If you've been wanting to experiment with plant-based eating, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to protein:
1. You can absolutely get enough protein on a plant-based diet. Some of your loved ones, colleagues, and complete strangers will ask you how you get enough protein as a vegetarian/vegan. Feel free to politely let them know it is not only possible, it's very easy.
2. Just because a food has protein in it, doesn't mean it's a complete protein. Complete proteins have all 9 essential amino acids and are absorbed really well by our bodies.
In this post, I want to share with you how to make a complete protein with plant-based food combining.
Grains + Legumes = Complete
For grains, think rice, bread, millet, oats, pasta, etc. For legumes, think beans, lentils , & peas. Combining grains and legumes make a protein complete. Many traditional dishes do this already, such as beans and rice, lentils and daal, pasta with cannellini beans. Our ancestors knew what they were doing when they combined foods together. When in doubt, think about tradition!
Legumes + Nuts = Complete
Legumes are also made complete when they are combined with nuts and seeds. Hummus is a fantastic example of this because its base is chickpeas and sesame seed. If you want to get extra complete, eat hummus with pita or crackers!
Nuts + Grains = Complete
This one is my absolute favorite because...peanut butter toast! 'nuff said.
Dairy + Legumes/Grains/Nuts = Complete
If you're still eating dairy, such as cheese, yogurt, and milk, these proteins are completed with almost any other plant-based protein. Add dairy to grains, ex. crackers & cheese. Add dairy to nuts, ex. yogurt & walnuts. Add dairy to legumes, ex. ricotta & pasta. And you'll have a complete protein. **Bonus, eggs are the exact same: Ex. eggs and toast!
Quinoa & Soy
There are two magic plant-based proteins that don't need anything to complete them, and these are quinoa and soy. Quinoa is a grain, pictured above, that comes in multiple colors. The one you'll find most easily at the store is tan quinoa. It's delicious as a savory food or as a sweet food for an oatmeal substitute.
Soy is the other magic protein. It's complete all on its own and is a great source of plant-based protein. The only thing to keep in mind with soy is that it is an estrogenic food, which means it can mimic estrogen in the body. For some people, this is no problem. For others, especially with underlying hormonal health conditions, soy may not be the best protein option for you.
Enjoy experimenting with plant-based! As always, I'm here to help if you meet any roadblocks! Be well!