Perfect Plant Proteins For Vegan Athletes (And The Rest Of Us)

by Anna O'Byrne March 28, 2014

Perfect Plant Proteins For Vegan Athletes (And The Rest Of Us)

We know protein can be a touchy subject for vegans and vegetarians. Not because they’re protein-deprived, though. No, no.

Plant-based diets done right are actually rich in nutrient-dense protein, which is why the question “So, how do you get protein?" can get a bit tired.

Omnivores everywhere already love mainstream plant proteins: quinoa, arugula, nuts, seeds, mushrooms and beans.  These are good sources of amino acids and great sources of nutrients.

Funny how all the best stuff is found in plants, isn’t it?

But let’s take this a little further. Let’s do a deep dive into the world of plant proteins. Some of the richest sources are not yet mainstream, but we think omnivores should take note.

Here are five of our favourite protein-packing plant foods:

1. Moringa leaf powder: You may think we're biased, of course, but we didn’t invent moringa - we just discovered it. To the point, you can't go wrong when 20 grams of leaf powder packs over 5 grams of protein, with all 9 essential amino acids! These 5 grams weigh in at approximately 40 calories and deliver the goods, big time, when it comes to calcium, iron, B vitamins, Vitamin E, Vitamin A and Omega 3s - among other essential nutrients! SuperLeaf Moringa powder can be blended into smoothies for an easy, green boost.

2. Hemp seeds: Also a source of all essential amino acids, hemp seeds are a complete protein, offering about 5 grams in every 40 calorie tbsp. Hemp seeds are a great source of balanced Omegas, and like moringa, are ideal for allergies - they are a dairy, gluten and soy-free natural food. Sprinkle hemp seeds on salads, soups, stews, blend them into smoothies or stir into oatmeal. Look for Manitoba Harvest hemp products to support a great Canadian brand!

3. Buckwheat: Gluten-free, because it's not actually wheat at all, a half cup of buckwheat delivers about 11 grams of protein for nearly 300 calories. This fruit seed is also very high in Vitamin B3, magnesium and other minerals. Buckwheat is beloved by raw foodists because it can be soaked and sprouted. We love it as a cold 'oatmeal'. Buckwheat can be found shelved with grains, and Bob's Red Mill serves it up organic.

4. Nutritional yeast: Referred to fondly as “nooch” in the vegan community, a quarter cup has 6 grams of protein, 50 calories and the fortified variety delivers 300% of your RDA for Vitamin B12! Nooch is easy to integrate into almost any savory meal - it adds “umami” (rich, meaty) flavour to soups, stews, casseroles, sauces and more. Bob's Red Mill is our go-to source for the fortified variety.

5. Wheat germ: Wheat germ is one of the original nutrient-boosters, beloved by health nuts at least as far back as the ‘80s. It seems to have taken a low profile in recent decades, probably with the rise of gluten-free living. If you can tolerate wheat, this is the part to eat - the germ of the wheat kernel is the nourishing embryo of the plant. Two tbsp offers up 4 grams of protein and only 60 calories. It’s packed with B vitamins, fibre, and is rich in minerals. Include it in baking to replace some flour, or use it as you would hemp seeds on oatmeal and in smoothies. You can find wheat germ where Bob's Red Mill grains are sold.

How Do These Stack Up?

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of protein is 0.4 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, per day. (That’s 0.8 grams per kg of bodyweight, for those of you devoted to metric.)  An 150 pound man or woman thus requires 60 grams of protein daily.

Probably less than you imagined, right? For most of us, too much protein - especially animal protein - is actually associated with higher rates of disease and morbidity.

Given the modest requirements, the 5 grams of high-quality protein in a day’s serving of SuperLeaf Moringa is nothing to scoff at. Calorie for calorie, Moringa is as dense in protein as steak - only without the saturated fat and cholesterol.

In fact, a scientific study conducted by the Trees of Life organization reported that moringa leaves contain protein quality at similar levels to whole milk and eggs, without the fat and calories.

Eat Like A Professional Athlete

If you’re still a skeptic when it comes to plant proteins, look no further than vegan athletes like Georges Laraque. We recently met this former NHLer at the Mange Sante show in Montreal and were thrilled to hear of his avid interest in moringa! Georges commended us on having found a truly high-quality supplier of the raw goods (he knows of the farm). He happily snapped up a few bottles, claiming that our prices are extremely competitive.

The next time we’re in Montreal, we’ll make a point of stopping into one of Georges’ raw, vegan Crudessence restaurants. Crudessence = crudités = raw veggies. We get it, we love it!

If you, too, want to enjoy the benefits of our TOP Nutritionals Moringa, visit the online store or one of our retailers. When you do, you’ll be supporting the work of Organics 4 Orphans.




Anna O'Byrne
Anna O'Byrne

Author

Anna O'Byrne is co-author of The Moringa Breakthrough, and part of the team behind SuperLeaf™ Moringa. She manages the social media, writes web content and runs digital marketing for SuperLeaf™ Moringa and Natural Calm Canada.



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