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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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            Last Updated on June 24, 2019

            15 Easy-to-Make Crockpot Freezer Meals for Busy Nights

            15 Easy-to-Make Crockpot Freezer Meals for Busy Nights

            You work all day, and you come home exhausted and hungry. Naturally, the last thing you want to do is to spend hours in the kitchen cooking dinner. If you love cooking, but your busy schedule doesn’t allow you to cook every night, you can simplify your life by making crockpot freezer meals. These meals will allow you to still eat homemade, healthy, filling dinners without the countless hours and enormous effort spent in the kitchen. You can store the simple ingredients in freezer bags and put them in the crockpot when it is time for dinner, or you can cook over the weekend and stock your freezer with delicious ready meals that will make your life easier. Here are 15 easy-to-make recipes to make delicious dinners for busy nights!

            1. Cheesy Tortellini With Ground Beef

            Cheesy tortellini with ground beef

              This is a perfect crockpot freezer meal that even your kids will love. The best thing of all is that it’s incredibly easy to prepare. All you have to do is crumble some ground beef and combine all the recipe’s ingredients in your crockpot. The other ingredients needed for this super delicious meal include tomatoes, herbs, and onions. Tortellini is one of the most commonly ordered meals when eating out, but this way you will get to eat a homemade, healthier version of the popular dish. Find the recipe here.

              2. Cranberry Pork Roast

              Cranberry pork roast

                Cranberry pork roast is a gluten-free meal that everyone can make, regardless of their culinary skills. The dish requires only these few ingredients: onion, cranberry sauce, bone-in pork shoulder, and honey. To prepare this mouthwatering dish, simply combine all the ingredients together in the crockpot and let them cook. If you don’t like pork or if you prefer not to eat it, you can easily use beef as a substitute without impacting the flavor. Click here to see the recipe.

                3. Greens and Beans

                Greens and beans

                  Greens and beans are the ideal dishes if you want a dish that is both delicious and nutrient-dense. Combine vegetable broth with beans, garlic, kale, escalore, and Parmesan, and let cook. The result will be a dish with a soup-like consistency that will fill you up and provide you with a lot of vitamins and minerals.

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                  As a bonus, if you or someone else in your family suffer from rheumatoid arthritis or some other common types of arthritis, greens and beans can reduce the inflammation. That’s because kale and other veggies rich in Vitamin K are anti-inflammatory and are known for relieving arthritis. Click here and start cooking!

                  4. Chicken Curry

                  Chicken curry

                    That is yet another gluten-free recipe that you’ll love to make. Chicken curry requires basic ingredients such as tomato paste, coconut milk, honey, onions, and garlic, in addition to chicken and curry of course.The result is a sweet and spicy dish where different flavors are perfectly balanced. Find the recipe here.

                    5. Honey Sesame Chicken

                    Honey sesame chicken

                      Honey sesame chicken is a simple and effortless dish that delivers an amazing taste. To make this wonderful recipe, you have to combine all the ingredients except for the sesame seeds and green onions and let them cook. Use the sesame seeds and green onions for garnish when serving. Click here for the full recipe.

                      6. Mushroom Spinach Stroganoff

                      Mushroom spinach stroganoff

                        In this warm weather, many people opt to eat lighter food that is easy on the stomach. Mushroom spinach stroganoff fits the bill being a vegetable version of a famous comfort food that you and your family will love. The dish requires simple ingredients such as sour cream, onion, garlic, ketchup, vegetables, and mushrooms. This dish is very simple to make, and thanks to your crockpot, you won’t have much work to do. Find the recipe here.

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                        7. Stuffed Peppers

                        Stuffed peppers

                          If you’re looking for a healthy, simple, and delicious recipe, you’ll love this one! These crockpot stuffed peppers are easy to make, and they require only a few ingredients such as ground turkey or beef, onion, garlic, bell peppers, and pasta sauce. This meal will remind you of grandma’s kitchen. You can find the recipe here.

                          8. Cilantro and Lime Chicken

                          Cilantro and lime chicken

                            Summer is the perfect season to experiment with more exotic flavors, and this meal can help you do just that. To make cilantro and lime chicken, you will need to combine some simple ingredients such as lime, jalapeno peppers, fresh cilantro, and salsa. The result is chicken that is super tender and that you’ll want to make over and over again, so get the recipe here.

                            9. Beef Fajitas

                            Beef fajitas

                              This is an excellent meal for busy weeknights. The best thing about this recipe is that the required ingredients are probably already there in your kitchen. The recipe is also quite simple — combine all the items in a crockpot, cover, and let cook.

                              The result will be beef and peppers that melt in your mouth. You can easily pair this beef fajita with rice and tortillas and get a meal that the entire family will love. You can find the recipe for this delicious beef fajita here.

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                              10. Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

                              Asian chicken lettuce wraps

                                Asian chicken lettuce wraps are sweet, slightly salty and very easy to make. All you need to do is add the chicken, red bell pepper, carrots, soy sauce, honey, garlic and the other ingredients to your crockpot and let them cook. You can also replace the chicken with beef or turkey if you like. The presence of different flavors gives this meal a summer flavor you are sure to love. Learn how to make this meal here.

                                11. Hawaiian Chicken

                                Hawaiian chicken

                                  This dish enjoys phenomenal exotic tones due to pineapple and lemon flavors. To make this yummy crockpot freezer meal, you need skinless chicken breasts, peppers, ginger and corn starch, in addition to the iconic pineapple and lemon. Learn how to make this perfect summer dinner here.

                                  12. Beef and Barley Stew

                                  Beef and barley stewd

                                    Beef and barley stew is as healthy as it is delicious. Not to mention it’s incredibly easy to make. Besides the beef and barley, you’ll also need carrots, peppers, herbs and beef broth. The result will be a mouthwatering stew that you can serve alone or over white rice. Get the recipe here.

                                    13. Meatball Soup

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                                    Meatball soup

                                      This soup is very delicious, easy to make and quite versatile. You will be able to swap ingredients and experiment to find your perfect combination. To make this meatball soup, you will need to combine meatballs with pasta sauce, chicken broth, carrots, beans, zucchini, and onion. You can view the recipe here.

                                      14. Turkey Black Bean Chili

                                      Turkey black bean chili

                                        Everybody loves chili and for good reason — it’s very delicious, and it’s a perfect combination of different flavors that balance each other out. To make this chili, you’ll need ground turkey, tomato sauce, black beans, paprika, frozen corns, and a few other ingredients. You can get the full recipe here and have this delicious dish ready when you come back from work on those busy nights.

                                        15. Ham and Pinto Bean Soup

                                        Ham and pinto bean soup

                                          What makes soups special is the fact they’re tasty, healthy and filling at the same time. This soup is no exception. The best quality of this ham and pinto bean soup, however, is its simplicity; it requires only five ingredients: ham, beans, ketchup, salt, and water. Learn how to make this soup here.

                                          Conclusion

                                          With a demanding work week and a busy schedule, it’s normal to have a low energy level by the time you get home. If you don’t feel like standing in the kitchen and cooking dinner due to this, you don’t have to resort to junk food. These freezer crockpot meals offer you the perfect solution for healthy meals that require minimal preparation. You can either combine each recipe’s ingredients in a freezer bag to be thawed and cooked in a few minutes, or you can cook your meal and freeze it to be used later, it’s up to you.

                                          This article showed you 15 easy and simple recipes that you can make using your crockpot. All of these recipes contain anti-inflammatory foods whether it is in the form of vegetable, herbs or spices to improve your overall health and wellbeing.

                                          Featured photo credit: Google via bettycrocker.com

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