I'm not a vegan or vegetarian, but over the past several years I've cut my consumption of red meat wayyyy down. I can't pinpoint exactly when it was (nor can I deny that I still think steak and burgers are delicious), but I started to feel not so good anytime I consumed red meat. It was harder to digest, and left me feeling tired and overly full.
I still eat animal sources of protein (i.e. eggs, chicken, seafood), but I'm much more conscious of ethical farming and try to opt for healthier, more sustainable options such as free range, grass-fed, buying local, antibiotic free, etc. I generally feel my best when I consume more foods that are higher protein/fat (i.e. lean chicken, shrimp, eggs, egg whites, avocados, dark chocolate, nuts), and less foods that are higher in carbohydrates (i.e. smaller portions of oats, brown rice, quinoa, yams). However, this doesn't mean that my diet is high in meat and eggs. Over the last year in particular, I've made an effort to research plant-based sources of protein - I've noticed that by incorporating these into my diet, I have more energy, my digestion is better, and I'm more satisfied with the variety in my daily food consumption.
Here's a list of my favourite plant-based sources of protein:
1. Black beans - 8g protein per 1/2 cup
2. Brussels Sprouts - 3g protein per 1 cup
3. Green peas - 8g protein per 1 cup
4. Lentils - 9g protein per 1/2 cup
5. Gluten free rolled oats - 6g protein per 1/2 cup (can vary with type of oats/brand)
6. Pumpkin seeds - 8g protein per 1/4 cup
7. Chia seeds - 5g protein per 2 tbsp
8. Spinach - 5g protein per 1 cup
9. Broccoli - 5g protein per 1 cup
10. Almonds/almond butter - 7g protein per 1 cup nuts/2 tbsp almond butter
11. Spirulina - 4g protein per 1 tbsp
12. Peanut butter - 8g protein per 2 tbsp
13. Chickpeas - 6-8g protein per 1/2 cup (depends on brand)
14. Green beans - 4g protein per 1/2 cup
15. Hemp seeds - 13g protein per 3 tbsp
There you go! I love the variety and diversity that the foods listed above add to my daily diet - it keeps me on my toes in the kitchen, and ensures that I never get bored with my food. Even though some of these foods are not "complete proteins" (i.e. a source of protein that contains adequate amounts of all 9 amino acids), they provide so many other nutrients (i.e. Vitamin C, iron, fibre, magnesium, antioxidants). And since I'm able to get complete proteins through the chicken, fish, eggs, etc. that I also consume regularly, I'm happy to incorporate these powerful plant-based foods into my diet!
Thanks for reading! xo