I think this is probably the most common question I have gotten since changing my eating habits. It seems to be a common myth among Americans that you can only get enough protein by eating animal products. Prior to changing to a plant-based diet, I never really thought about how much protein I was taking in on an average day. Now, all-of-the-sudden it’s one of my main concerns when preparing my food. Protein is the major structural component of all cells in the body. It replaces old cells with new cells and transports important nutrients. According to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for both men and women is 0.80 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. I weight around 145 pounds, which is approximately 65.9 kilograms making my RDA around 53 grams a day. According to The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), the average American actually gets too much protein, almost twice as much as we really need. So, to answer this question, I’m going to share with you an example of how to satisfy your protein requirements eating only plant-based foods. Below are the delicious meals I prepared today and their protein content:
Breakfast: Smoothie containing spinach 2 cups (I absolutely LOVE my spinach), 1 banana, 2T almond butter and apple juice. I can’t say this enough, INVEST IN A NUTRABULLET!
Total protein intake – 16 grams
100% Whole Wheat English Muffin topped with 1T of raw honey and 1 Tablespoon of sliced almonds Total protein intake – 7 grams
Snack: Apples slices with 1T walnuts Total protein intake – 1 gram
Lunch: Veggie sandwich with Ezekial 100% Sprouted Whole Grain Bread, sliced cucumber, 1T red pepper hummus, pesto, spinach, tomato and onion. (Delicious) Total protein intake – 11.5 grams
Snack: Trader Joe’s Whole Grain Crispbread 1 cracker Total Protein – 4 grams
Dinner: Home-made (vegan) Falafal Pita with non-dairy tzaziki (cucumber) sauce, shredded lettuce, onions and tomato and 1/2 cup of black beans on the side. Total Protein – 31.9 grams
Evening snack: banana ice cream (invest in a banana ice cream maker like a Yonana or an Excelvan frozen dessert maker) Total protein – 1.4 grams
TOTAL DAILY PROTEIN INTAKE – 72.8 grams!
Now, you can see how I easily get enough protein eating a plant-based diet. I never realized how much protein was in whole grains and just look at those beans!