With the advent of farmers’ markets, raised eco-consciousness and the popularity of the buy-local movement, it’s easier than ever for Nova Scotians to follow a vegan diet.
Beyond the political choice of going vegan – consuming no animal products at all – there are many known health benefits for cutting out meat in favour of a plant-based diet, including a natural increase in fibre and vitamins, a lower body mass and a decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
There are also environmental concerns connected to the meat industry, from the actual square footage occupied by livestock to the methane gas the animals produce that is overheating the planet.
There are certainly compelling arguments in favour of veganism (including budget). But with meat, fish, yogurt and eggs topping the standard recommendations of protein sources, what’s a new vegan – or even a longtime one – to do in order to maintain this very important dietary component?
As an example, a vegan woman should eat 50 grams of protein in a 2,000-calorie daily diet. These numbers vary based on gender, age, size, activity levels and other factors.
Fear not – not only are there lots of options, most of them even taste great (sorry broccoli!).
Almonds are one quarter protein. Eat 10 a day for maximum benefits. They do not, however, contain essential amino acids – you need plants for those.
The top plant-based source for Vitamin K, which helps the body synthesize proteins. It’s also an aphrodisiac!
If you’re tired of screaming, “But it’s the good kind of fat!” there’s another benefit: three grams of protein per alligator pear.
Broccoli helps detoxify your skin, contains a trio of immune boosters (beta-carotene, zinc and selenium) and nearly six grams of protein in a cup.
One cup of cooked cauliflower amounts to more than two grams of protein and contains Omega-3 acids that reduce inflammation.
Not only are lentils just about the cheapest source of protein you can find (beans too), they also contain a whopping amount of it: 18 grams per cooked cup.
Real oats – not the sugar breakfast cereal kind – are absolutely loaded with protein. We’re talking six grams per cooked cup. And they’re endlessly customizable.
Just one more reason to celebrate Autumn – pumpkin seeds are packed full of tryptophan, zinc, iron, magnesium and a bunch of other vitamins.
The most protein-errific of all the grains, one cup of cooked quinoa contains more than eight grams of it.
There’s a reason Popeye fuelled with this hearty, tasty plant – it’s full of all kinds of benefits for your skin, eyes and bones. Plus one cup, cooked, contains more than five grams of protein.