In our last article called Going Veggie? How to Meet Your Protein Needs Without the Meat, we debunked several concerns many vegetarians and vegans question when they move towards a plant-based lifestyle.
We established that only 10% – 35% of our daily calories need to come from protein and the best plant-based sources come from organic soy products, bean and legumes, grains, nuts and seeds. You may have also been shocked to learn that vegetables such as broccoli, romaine lettuce and kale are loaded with protein.
We know that protein is essential and that we should incorporate it into our diets at some point in the day. But, your protein requirements include not only the total amount of protein, but also the quality of protein that you get and where you obtain it. That is where complete and incomplete proteins come in. Complete proteins contain all of the 9 essential amino acids that we need to function. While incomplete proteins only contain some of them and must be combined with other incomplete proteins to create a complement.
Take a look at this info-graph depicting the difference between complete and incomplete proteins and the best sources of each:
It’s easier than you thought, right? When it comes to incomplete proteins, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to combine two of them at the exact same time to make them complete, as long as you eat a variety of incomplete proteins throughout the day.
For example, an ideal combination might look like this:
A Trail Mix Smoothie that’s full of nuts for breakfast and a lunch that includes chickpeas would be a great choice. Two meals containing a variety of incomplete proteins, at two different times of the day will still create a perfect combination!
This Grain-Free Raw Bircher Muesli recipe is a full complement of complete proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. It is even better as it sits and allow for the ingredients to mingle! To increase the plant-based protein content even further, try adding a few tablespoons of Organic Brown Rice Protein or Organic Soya Protein.
- 2 cups of hemp milk made with North Coast Naturals Hemp Seeds
- 1 cup of shredded apple
- 1 cup of chopped nuts
- 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 dash of nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1 tablespoon of lucuma (optional)
- 6 dates chopped (optional)
- To make the hemp milk blend 2 cups of water with 6 tbsp of North Coast Naturals Hemp Seeds for 60 seconds.
- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and let stand for at least 30 minutes but it is best overnight.
- Topping Ideas: nuts, goji berries, a dash of cinnamon, hemp seeds
Julie Pecarski is the founder of Eat Life Balance, a holistic health and lifestyle solutions site. Eat Life Balance provides clean living recipes, nutritional guidance and lifestyle advice in an approach to guide readers into making small, simple changes in their eating habits, attitudes and mental balance. Julie is currently studying nutrition in Vancouver, BC.