Protein (Pt. 2) – sustainable sources and easy tips

Happy Saturday beautiful people ❤️ I hope you’ve all had a lovely week!

Last week, I shared my “Protein (Pt. 1) blog post with you all where I explained what it is, why we need it, how much we need and where to get it. Last week’s post was more theoretical; if you’ve missed it, click here PROTEIN (Pt. 1) – why we need it, where to get it and how much…

This week’s post takes a more practical approach. I’m going to share some high protein foods that you may be unaware of, some easy ways to increase (plant) protein in your diet and which protein sources are better for both our health and that of the planet – WIN WIN 🙂

First and foremost, while I do strongly believe that we all need to start shifting more towards a plant based diet for more reasons than one, I am sharing unbiased, scientifically based, nutrition information here. This or any information I do share here is founded on my studies and research.

The way we choose to eat and the types of foods we consumer are based on more than personal choice alone. It depends on our culture, the way we are brought up, our socio-economic background, religious beliefs and much more.

For this reason, I do ask that we do not judge one another and each others’ food choices – if you are having a discussion with someone and you know that their diet is poor and you want to help, direct them to trusted sources, have a kind conversation and come at it from a place of education and helpfulness not judgement – we need more of that in everything – just a little thought to start!

REMEMBER: WE CAN ONLY DO BETTER ONCE WE KNOW BETTER!

Plant Foods Rich in Protein

Moving more towards a plant based diet is the one thing you can do to help improve both personal health and the health of the planet. The importance of moving more and more towards a plant based diet on a global scale cannot be overstated. Seeing as heart disease and obesity related illnesses are today’s BIGGEST killers worldwide, our diet and lifestyle are of utmost importance and clearly out of sync. A plant based diet not only contains less harmful fats, tends to be lower in calories overall but also contains far more fibre – this is SO IMPORTANT for hearth health and preventing obesity!

A plant based diet is not necessarily a diet that is totally vegan or even vegetarian, technically, a plant based diet is one where 66% of the total calories consumed within a 24 hour period come from plants!

If you’d like to learn more, here are some links you might find interesting Why do we need FIBRE?, Online workshop – An introduction to plant based eating, Is going VEGAN actually healthy?

Tofu and soy products

As I mentioned in my Protein post last week, soy products are plant based foods that are COMPLETE PROTEINS – this means that they contain the full amino acid profile required by the human body. Unlike most plant protein sources which only contain some but not all of the essential amino acids.

Therefore, adding soy products such as tofu, edamame, soy milk and tempeh to your diet is an easy way of incorporating high quality protein without including any animal foods whatsoever.

Nuts, nut butters and seeds

Nuts, nut butters and seeds are also very rich protein sources. Despite being incomplete protein sources, combining nuts and seeds with other foods such as nuts over yogurt or seeds mixed in with oats or even topping your avocado toast with a little extra crunch, nuts, nut butters and seeds pack a big protein punch together with good fats that keep your heart healthy! They also make a great no-fuss snacking option.

Grains

Despite being thought of mostly as a carbohydrate dense food, grains can also contain a lot of protein. Use them with a mix of other plant based protein sources such as beans, lentils and top your pasta dishes with nuts or seeds to ensure you’re getting all the essential amino acids.

Beans and lentils

Both beans and lentils are nutrient powerhouses that have sustained many population for centuries! They are humble, incredibly cheap and very sustainable and can be made into magical delicious dishes. They are amazing complex plant foods that contain so many important nutrients including lots of protein and fibre. Have a look at the ‘RECIPES’ tab on my homepage – I love cooking with lentils and beans; try out a new recipe or two to find some family faves and make sure you incorporate them into your diet.

Sustainable Protein Sources

All foods that are made from any form of meat or animal product, seafood, eggs, dairy, beans, nuts, seeds, legumes and soy form part of the PROTEIN food group that is fundamental to our health. The problem is however, that the way we consume protein, the way it is raised, farmed and gets to our tables is leaving a heavy strain on the environment – both land and sea.

In the face of increased global population and ever changing eating patterns whereby many populations are becoming richer and thus now being able to consume meat daily, while many communities are now more modernized and eat out more often and tend to consumer meaty, fatty and fast foods (which are notoriously wasteful), the Earth cannot sustain 7.9 billion people.

Six areas of innovation have been identified, on which the coalition plans to focus (PDF) its attention to meet future demand sustainably.

The six areas are: increase the proportion of plant-based protein consumption with consumers; scale up sustainable feed innovation to meet the demand for animal protein; close the protein nutrient loop (for example, reducing waste rich in protein by finding new ways to return it to the production cycle); develop indigenous plants as protein sources for local communities; scale up sustainable aquaculture for food and animal feed; and restore soil health.“” – source – ‘Feeding 9 Billion People’

As we can see, the first goal here is to increase our consumption of plant based protein options!

Despite having focussed solely on plant based protein sources in this post, I in no way mean that you can never consume animal foods in a healthy, balanced diet because of course you can! However we need to start thinking of animal foods as small components of our dishes rather than our main meal on a daily bases. What I find helpful is to make sure that we consumer a minimum of 5 vegan or at least vegetarian dinners a week. I do not like the idea of having restrictive food rules, as someone who has struggled with disordered eating personally and who has studied eating disorders, I in no way recommend being overly restrictive with your eating, however having a loose guideline of eating mostly vegan or vegetarian and home and then eating whatever you fancy when you’re out for dinner or ordering in or eating at a friends’ house will be helpful to both your health and to that of the planet!

That’s it from me for today – I’ll be back with a new blog post Every Single Saturday 🙂

If you like this, don’t forget to ‘like’ it – it helps let me know what you guys want to see more of!

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Thank you for taking the time to be here and read this ❤️

Until next week, be well xXx

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