I’m going to tell you a secret.
I'm not proud of it, but I’m going to be honest with you, I’m also going to preface by saying that I am very intentional about choosing not to judge others.
That being said, I judge people who don’t include vegetarian proteins in their diet because they think plant based proteins are gross or they’ve already given their blood oath to the lords of meat and now they think there is no going back.
In reality, the only thing that happens by swearing off plant based proteins is that they end up with fewer options.
I’ve confessed. Now for some plant based protein information.
Why should I eat plant-based proteins even if I'm not a vegetarian?
That's a great question! I'm so glad you asked!
1 - IMPROVED GUT HEALTH
In part this is because increased fiber in the diet supports a healthy gut microbiome, the good bacteria can flourish while warding off the growth of bad bacteria.
2 - INCREASED FIBER INTAKE
Not only does fiber support a healthy gut biome but fiber also supports more balanced blood sugar levels (because fiber slows absorption of sugars into the bloodstream, thus having more sustained energy and reducing glucose spikes and crashes that result in an energy crash)
3 - MORE VITAMINS AND MINERALS
Plant based proteins and plants in general, contain vital vitamins and nutrients that are not found in many animal proteins. Some of the nutrients you can find in plant based proteins include iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. These are crucial for immune support and proper cellular function.
4 - DECREASED RISK OF DISEASE
This is basically because of the above factors. With increased fiber, vitamins and minerals help reduce blood pressure, bad cholesterol and support healthy weight management, all of which combat diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Now that we have a reason to make some adjustments, what plant based proteins can you add to your diet?
-Legumes, black beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, black eyed peas, northern white beans, pinto beans, red lentils, black lentils, green lentils, mung beans, soybeans and edamame (this is an immature soybean).
-TVP, Textured Vegetable Protein is typically made from soybeans but something similar can be found using pea protein. TVP is a super easy swap for anything you’d used ground beef or chicken in.
-Tofu, Tempe, and Seitan. CLIK HERE for my favorite seitan in the city:
-Processed vegan meats, Not Dogs, Smart Dogs, Impossible meats, Beyond meats, Morning Star products etc. These are nice when you’re craving their meaty alternative or to have on hand when you’re busy or eating out. That being said, I would highly encourage these to be treat foods versus regular staples in your diet given their processed nature. The same is true for their meat counterparts.
So when it comes time to pick out your menu this week, check out this TVP taco meat for your next Taco Tuesday!