My vegan and vegetarian friends say they are always asked about how they get their protein. However, recent research has pointed to the fact that it is easier than you think to get your protein needs met even without eating meat. Protein, along with fat and carbs, is one of the three macro nutrients that are essential for life. You have protein in every cell in your body. Protein is composed of amino acids. Non- essential amino acids can be made by your body but essential amino acids must be obtained through food or supplementation. Proteins are lumped into two categories- complete and incomplete. A complete protein contains all nine of the essential amino acids in the correct ratios. Incomplete proteins either lack some of the essential amino acids or the amino acids aren’t in the correct ratios the body needs. However, a protein can be made complete by combining more than one incomplete protein. Conventional wisdom use to state that to make a complete proteins the incomplete proteins had to be eaten in the same meal. It is now known that as long as you eat your incomplete proteins within 24 hours, they will combine to make a complete protein. Below is an easy list to help you form complete proteins. Simply eat food from two or more of the different categories in a 24 hour period and you will get all the amino acids needed to form a complete protein.
GRAINS : barley, corn meal, oats, rice pasta, bulgar, wheat, amaranth, spelt, quinoa, millet or other whole grains.
LEGUMES: beans, lentil, peas, peanuts or soy products.
SEEDS & NUTS: sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, pecans, nut butters or other nuts and seeds.
VEGETABLES: leafy greens, broccoli, corn, mushrooms, carrots, yams or other vegetables.