Given the rare occurrence I eat animal protein, aside from cage free organic eggs, it is important for me to be vigilant about complementing proteins since I mainly eat a plant-based diet. A complete protein means containing all the essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein), which the body is unable to make and must source through food. Luckily there are plant-based complete proteins and delicious food pairings!
Animal products contain all essential amino acids. These vegan options do too:
- Hemp Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Nutritional yeast
- Soybeans (Tofu, Edamame, Soymilk)
The plant-based categories that contain incomplete amino acids are:
- Nuts and Seeds
- Beans and legumes
- Whole Grains
Therefore these items above must be combined to provide all the essential amino acids in a meal.
Some say you just need to have them throughout the day, however, I highly recommend creating a complete protein with at least one of your major meals of the day. Metabolism, maintenance and repair of the body is ever happening and thus it’s important to always have essential amino acids bioavailable or this process suffers in some way.
I recommend eating vegetables as a staple with every meal, aside from breakfast, as we can never get enough.
Some combination ideas to create complete proteins include:
- Brown Rice and Beans
- Ezekiel Bread (although it is best to stay away from Gluten, if it is organic wheat, this bread is easier on the digestive track because the grains are sprouted.)
- A smoothie with Spirulina (Blue-Green Algae) and nuts
- Salads with any combination of above
- Soup with any combinations of above
- Get creative creating bowls of all types of grains, vegetables, beans or hummus, with nuts and hempseeds. Get inspired to create some great sauces and dressings too!
- Adding any item from the first list to any meal completes the protein!
Liquid Amino Acids can be used as a supplement to add you meal as well to be sure to get all the essential amino acids. It's flavor is similar to that of soy sauce.
When you use sea salt, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, and some acid like apple-cider vinegar or lemon to bring out the flavors of whole foods from the earth, you’ll begin to crave the deliciousness mother earth has provided for us, realizing a plane based diet for the most part, is sustaining and nourishing for the body. Enjoy!