I’m sure some of you must have heard the saying:

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

(Albert Einstein)

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But how true is this adage… Answer – VERY

Let me explain WHY? Many of the world’s most important health advisory bodies are now in complete agreement – a vegetarian diet is one of the healthiest possible. The closer it is to being vegan, the healthier it becomes. Here, I will share some of the health statements that have been made over the years in regard to vegetarian and vegan diets.

THE BRITISH MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (BMA) said:

 “Vegetarians have lower rates of obesity, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, large bowel disorders, cancers and gall stones. Cholesterol levels tend to be lower in vegetarians.” 

Isn’t it amazing?

There was another news in the media by WHO which was actually a call for the world to go vegetarian –  THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION stated forthrightly that a diet rich in animal products promotes heart disease, cancer and several other diseases.It said that diets associated with increases in chronic diseases are those rich in sugar, meat and other animal products, saturated fat and dietary cholesterol and added:

“If such trends continue, the end of this century will see cardiovascular (heart) disease and cancer established as major health problems in every country in the world.” And, of course, its predictions have been proved absolutely correct. 

ACADEMY OF NUTRITION & DIETETICS previously known as American Dietetic Association also stated that:

“…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. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes. …a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease. Vegetarians also appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than non-vegetarians. Furthermore, vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates.”

Convinced yet with the statements? Lets read more…. And I will explain some of the high protein plant based foods, which are not so popular. One of the challenges for non-meat eaters is making sure they get enough protein every day. But it’s not as big a deal as many think.  Like most of the nutrients from quality food, a little goes a long way.

Protein is an essential nutrient that plays a key role in how our bodies function. But too much protein is associated with several diseases. It is more important to eat a varied diet than to isolate and focus on any one nutrient. Including more plant sources of protein will also offer more health benefits including more fiber and nutrients. There are lots of nutrient dense foods with high protein content; and lots of delicious ways to get your plant based protein fix. But the question is:

HOW MUCH PROTEIN DO YOU REALLY NEED?

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein for the average adult is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. Take your weight (in pounds) X 0.36 = average recommended protein intake (in grams). Below is a variety of not so obvious plant based foods you can get your protein from. I will share the recipes as well… So, here we go…

1- QUINOA:

Protein: 8 grams per 1 cup serving, cooked

Quinoa has the highest nutritional profile & a complete source of protein. It cooks the fastest of all grains. Quinoa can take the place of rice; it only needs to be rinsed instead of soaked, and it only takes about 15-20 minutes to cook, compared to 40-45 minutes for brown rice. One of my very favorites recipes ‘Baby Spinach & Quinoa Salad’ is a must try!

Baby Spinach & Quinoa Salad

RECIPE:

Ingredients:

  • 1cup quinoa
  • 1packet of baby spinach
  • 1red capsicum, thinly sliced
  • 1cup snow peas
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup pistachio nuts
  • Flaxseed oil

Method:

– Rinse & drain quinoa before cooking in 2cups of water. Bring to the boil, & then simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the water is absorbed.

– Wash and prepare the salad ingredients.

– Combine all ingredients in a large bowl & drizzle with flaxseed oil to serve…. Easy peazy.

2- HEMP SEEDS:

Protein: 10 grams per 2 tablespoon serving

Hemp seeds are packed with 33% pure digestible protein, and are rich in iron, amino acids, and vitamin E, as well as omega-3s and Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). They increase energy levels & metabolic rate, lower blood pressure, reduce symptoms of PMS and menstrual cramps. Sharing below one of the delicious recipes…

Grated Carrot and Celery Root Salad with Hemp Seeds

RECIPE:

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled
  • 8 oz. celery root, peeled
  • 3 green onions, chopped (¼ cup)
  • ¼ cup shelled hemp seed
  • 2 tsp. mustard paste
  • 2 tsp. white vinegar
  • 4 tsp. hemp seed oil

Method:

1. Grate carrots and celery root. Transfer to bowl, and stir in green onions and hemp seed.

2. Whisk together mustard paste and vinegar in small bowl. Whisk in hemp seed oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add vinaigrette to carrot and celery mixture, and toss to coat.

3- RICE AND KIDNEY BEANS:

Kidney beans provide 7grams of protein per 1cup serving. Kidney beans are a hearty food as well. One of the simplest, cheapest, and vegan-est meals in existence is also one of the best sources of protein around. Most beans are low in methionine and high in lysine, while rice is low in lysine and high in methionine. Put ‘em together and what do you got? Protein content on par with that of meat. These meals are a great way to load up on protein and carbohydrates after an intense workout. After reading this I’m sure you are gonna add this super food combo to your post workout meals, right!!! ☺ Sharing one recipe here; you can do experiments, & create your own recipe guys.

Asian Red Beans Stew 

RECIPE:

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlics, minced
  • 1 28-ounce diced tomatoes
  • 2 15-ounce red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, low sodium kind recommended
  • 1-1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, ground or fresh
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 ounces baby spinach
  • Brown rice, for serving

Method

1. In a large pot, sauté the onion over medium heat until it begins to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.

2. Add all of the ingredients except for the spinach and stir to combine. Cover and bring the pot to a boil.

3. Once a full boil is reached, lower the heat to medium low and allow the stew to cook at a gentle boil about 15 minutes.

4. Remove the cover from the pot and add all of the spinach. It’s okay if the pot is very full at this point; the spinach will cook down.

5. Put the cover back on and allow the spinach to steam about 30 seconds to 1 minute before stirring it into the stew to incorporate it.

