What’s up my friends? One of the most ubiquitous questions I receive about the raw diet is “Where do you get your protein?”. I know a lot of vegans and vegetarians get tired of that question, but it is a major concern for people who are switching over to a plant based diet. So let’s take a look at the top ranking plant based protein sources and how you can work them into your daily menu!
Greens! You’ve probably heard the analogy of rhinos, horses and bulls being big muscle-bound beasts and getting all their protein from plants, well those plants are the green ones. Having very few calories compared to grams of protein puts greens at the top of the list! Kale, romaine lettuce, collards and spinach to name a few pack a punch of protein with lil’ other calories. How much protein?
According to Nutrition Data, one cup of chopped raw kale contains 2 grams of protein and a mere 33 calories. In “Becoming Raw” by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Malina, one cup of kale juice is listed as having 7 grams of protein! So by picking your food prep technique, you can get the most protein out of your eats! Bangin’ stuff! I love kale juiced with grapefruit, full of cleansing chlorophyll, alkalyzing minerals and protein, it makes an awesome post workout drink!
One cup of raw Spinach contains 7 cals and 1 gram of protein, Romaine lettuce sports 8 calories and 1 gram of protein and Collards contain 11 cals and 1 g of protein. Doesn’t sound like much protein compared to volume. But, when you consider how much of these greens easily work their way into your raw menu in the form of green smoothies, juices, salads and marinated massaged side dishes, you’d be surprised! When Amanda and I bang out an eight cup Vita Mix Carafe of green smoothie we’ll use 7 or more cups of loose packed greens! Salad always finds its way into either lunch or dinner and the occasional green juice is a quick and easy way to supplement this.
Seeds. These lil’ champion sources of proteins, pack a lot of protein and essential fatty acids! Sunflower, hemp, chia, pumpkin and sesame seeds are good sources that are tasty and easy additions to your diet! Let’s check their amounts (per cup again). Sunflower seeds have 816 calories and 33 grams of protein, Hemp has about 59 grams of protein and 928 cals, Chia 784 cals and 25 g’s of protein, Pumpkin Seeds are packin’ 747 cals and 34 grams of protein and Sesame Seeds are rockin’ with 888 cals and 30 grams of protein. NIce! Seeds can be used many ways in your daily raw menu. I like to add them to my nut mylk blends, to add more protein and enhance the amino acid profile, as a creamy base for salad dressings, as snacks, as a creamy parfait base, for dips and as seasoned and dehydrated snacks! Sooo many uses for these protein packed lil’ guys!
Nuts. Most people associate nuts as a high protein source, but they’re actually a richer source of good raw fats than they are of protein. This isn’t a bad thing, but for those that are looking to limit the fats they consume, you may wanna go easy on them and opt for seeds when possible. During my raw transformation I chowed on tons of almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts and cashews in various culinary creations and still lost a bunch of weight, but this doesn’t work for everyone. Some like my wife Amanda, feel bloated after consuming too many. This can be a result of the fats not meshing with your individual metabolism or irritation from their fiber, either way I hear this a lot from my friends in the raw community. So if you have similar issues, try going the seed, coconut and avocado route! Check out the most common nuts’es protein scores, per cup. Almonds tout 850 calories and 29 grams of protein, Brazils boast 965 cals and 21 g’s of protein, English walnuts 785 cals and 18 g’s of protein and Cashews have 736 calories and 24 grams of protein. Nuts are awesome in the form of nut butters to dip fruit in or spread on celery stalks, soaked and dehydrated for trail mixes, raw energy bars, pate’s and as snacks all on their own!
Veggies, root vegetables, herbs and fruits also contain a good amount of protein and can easily be worked into your daily diet. I chose the top three categories above, based on their amount of protein per calorie. If you wanna know even more about the amount of proteins are in the foods you eat, then hit up NutrtionData. There you can check out the nutritional values of all your favorite eats! Also stay tuned to rawdawgrory.com, because I’m going to be delving more into the topic of protein! In upcoming posts you’ll learn about complete sources of protein, the best raw vegan protein products and how to make a bangin’ protein shake that goes beyond just protein!
Rock on my friends ~ Rory :0)