Written by Lisa Petty, MA RHOP
For a variety of reasons, you might be cutting back on the animal foods in your diet – at the same time you’re concerned about how to meet your daily requirements for protein. Luckily, plant foods are powerful and delicious sources of protein that you can easily incorporate into your meals and snacks.
START WITH SEEDS
Seeds contain all the nutrients required for a plant to start and sustain early life. With 8 grams of protein per cup, for example, quinoa is a grain-like seed that also provides magnesium, antioxidants, and fibre. Amaranth offers 7 grams of protein per cup, along with a side order of iron, B vitamins and magnesium. Pumpkin seeds take protein content up a notch with 8 grams per ¼ cup.
SPROUTS FOR MAXIMUM PROTEIN
In order to stall germination until optimum growing conditions occur, seeds contain anti-nutrients including phytic acid, enzyme inhibitors and lectins that can cause digestion problems and impaired absorption in humans. The trick to de-activating these anti-nutrients is to start seed germination by sprouting. This breaks down starches and makes it easier for you to digest plant nutrients without bloating and gas. As a bonus, sprouting is associated with higher enzyme activity in plant foods, as well as the B-vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, iron, zinc and the phytonutrient sulforaphane.
Sprouting also increases amino acids, which will help you with your goal to eat more protein. Compared to raw quinoa, for example, sprouted quinoa provides 30% more antioxidants and higher concentrations of yaminobutyric acid (GABA). Germinated brown rice also contains higher levels of glutamic acid, alanine, and glycine versus the raw grain. The net result is undeniably better nutrition.
Add a scoop of Iron Vegan Sprouted Protein to your morning smoothie for an extra 18 grams of plant-based protein derived from 5 organic, non-GMO sprouted grains and seeds including brown rice, amaranth, millet, pumpkin seed, and quinoa. Available in delicious vanilla, chocolate, salted caramel and unflavoured.
For 16 grams of protein on-the-go, try Iron Vegan Sprouted Protein™ bars. Available in Coconut Cashew Cluster, Double Chocolate Brownie, Peanut Chocolate Chip and Sweet and Salty Caramel, these bars are also an excellent source of fibre.