It’s easy enough to count the number. 7g here, 15g there. The real stuff of the genre that is protein? Amino acids.
Suffice it to say, from an amino acid point of view, there is no difference between animal and plant foods. Meaning, there’s nothing wrong with vegan protein.
20 core amino acids are used to make every protein in our bodies:
|Our bodies can never make…||Our bodies can always make…||Our bodies can sometimes make…|
Because it’s difficult to know when your body needs and doesn’t need the “sometimes” category, it’s best to ensure you get plenty of the 1st and 3rd columns through diet ( 15 out of 20! ).
Fortunately, and contrary to some “protein experts” you may know, plant-based amino acid needs can be achieved without really thinking.
Quinoa, Protein Superstar
Quinoa provides all of the 1st column ( which is why you here it being called a “complete protein” ), plus tyrosine and cysteine of the 3rd. Just a serving of quinoa will give very significant amounts – plus, it’s gluten-free!
The top food sources for category 3?
Legumes ( which include beans – and technically peanuts ), nuts and seeds, and all vegetables but – in particular – the cruciferous variety. That’s it.
No one food is so concentrated in any of the “sometimes” amino acids that I should make a list. Plus, the point is that our bodies can sometimes make them.
Bottom line: if you eat moderately healthy, you don’t have to worry about the 3rd column.
As far as the 1st column…
Do eat quinoa at least weekly! Other food sources of the “essential” amino acids: legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
There’s a reason that rice and beans go together. What rice misses of the 1st column, beans have – and vice versa. However, you don’t have to pair up your proteins…
All you have to do is eat a variety of protein sources over time (1) 😀 Vegans need not worry!
Take your pick of these high quality sources of amino acids…
Top Protein-rich Foods
Cup of beans, on average: 14g
1/4 cup quinoa, dry: 6g
1/4 cup oats, dry: 4g
1/4 cup brown rice, dry: 4g
1/4 cup lentils, dry: 10g
2 tbsp nut butter, on average: 7g
2 tbsp flaxseed: 3g