There is a lot of talk these days about plant-based protein. As many move away from the terms “vegan” and “vegetarian” because they personally find them intimidating, many nutritionists and even doctors are making reducing or eliminating meat as a protein source easier for people to accept by encouraging a plant-based diet or lifestyle.
No matter what you call it, eating less meat, or even eliminating meat all together from your diet is healthy. Of course you cannot eat excessive amounts of any food, but switching to proteins that come from plants rather than animals can address a variety of health concerns, including type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity.
You may want to eat more plant-based proteins, but you are not sure where to start. Lack of knowledge is a hurdle many omnivores can find intimidating.
Here is just a partial list of plant-based proteins to look for:
- Almonds, unsalted
- Black beans
- Brown rice, long grain with high fiber content
- Cashews, unsalted
- Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, chana or ceci beans
- Kidney beans, red or pink
- Lentils, French or brown
- Lima beans
- Nut butters such as almond, cashew and peanut, natural with no sugar added if possible
- Pinto beans
- Soybeans, roasted, unsalted
- Sunflower seeds, roasted, unsalted
- Textured vegetable protein, called TVP
Many vegetarians and vegans are not fans of processed foods and may shy away from items such as tofu, vegan/vegetarian hot dogs and vegan/vegetarian hamburgers, but they are also sources of non-animal based proteins. You will need to check the ingredient list for sodium percentages and if eating vegan, ensure there is no egg or egg product in the vegan/vegetarian hot dogs and hamburgers.
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