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Let’s talk about: plant-food protein

If you don’t eat meat, what are some of the best sources of plant protein?

Soy products e.g. tofu, tempeh, edamame, TVP (textured vegetable protein), soy milk.

TVP and tofu are extremely versatile – eat them alone or incorporate into ‘mock meat’ dishes such as bolognaise, veg-meatloaf, lasagna, curry, stir-fry, stew, etc.

Edamame can be found in the frozen section of many supermarkets and in all Asian supermarkets – these are delicious steamed and eaten as a snack.

Nuts and Seeds e.g almonds, walnuts,pumpkin seeds (pepitas), sesame seeds,  etc.

These can be easily incorporated into snacks and main meals! For example: spread ABC paste or another nut butter on sourdough spelt toast; sprinkle sunflower seeds and pepitas over salads; or make a delicious smoothie incorporating almonds, banana, berries and soy milk.

Nuts contain many other beneficial nutrients – each one imparts a different benefit, e.g. pistachios are especially high in the amino acid lysine.

Legumes e.g. red beans, black beans, broad beans, kidney beans, lima beans, adzuki beans, mung beans, lentils, peas, sprouts, navy beans, etc.

People are sometimes wary of cooking with legumes, but nothing could be simpler! For example, chickpeas can be used to make falafel or hummus; and cooked lentils can be stirred through a soup or salad.

Grains e.g. rice, wheat, corn, rye, bulgur, oats, millet, barley, buckwheat, spelt, kamut, quinoa, etc.

All of these – not only wheat – are available as a whole grain flour, bread or pasta and noodles. There are many ways to incorporate a variety of grains into meals, such as using millet, polenta, or brown rice to accompany main meals; making sandwiches with spelt or rye bread; mixing quinoa through salads; or just a bowl of oats for brekky.

If you eat a variety of vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds every day you can be sure you’re getting plenty of protein (and many other beneficial nutrients!) in your vegetarian or vegan diet.

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About Kathleen Murphy

Australian naturopath and freelance writer, based in Sydney. I love working with people from all walks of life, helping them institute changes that can become life-long health habits. I can be found at Uclinic | 421 Bourke Street, Surry Hills | Ph: 02 9332 0400 |

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