6. Cook an additional 2 minutes then serve over cooked brown rice.

not so obvious high protein foods2

4Avocado:

If you don’t already love Avocado, well – what are you waiting for? Avocado is a protein rich food that provides about 5 grams of protein per 8 ounces mashed. Full of good fats that are great for your brain. This fruit is great added to any vegetarian diet. Taking it with 1 cup cooked sweet potatoes will give you 5 more grams of protein. Recipe below to find out how to mix these two wonder foods…

Avocado  Salad with Sweet Potatoe & Apple

RECIPE:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • ¼ cup unsalted hulled pumpkin seeds
  • 1 medium red apple, diced (1 cup)
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped (½ cup)
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • ½ avocado, finely diced

Method

1-  Place sweet potatoes in large saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and cook 3 minutes. Add corn, and cook 1 to 2 minutes more, or until potatoes are tender. Drain in colander and rinse under cold water to cool.

2- Toast pumpkin seeds in dry skillet over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes, or until seeds begin to pop. Transfer to plate, and cool.

3-  Combine apple, onion, and lime juice in large bowl. Stir in sweet potatoes, corn, oil, & season with salt and pepper. Stir in avocado and toasted pumpkin seeds just before serving

5- PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH WITH SPROUTED GRAIN BREAD:

Peanut butter : 2 tablespoons has about 8 grams of protein

Sprouted grain bread: 2 slices contain 7-10 grams of protein

Pack a sandwich with vegan sprouted-grain bread and 2 tablespoon of peanut butter, provides a heaping dose of all the essential amino acids and plenty of healthy fats to boot. Yeah, so next time you’ll have your peanut butter sandwich without frowning ☺ ….. And this statement is for my hubby. 😛 He doesn’t like it.  I wonder why?

6- TOFU

Four ounces of tofu will get you about 9 grams of protein. And did you know  tofu is a cheap vegan’s best friend forever.  ☺

Tofu Fillets

RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 2 16-oz. pkg. extra-firm tofu, drained, rinsed, and cut into 3 slabs each
  • ½ cup soybean oil
  • 6 Tbs. Cajun spice blend
  • 4 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 4 tsp. sesame oil

Pesto

  • 6 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cups loosely packed coriander leaves
  • 4 whole green onions, chopped (½ cup)
  • ½ cup soybean oil
  • 4 Tbs. peeled and chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 small cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp. vinegar
  • ⅛ tsp. white pepper

Method:

1- Place tofu slabs in large shallow dish. Whisk together soybean oil, spice blend, soya sauce, and sesame oil. Pour over tofu slabs, and chill 1 hour, or overnight.

2- Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray, and arrange tofu slabs on prepared baking sheet. Bake tofu 12 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Remove, and cool.

To make Pesto:

3- Purée all ingredients with 1/2 cup water in food processor or blender until smooth. Slice each tofu slab into 2 triangles. Top with Pesto…. Voila!!

7- SPIRULINA

Protein: 6 grams per 1 tablespoon

Spirulina is world’s highest source of complete protein (65%) and it provides a vast array of minerals, trace elements, phytonutrients and enzymes. No green smoothie is complete without the inclusion of spirulina.

The powder is best, but it also comes in capsules and tablets. One popular brand is Green Nutritionals’ Hawaiian Pacifica, because it is the only powder that doesn’t taste like a pond.

Spirulina Smoothie

RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas
  • 1 tbsp. spirulina powder
  • 2 brazil nuts
  • 4 hazelnuts
  • 1 tbsp. almonds
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup water

Method:

Blend until smooth. Quick & simple and best food on the go.

8- HUMMUS & PITA

Protein: 7 grams per 1 whole-wheat pita and 2 tablespoons of hummus

The protein in wheat is pretty similar to that of rice, in that it’s only deficient in lysine. But chickpeas have plenty of lysine, giving us all the more reason to tuck into that Middle Eastern staple: hummus and pita. Hummus is great with nearly any raw vegetable and of course with pita. I will tell how to make hummus sauce, seriously it’s not that difficult.

HUMMUS SAUCE

RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried chick peas (soaked overnight)
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3/4 cup tahini (also called sesame seed paste)
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more to taste
  • 1/2 cup filtered water, plus 1/2 cup or more as needed
  • sea salt to tatse

 Method

1- Rinse the soaked chickpeas well, put in saucepan with 9 cups filtered water, plus 1 tablespoon of sea salt. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat, uncovered, for 2 hours or until the chick peas are soft. As foam rises to the top, skim this off and discard. The foam contains the impurities of the beans (supposedly!) and is best to remove. You may need to add more water as it cooks down.

2- In a food processor, chop the garlic cloves. Add tahini, lemon juice and 1/2 cup water, process until smooth and well combined.

3- Add cooked and drained chickpeas and cayenne to the bowl of the food processor with the tahini mixture. Process until well blended while adding additional 1/2 cup or more of water, as needed.

4- Add sea salt to taste, as needed.

5- Once blended, process another minute or so. The extra processing adds air to the hummus which gives the recipe a light, pleasing texture.

So my ending note would be; try these recipes that taste insanely good and are insanely good for your body, of course. The key is to nourish yourself with a variety of whole foods. You’ll get plenty of protein from above mentioned plant based foods. There are more meal options using plant-based foods than there are with animal products anyway. It’s not like you’ll get bored eating salad all the time. That rabbit food stereotype (boring-bland-flavorless) is long outdated.

It also becomes clearer that plant foods not only provide a great source of protein packaged with a bounty of essential nutrients, they also use far less resources like water, land, labor, and produce far less pollution in the process. So, have fun with it. It’s much easier than you think.

So Eat healthy, Stress less, Respect your body & Nourish it with love and care. (My lifestyle philosophy)!!!

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