Going vegetarian or vegan has shown to be very effective in weight loss and improving overall health. Even some of the world’s top athletes such as Dean Krazanes, Mike Tyson, Robin Arzon and Venus Williams (among many others) are ardent followers of the vegetarian diet. This leaves many of us wondering, “Where do they get their protein from?” And this is a valid question brought up by many naysayers either out of ignorance or not knowing that protein can be sourced from plants. In fact, some of the richest sources of protein are plant products such as soy, quinoa, legumes, green vegetables, etc.

Why Protein?

It is important to know where you can source your protein from, especially if you are planning on going vegetarian. Protein is that that magical component that promotes muscle recovery after a heavy workout or a long endurance run and ensures that your body responds optimally to your training. By helping muscles heal faster, the right amount of protein intake can also lead to lesser chances of injury. It also keeps hunger pangs in check and aids weight loss. No matter what kind of diet you follow (meat, no-meat, vegan), it’s important to ensure that the right proteins in the right amounts form a part of it. But it does not mean that you have to plan elaborate menus for the rest of your life. With a few tweaks and some planning, you can increase the protein intake in your daily diet to match what your body needs.

Opting for an occasional bean salad instead of your preferred meat dish will still give you the required amount of protein you need

Source from elsewhere

Yes, meat is the most obvious protein out there, but it’s not the only source. There’s protein to be found in nuts, legumes, beans, seeds as well as in a whole lot of dairy products. These are all good alternatives to meats—beans and legumes can make for delicious protein-rich dishes. Even some fruits and vegetables feature protein, such as spinach, serves about 4.8 grams of protein in a cup. It’s also a good idea to read up on local foods that are protein sources as these will be available easily and integrate more naturally into your lifestyle and diet.

Substitutes and sides

Those who eat meat can usually rely on the main course of their meal to cater to their protein needs, though here too it’s important to opt for lean proteins such as those found in chicken, lean beef, eggs. Vegetarian runners can opt for generous sides made up of non-meat sources such as beans, broccoli, and seeds. High-protein meat substitutes such as soya, cottage cheese and tofu are all great ways to add more protein to your diet.

Snack on it

Nuts are a delicious way to get your protein in your diet and they make for a handy snack as well. Almonds are a rich source with 6g of protein per ounce, and cashews come a close second. Other protein snacks include yogurt, quinoa seeds, oat bars, white cheeses and chickpeas. By including filling, protein-rich snacks in small doses through the day, you can control the amount you consume while at the same time avoiding untimely hunger pangs.

Shake it up

Experts suggest that protein is most needed during the recovery process – so between 30 minutes and two hours of your workout is when your body needs it the most to repair muscles and prevent soreness. With milk and yogurt both being excellent protein sources, a post-workout smoothie with all your favorites thrown in is a great way to get your protein on. You can include nuts, seeds, veggies, fruits, and even some protein powder into your shake for a healthy, muscle-building start to the day.


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