

          This should be one that the bodybuilders will love. At 15-20 grams of vegan protein per scoop, it is one of the best fat burners.

          Greek yogurt

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            Probiotics are essential to the health of your digestive system.[9] Eating 7 oz of Greek yogurt will not only give you 20 grams of protein but also help your gut!

            Nuts

            Most nuts can be eaten as a snack. Almonds contain 12 grams of vegan protein in a quarter cup, while cashews contain 10 grams!

            Even Though Protein Is Good for You, You Should Not Consume Too Much of It

            In years gone by, people were taught to believe that there was no such thing as “too much protein”. In fact, Americans used to be told in the early 1900s that they needed to eat over 100 grams daily! Today’s recommended daily intake is almost half of this amount[10].

            Athletes and those who do strength training are also encouraged to eat high quantities of protein. Yet, the reality is that they require just slightly more protein.

            Consumption of too much protein has been linked to health problems such as heart disease, kidney disease (including kidney stones), osteoporosis, and some cancers.

            You can increase your health and decrease the risk of health problems by incorporating more vegetarian or vegan meals into your life. After all, the biggest animals in the world (elephants, giraffes, horses, cows, and dinosaurs) are/were vegan. There is a lot of protein in plants!

            Reference

            [1] One Green planet: 25 Delicious Vegan Sources of Protein (The Ultimate Guide!)
            [2] Eat This, Not That!: 26 Best Vegetarian Sources of Protein
            [3] National Center for Biotechnology Information: Position of the American Dietetic Association: vegetarian diets
            [4] National Center for Biotechnology Information: Could a vegetarian diet reduce exercise-induced oxidative stress? A review of the literature
            [5] National Center for Biotechnology Information: Vegetarian diets and the incidence of cancer in a low-risk population
            [6] National Center for Biotechnology Information: Optimum nutrition for kidney stone disease
            [7] National Center for Biotechnology Information: Clinical practice: vegetarian infant and child nutrition
            [8] Health: 14 Best Vegan and Vegetarian Protein Sources
            [9] Lifehack: 6 Ways Probiotics Heal More Than Your Gut
            [10] WebMD: How Much Protein Do You Need?

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            J.S. von Dacre

            Writer at Lifehack

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            Last Updated on March 13, 2019

            How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

            How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

            Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

            You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

            Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

            1. Work on the small tasks.

            When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

            Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

            2. Take a break from your work desk.

            Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

            Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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            3. Upgrade yourself

            Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

            The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

            4. Talk to a friend.

            Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

            Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

            5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

            If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

            Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

            Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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            6. Paint a vision to work towards.

            If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

            Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

            Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

            7. Read a book (or blog).

            The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

            Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

            Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

            8. Have a quick nap.

            If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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            9. Remember why you are doing this.

            Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

            What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

            10. Find some competition.

            Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

            Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

            11. Go exercise.

            Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

            Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

            As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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            Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

            12. Take a good break.

            Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

            Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

            Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

            Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

            More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

            Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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