By Guest Contributor: Marcus Gardin
The first place to get protein as a vegan is from certain fruits & vegetables, I’ll bet you didn’t realize spinach and cauliflower are a complete protein. There are many ways that you can eat these two vegetables. I don’t like to cook my spinach too much but I typically cook cauliflower to the point that it’s soft either by steaming or sauteing it. Cauliflower is an excellent replacement for rice in my opinion and healthier than your traditional white rice. I often times mix it with curry or beans as if it were rice or quinoa. I make my salads using spinach instead of plain watery lettuce. Spinach has a high nutritional value which makes it the perfect replacement so I like to mix it with avocado, oil and chick peas to make it creamier and more chewy. Some fruits are believed to be complete in protein such as Goji Berries because it contains 18 amino acids. I usually buy dry Goji berries by the pound at my local organic super market and eat it with my other dry nuts and seeds. These fruits and vegetables are one of the many options nature gives you for protein.
Nuts and seeds are a perfect snack food to give you what you need as far as Amino acids. Walnuts, chestnuts, pumpkin seeds, cashews, chia seeds, hemp seeds have all the amino acids needed to consider them a complete protein. There are many ways to incorporate these foods into your diet such as baking granola bars and adding nuts and seed to them or blending these nuts and seeds into a paste and mixing it with fruit preserves on some bread to make a tasty sandwich. Another cool thing I like to do is get the hemp in powder form and mix it in almond milk with a health natural sweetener and psyllium husk for fiber. You can also get a lot of these nuts and seeds in powder form and mix them in you guacamole which is what I do. You can also mix the powder into your pancake or muffin batter etc. Though I usually eat most of these protein sources as is throughout the day if I want to stay away from cooking, but you don’t have to do that it’s totally up to you.
The third place I get my protein from is from split peas, quinoa, and lentils. You can consume these ingredients already baked in chips, or boiled etc. My main way to prepare them is in a large pot of boiling water with a little bit of salt and maybe other seasonings added to it. Once done don’t be scared to give it a creamy vegan touch by adding avocados. You can also use quinoa, split peas, and lentils in flour form and make a variety of stuff from desserts to breakfast food by substituting wheat flour in your favorite recipe. I have bought split pea, quinoa and lentil chips many of times. This way of consuming a complete proteins makes for a quick vegan snack. I usually make my guacamole to accompany the chips.