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One of the biggest criticisms of a plant-based diet is the lack of sufficient sources of protein. The truth is, there are plenty of high protein foods that are easy to digest and allow you to shun low-quality and processed meats, dairy and eggs. Trying these five plant-based sources of protein is just the first step toward a healthier and more animal-friendly you!

In the United States, we an enormous amount of protein, most often from animals. The US Department of Agriculture recommends consumption of 47 grams of protein per day for a 130-pound women and 62 grams for a 170-pound man. However, many people are consuming two or three times more than this recommendation. This is bad news considering a high-protein diet may be detrimental to those with kidney disease and can compromise bone health. The fact is, we need less protein than we think and it doesn’t necessarily have to come from meat. The following high protein foods are proof that vegetarianism doesn’t mean being deficient in essential proteins.

Almonds

One of the easiest and tastiest ways to get your protein in is through the consumption of nuts. In just a half cup of whole almonds, there are 15 grams of protein. Almonds are a better alternative to peanuts because they are less toxic and allergenic. Peanuts contain highly sensitive oils that, by the time they reach your mouth, have gone rancid. Add a handful of almonds to a salad or enjoy as a snack throughout the day. However, please be cautious not to overload on almonds, as they are dense and contain fat that, in large quantities, can do more harm than good. 

Quinoa

Despite its appearance and texture, quinoa is not a grain; it is a seed, and it is among one of the best high protein foods. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams of protein. It is unique in that it is the only plant-based source of complete protein. It contains all of the essential amino acids that your body needs to function properly.

Tempeh

Soy-based products are an area of controversy, as soy is often over-processed and tinged with additives. Soy milk contains phytic aid, which studies show inhibits the absorption of nutrients. Tempeh, however, is the light at the end of the soy-encrusted tunnel. Tempeh is a fermented soy product that is a chewier and somewhat tastier than tofu. It carries the benefits of fermentation, and is packed with isoflavones, which some reserch suggests can reduce cancer risk and contribute to heart health. It also contains 31 grams of protein per cup!

Spinach

It’s hard to believe green leaves can be high protein foods, but Popeye had the right idea. In one bunch of fresh spinach, there are 10 grams of protein. Introduce a spinach salad before every meal and you’ll get your dose of protein in the lightest way possible

Raw and Vegan Protein Powders

If you’re looking an easy way to add protein to your diet, reach for the high quality protein powders, which are devoid of whey and soy. Especially if you’re active, protein supplementation is helpful and plant-based versions will give you the best bang for your buck. The Sunwarrior classic protein powder is my favorite. It has a 98 percent correlation rate to mother’s milk and a 98.2 percent digestion efficiency.

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