What are the Main Vegetarian Protein Sources? - Which Plant Foods Contain Protein?

Where do vegetarians get their protein? What are the main vegetarian protein sources? What about vegans? Or flexitarians?

Great questions!

The answers depend on the foods you eat with each type of diet.

I've compiled a list of protein containing plant foods toward the end, but there's some basic information you may want to read first.

Begin with the typical Western diet that includes meat, poultry, and sea foods. And fried foods, and sodas, and sugar laden sweets and trans fats.

Animal content aside, it's bad for your health.

That said. There are very healthy omnivorous and flexitarian diets.

A diet with some meat that includes vegetables and fruits and beans and nuts and whole grains provides essential nutrients for the health and maintenance of your body.

Do you know that the protein isn't just in the meat? There is protein in the vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains?

The myth is that plant proteins are inferior to animal proteins. Not true. Proteins are made up of amino acids. One amino acid links up with another amino acid to form protein. (And that's as technical as this explanation is going to get.)

Our bodies take apart and reform amino acids to create the specific protein our body needs. This process happens continuously.

It is true that animal proteins are complete, (contain all the amino acids) but if our body needs one of those amino acids, that protein will be broken down into the components needed, and reconfigured, to provide exactly what the body requires. The process is no different from what happens to plant protein.

Someone who eats meat in some form gets much of their protein from vegetables, beans, nuts and so on, and may never know it.

Vegetarians just pay a little more attention. We eat a rich variety of those plant based foods listed below to be sure we get all the elements our bodies require for best functioning.

Vegans neither eat nor use animal products. Some people thrive with this diet and life style. Other people find it doesn't suit them.

Flexitarians usually eat a vegan or vegetarian diet. But make exceptions for their own reasons.

Pescatarian aren't vegetarians because they eat fish, but they often think of themselves as vegetarians who eat fish. It is their way to ensure adequate protein and essential fats.

I've included the following list of plants that are vegetarian protein sources. This is not a complete list of vegetarian protein sources.

Legumes - Adzuki beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, navy beans, kidney beans, pinto beans

Soyfoods - green soybeans, miso, cooked soybeans, firm tofu, silken firm tofu, tempeh

Textured proteins and sietan - taste and texture to resemble burgers, chicken,and other meat products

Nuts - from almonds to walnuts

Seeds - including flax, pumpkin, sunflower and more

Whole grains and derivatives - from barley, millet, oatmeal, quinoa, rice, wheat germ and wheat flour

Vegetables - sprouts, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, corn, green beans, kale, mushrooms, okra, white potato, sweet potato, spinach, and romaine lettuce

Fruits - banana, figs, oranges, prunes

Dairy products and eggs - cheese, eggs, milk, yogurt

You can easily find the grams of protein in each of these vegetarian protein sources I've listed, either in books or online. Please remember, there is a richness of nutrients with variety and diversity.

Stretch beyond eggs and cheese, beyond brocoli and carrots.

You'll enjoy new tastes and textures you've never imagined. While you're combining your amino acids, you'll also be combining your healthy foods and enriching your life.

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