Plant Based Protein and Fiber – Demystified

Plant-Based Protein and Fiber – Demystified

Mention to anyone on the street that you are adopting a whole-foods plant-based lifestyle and you will likely get this response: “Where do you get your protein?”

The meat and dairy industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, and a tremendous amount of their advertising dollars are used to entice people to consume more meat and dairy to be big and strong. Can these results also be achieved through plant-based foods?

What is protein? And how much do we need?

Scientific jargon aside, protein is an essential component of a well-balanced diet and is essential for the growth and repair of tissue.

The 2013 Protein Summit 2.0, consisting of 60 leaders in nutrition research from around the world, recommends a daily intake of 0.4g of protein per pound of body weight. Here’s a simple daily protein intake equation that can help you find your recommended daily intake [weight in pounds x 4/10].

In addition to consuming an adequate amount of protein, it is also recommended that adults spread out their protein consumption throughout the day, by consuming 25-30 grams of protein at each meal.

A recent study showed that on average vegans and vegetarians get 70% more protein than they need on a daily basis. Also, less than 3% of Americans are diagnosed as protein deficient, and when they are it is usually due to inadequate consumption of food, overall. So, concerns over protein deficiency can be put to rest.

Whole Food Plant Based Fiber

What is more concerning is a mere 3% of Americans’ are getting sufficient amounts of fiber in their diet. The minimum recommended fiber intake is 31.5g per day from food, not supplements. The national average is only 15g. So, the real question should be “where do you get your fiber.” There is absolutely no fiber in meat, dairy, or eggs. Fiber can only be found in beans, vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain foods. So, why not get the most bang for your buck by eating more fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes?

Not only is inadequate fiber intake associated with disease, but excess amounts of protein have also been linked to a variety of medical conditions including disorders of bone and calcium balance, disorders of kidney function, increased risk of cancer, disorders of the liver, and coronary artery disease – as evidenced by Michael Greger, M.D., FACLM of NutritionFacts.org.

What are some of the best whole-food plant-based sources of protein?

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts when choosing what foods to consume. We want to focus on the big picture and make sure the majority of the foods we eat give us the most bang for our nutritional buck.

When choosing whole-food plant-based options, you want to try to consume a rainbow of colors. Because, in addition to the protein, vitamin, mineral, and fiber profile – each color provides unique phytochemicals containing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

phytonutrients, rainbow, multicolor, food

Below is a list of whole-food plant-based foods that will help you to meet your daily protein and fiber needs.

1.Edamame and Lentils:

Legumes pack a powerful protein punch. One-half cup provides 8g protein, 20g carbohydrate, 7-9g fiber. Also, they provide B vitamins, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, and potassium. Other powerhouse beans include chickpeas, adzuki beans, split peas, kidney beans, and black beans.

2.Whole Grain Quinoa:

One cup of whole-grain quinoa provides 8.4g protein, 5.2g fiber, and significant amounts of magnesium, folate, iron, zinc, and potassium. Other protein-rich grains include kamut, wild rice, millet, couscous, oatmeal, and buckwheat.

3. Kale:

This super green is loaded with goodness! One cup of uncooked kale provides 2.9g protein, 2.5g fiber, Vitamins A, C, and K, potassium, folate, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Other noteworthy greens include spinach, collard greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts and asparagus.

4. Chia Seeds:

One ounce of this powerful seed provides 4g  protein, 11g fiber, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, potassium, and vitamins B1, B2, and B3.  Other seeds rich in protein include pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and sunflower seeds.

5. Dried Goji Berries:

Don’t let their size fool you, these tiny berries are a powerhouse of nutrition. A 10g (1/4 cup) serving provides 4g protein, 4g fiber, and an abundance of Vitamin A. They also contain an adequate amount of Vitamin C, Iron, and Calcium. * Goji berries may interact with certain drugs, so make sure you consult your doctor for any possible interactions. Some other fruit sources of protein include guavas, avocados, apricots, and blackberries.

6. Mushrooms:

One cup of mushrooms contains 2.2g protein, 0.7g fiber, 222.6mg potassium, and 11% of the RDA of Iron.

7. Artichokes:

One artichoke provides 2.0g protein, 5g fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, calcium, and iron.

8. Beetroot:

One cup of beetroot contains 1.6g of protein, 2.8g fiber, and is also a great source of folate, manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C.

Conclusion

No matter your lifestyle, it is clear that adding ample portions of whole-food plant-based options to your diet has significant health benefits. And, with a little creativity, these foods can be seasoned to delicious perfection.

While extremely healthy and beneficial for most, adopting a whole-foods plant-based lifestyle requires a balanced design of nutritional components. Make sure to consult with a qualified professional to ensure your nutritional intake is at its optimum.

Richard Lehman, LMT, CSCS

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Compliment Your Body, LLC
1441 Broadway #6087
New York, NY  10018
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Richard Lehman, LMT, CSCS has over 15 years of experience in the fields of health and wellness and holds a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. He owns and operates Compliment Your Body, LLC providing in-home and corporate / event chair massage to New York City and the surrounding Boroughs. Commitment, compassion, connection, and charity . . . experience the CYBNYC difference!

What makes Compliment Your Body rise above the rest?

We don’t rely on ads to find our amazing team of therapists. Our in-house NYC therapist referral network guarantees dedicated, vetted, experienced and professional New York State licensed massage therapists, whose goal is to produce 100% customer satisfaction.

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Richard A. Lehman, LMT, CSCS, owner and CEO of Compliment Your Body, LLC has over fifteen years of experience in the health and wellness field. During his career he has worked in a multitude of settings, including spas, chiropractic offices, and on the field at IronMan competitions. Richard was hired in 2005 with the United States Tennis Association as a Massage Therapist and provided therapy to the professional athletes at the US Open Tennis Championships from 2005 - 2010. Richard graduated in 2004 from The Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences. He is a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He also completed the Plant Based Nutrition course at the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and is a Level 2 Nutrition Coach with Precision Nutrition. Compliment Your Body has been providing corporate / event massage therapy, and in-home massage therapy to New York City and the surrounding boroughs for over fifteen years, and has been the corporate massage provider to the New York Times throughout this time. Commitment, compassion, connection and charity are the pillars of our business. Experience the CYBNYC difference!

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