How to Switch from Animal-Based to Plant-Based Protein Dishes
Protein is one major component of our bodies. It makes up all our connective tissues and bones. Each cell of our body holds about 42 million protein molecules. With all these data about protein, it is safe to summarise that our body needs protein to function properly. However, there is a long-time misconception that proteins can only be obtained from animal-based foods. This myth is due to the belief that as muscles are made up of protein, they must be rich in it. Although animal-based food products are indeed good sources of complete protein, a combination of plants and vegan supplements may offer you the same, if not more, amounts of protein.
Switching to Plant-based Proteins
When it comes to obtaining protein for your body, meat is not the only source. Studies from Harvard have revealed that reducing the intake of meat and increasing plant-based proteins is a healthier alternative. The trick to getting complete protein is to know the right plants to get your protein requirements from.
Tapering Down Animal-based Proteins
Meat-eaters may have a hard time quitting “cold turkey” on being a carnivore. Not to worry. You do not have to abstain from meat immediately. It is best to switch one serving of meat per day with a healthier plant-based alternative to get your protein requirements. For example, you can substitute a palm-sized serving of red meat with half a cup of beans or nuts and still get the same amounts of protein. When you stop making your animal-based food the main attraction of your plate, you will notice that your body is healthier over time.
Plant Sources of Proteins
You can get your protein requirements from vegan supplements, as well as a variety of plants. Whole grains, such as wheat, barley, millet, and quinoa, are good sources of protein. These grains can also supplement your carbohydrate requirements for the day. Likewise, you can also get your protein requirements from nuts, such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, and cashews. Nuts can also supply your body with unsaturated fatty acids, which are healthy for your body. The richest sources of plant-based proteins come from the legume family. Peas, kidney beans, lima beans, split peas, and lentils are examples of legumes that offer high concentrations of protein. Meanwhile, soybean, which is also part of the legume family, can be made into tofu, a plant-based alternative for meat because of its texture and protein content.
The Fun in Mixing Plant-Based Protein Sources
One of the best things in switching from animal-based to plant-based protein is the creativity in your meal planning. The best way to create a balanced protein dish is to incorporate beans and whole grains into a hearty soup. Another way is to use beans and nuts into stir-fried dishes to replace meat, or transform your beans into a bean salsa or hummus. You can get ideas from different foreign cuisines to create plant-based dishes that will not be monotonous and boring. The main point in being creative with your dishes is to enjoy your plant-based meal while reducing your dependency on meat or animal-based products.
Completing Your Protein Requirements
While you reduce meat in your meals, you should be aware that not all plant-based proteins can give you the complete essential amino acids that your body requires. Vegetables, nuts, and grains have incomplete proteins, meaning they have low amounts of essential amino acids. However, you can combine them into your meal plan to create complementary proteins to give comparable benefits. Likewise, do a little research and find out which essential amino acids are lacking from your plant-based dishes; then get your supply from different vegan supplements available in the market.