by Dawn Hamilton
Vegan. The word is sometimes associated with skinny and gangly. However, it is possible to be muscular, physically fit and even bulky as a vegan. Athletes like Brendan Brazier, Carl Lewis and Athlete of the Year 2014, Tia Blanco, prove that a plant-based lifestyle can promote athletic excellence and health. Due to lack of education, a protein-filled diet is often associated with only meat eaters. In actuality, there are plenty of plant-based ways vegetarian and vegans get their protein.
The Dish on Animal Proteins
Animal proteins are inside animal cell walls. The walls contain cholesterol, which human bodies are not well-equipped to break down. Cholesterol accumulation in the blood can lead to clogged arteries and various health issues. Cholesterol then coats our guts with grease and makes absorption difficult, which in turn can cause constipation and other bodily disruptions.
Slow, stagnant digestion is the number one energy drainer for people. Heavily cooked foods are devoid of enzymes, making them more likely to set in the gut not able to break down. This rotting food will lead to health issues, weight gain, and make you fatigued while trying to digest it.
The Benefits of Plants
Where do you think elephants, bulls and buffalo’s get their high-quality protein? Several mammals get protein from eating plants. The body assimilates and digests the nutrients into the bloodstream from plants; your body is receiving whole food nutrition, therefore making it easier to digest.
In addition, plant cells are made of fiber, and fiber passes through the body’s system in an orderly fashion which gives us a healthy gut and regular bowel movements. There is now undeniable evidence that fiber has many healing properties. Fiber can strengthen a diseased heart, reduces cholesterol, steadies blood sugar, helps us to lose weight, curb appetites and prevents ulcers. By eating a variety of plants, the body gets all eight amino acids that make a 100 percent complete protein. Raw protein will then be a higher quality of protein because the human body will easily digest it since the amino acids and digestive enzymes are intact. When cooking, keep the temperature below 118 F for most plants to prevent denaturing (breakdown process) of the plant.
Here are a few ways to incorporate more plant-based protein in your family’s diet:
Greens are the only living thing that can turn sunshine into energy that is consumable. Greens nourish the body on a cellular level. When the greens are broken down in a high-speed blender to small particles, the body will be able to absorb the nutrients easier and be nourished more efficiently than chewing.
A lifestyle enriched with plant-based foods that are full of phytonutrients (plant compounds) will yield several observations. The downtime typically needed after lunch will be minimal, and energy will skyrocket when the body doesn’t need as much energy to digest food. Instead, the body will experience real, pure energy and optimal health. One of the easiest ways to make the biggest nutritional impact on your family’s health is to incorporate a green smoothie a day. See recipe below for reference!
Basic Green Smoothie
Add and replace as many ingredients as you’d like to change up your daily smoothie, ensuring you keep the kale and spinach base. Blend the ingredients together and enjoy!
- 1 cup of kale
- 1 cup of spinach
- 8 to 10 strawberries with stems
- 1 apple of your choice
- 1 frozen banana
- 1/2 lemon, peeled
Add 30 grams of hemp powder to your smoothie and get about 11 quick grams of protein.
It is versatile, delicious and delivers about 9 grams of protein per cup. And it’s gluten free!
Eat them right up! Peanut butter, almond butter, and cashew butter all have about 8 grams of protein per two tablespoons.
One cup of Tempeh equals about 30 grams of protein.
In summary, a variety of greens and plant-based foods can supply enough protein to sustain each of our unique bodies. For the meat-lovers out there, going vegan isn’t necessary; simply try to incorporate more of the above foods to increase your health for a more energetic life. Start by getting your family on board with one green smoothie a day. After all, the green smoothie is known as the elixir of life.
Dawn is a Double Certified Raw Food Chef. She passionately teaches how to achieve optimal health with a raw plant based lifestyle. Find her on Facebook and Instagram at Encompassing You.