Filed under Culture
Written by Jo Hombsch
It wasn’t that long ago I went vegan for a week. It was something I always wanted to try but life just seemed to get in the way. There’d be one work or social commitment after the next where I always happily accepted the menu on offer.
But, what I (and my body) really needed was an entire week eating plant-based so I could see just how much my body would love me for it afterwards.
You must be living under a rock if you haven’t seen the words vegetarian, veganism and plant-based diet plastered across every one of your screens. Recent research even suggests that almost 2.5 million people or 12.1% of Australian’s are eating all or all almost vegetarian. [source: Roy Morgan]
I am far from eating 100% plant-based (cheese is my vice), however, since eating vegan for just a singular week I find myself gravitating toward vegetarian meals chasing that feeling of increased energy levels and reduced bloating.
Like myself and many others who have recently introduced plant-based meals into our diets, we continue to learn, listen and educate ourselves on our new lifestyle. I’ve had a few burning questions, so I looked to an expert to help. Rick Hays, is an anti-ageing and fitness nutritionist with a tonne of clinical experience in nutrition, naturopathy, botanical medicine and iridology under his belt.
One frequented response from a number of friends when hearing about my newfound dietary choices was “But how are you getting your protein?”.
Rick tells me that “Plant-based diets needing more protein is a common misconception. A well-planned vegan diet can provide us with all the nutrients we need”.
So how much protein do we actually require?
“The right amount of protein for any one individual depends on many factors,” adds Rick. And after I mentioned that the majority of our readers are 24-35-year-old females, Rick quickly recommends that our daily amount of protein should be approximately 0.8 grams per kilogram, per body weight. “A good way to ensure you’re hitting the mark here is by adding a source of protein to every meal,” adds Rick.
Gluten aside, why did I feel lighter and less bloated when I opted for a plant-based diet? Rick tells me that fibre is the culprit.
Plant-based meals “Are higher in fibre, which can help with satiety levels; this means fewer cravings and a greater feeling of fullness, which can lead to longer-term energy levels and benefits in digestive health and cardiovascular,” says Rick.
Everyone is different and what works for a friend won’t necessarily work for you. “When switching to a plant-based diet your body might need time to get used to the new way of eating. If you feel heavy or sluggish you might want to check if there are any underlying food allergies (gluten, wheat etc),” says, Rick.
I was particularly intrigued by Rick’s advice around the fact that legumes, nuts and vegetables often have more protein than most more commonly recognised protein sources.
So what are these high in protein, plant-based ingredients I need to be adding to my shopping list?
After getting the lowdown from Rick, next time I head to the supermarket you’ll find me furiously adding the below into my shopping basket:
- Organic tofu
- Legumes (beans, lentils, cashews)
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Pumpkin seeds and nuts (almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts)
Another great way to add protein to your diet is through a protein powder.
Rick has just launched, Rejuvin8tion a plant protein powder full of superfoods including organic peas, organic brown rice and hemp along with berry powder, pumpkin seed, coconut milk, shiitake mushroom and coconut.
MCT oil has been added to help with your nervous and immune system support offering 14-15g of protein per serve.
Unlike many protein powders on the market, Rejuvin8tion is free of dairy products, artificial sweeteners and added soy.
It is a wellness protein powder for 2020 Rick tells me, which “Has been formulated to support holistic health. Rejuvin8tion has been designed to be taken in conjunction with a healthy diet – it is not intended as a sole source of nutrition.”
If you’re like me and just starting your plant-based journey, I suggest doing your research and remember everyone is different. What works for your friend’s body might not work for you and there are plenty of ways to keep up your protein, you just need to get creative.
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