Getting Enough Protein on a Meat-Free Diet

I eat meat so rarely that people pretty much assume that I am a vegetarian. When I do order a dish with chicken or beef, I get a lot of wide eyed stares and exclamations of surprise. Funny as it is, the only reason I really eat meat is so I can get the proper amount of protein in my diet. Since I am someone who is prone to getting anemic, or having low blood sugar levels occur very easily, I am always making sure to take the time to stock up on protein-rich foods.

With all that being said, I have been learning more and more about the very nature of protein, and where it can be found along the food chain. Much to my delight, my research and questions have led me to articles such as this helpful one by Greatist that encourages methods for getting adequate amounts of protein on a completely plant-based and meat-free dietary plan. If you are vegetarian, or just don’t eat meat often, you probably know that you need to be taking more steps than the average person in order to get enough protein in your body every day. Here are some helpful tips on how to do exactly that.

First, here’s a brief science recap for anyone else who dozed off in high school science class (or was that just me?). Protein is made up of amino acids, and there are twenty different types of amino acid that can build protein in the body. Unfortunately, there are nine amino acids that our bodies are incapable of producing, so they need to be acquired from an outside food source. While plenty of foods contain protein, it is especially important for vegetarians to look for foods that are complete proteins. This means that the protein is made up of all nine of these essential amino acids that our bodies need. 

If you want some meatless complete proteins in your diet, you’re in luck. Some of the healthiest complete proteins, other than meat and eggs, are quinoa and buckwheat. Both of these foods are fantastic staple ingredients that can be added to virtually any dish, and they are both loaded with vitamins and minerals that are crucial for maintaining a healthy body. If you’re looking for a more subtle way to add a complete protein into your diet, try using chia seeds. You can simply sprinkle these little guys into your morning oatmeal or protein shakes for a great start to the day. 

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