Regardless of our sex, age, religion, background and all the other categories we might (not) fit into, one thing we all have in common is an attempt to stay as healthy as possible. Being a vegetarian and a vegan means having to face more challenges when it comes to staying fit and healthy. One of the questions vegan athletes often face would be: ‘where do you get your protein?’ as if people forgot that plants produce proteins too. It is difficult to place kale and broccoli on the same shelf with meat and eggs, but read on and find out more about ‘green protein’ and where to find them.
Legume family has provided us with food very rich in vegetarian protein. One plain cup of green peas contains over 7 grams of protein (similar to a cup of milk). Not all people like eating peas even as their side dish, so we recommend you blending them into a pesto. To make a meat-free and rich in protein meal, blend some frozen peas with toasted pine nuts and add a bit of fresh mint and olive oil to that. Blend, serve over vegan, whole-grain pasta, and enjoy.
Yes, grains are generally a very good source of protein, but quinoa provides you with incredible 8 (and more) grams per cup. In addition, it also contains essential amino acids which help your body grow and your muscles repair. If you are not sure how to prepare it, be calm: quinoa can be prepared in many ways. You can add it to soup or vinegar and vegetables for salad. You can also easily serve it as a hot breakfast cereal with fruit and brown sugar.
Tempeh and tofu
Vegetarians and vegans get most of their protein from soybeans; tempeh and tofu, for example. These two contain ‘magical’ amount of about 15 and 20 grams per half cup. They, after all, have no particular taste so you can combine them with any food you’re preparing and they’ll fit perfectly. Tofu gives you a lot of choice: soft cheese or a firm one which also resembles meat.
Hemp seeds provide a wonderful addition to practically any dish since they go so well with salads, cereals, refreshment shakes, smoothies, and rice. Only 3 tablespoons contain 16 grams of protein and omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. This is good option to optimise your daily energy and nutrition requirements.
There are many vegan athletes out there who are struggling with misleading but popular belief that you simply cannot survive without meat, eggs and dairy. Incredible as it may seem, you can not only survive, but thrive as well. It is easy to browse the web and do a bit of research to find out which supplement would be the best for you. Don’t give up on your dream to become a good athlete simply because you think your diet might be the problem. There are no obstacles when you firmly believe in something.