Why an elephant as a cover photo? - The elephant, one of the strongest animals in the animal kingdom, sustains itself on a “vegetarian” diet since it is herbivorous.
You don’t need to eat meat if you’re bodybuilding. Of course, it is easier to find protein from sources such as fish and chicken. But if you’re a vegetarian, you can definitely get your protein source from these amazing vegetarian sources!
1. Greek Yogurt
My favourite source of protein is Greek yogurt. As compared to regular yogurt, Greek yogurt has a thicker texture as it undergoes extensive straining to remove the liquid and lactose present. This results in double the amount of protein as what regular yogurt contains! Also, Greek yogurt is readily available in most supermarkets and they are fairly priced. 150g of Greek yogurt typically costs anything between USD 1.20 to USD 3.00 depending on the brand and where you purchase it. My favourite is the Emmi Swiss Premium Greek Style Yogurt (Natural) shown here.
This small tub contains 150g of Greek yogurt, is non-fat and has 10% protein. That is equivalent to 84 calories and 15g of protein. Comparatively, a whey protein shake is about 20g of protein with 122 calories.
If you’re like me, you probably won’t like the yogurt raw. A simple trick is to add a tablespoon of honey (Manuka honey is really good!) to it before consuming.
See here for more benefits of Greek yogurt: Livestrong.com
Chickpeas, also known as grams or garbanzo bean are also rich in protein. Just one cup of chickpeas can provide 12 grams of protein. Chickpeas can be made easily by soaking it in water overnight or boiling it. Easy protein for all vegetarians!
Unlike animal protein, chickpeas (and most plant-based proteins) do not have all the amino acids to give the complete protein you need. But, you can easily combine chickpeas with other food to “complete” your protein requirements.
Coming from an Indian family, lentils are commonplace in most of my dishes. They are perfect for anyone to get various nutrients all at one go. One cup of lentils can provide up to 18 grams of protein and contains many other nutrients like iron, potassium and zinc. In fact, lentils are considered to be one of the world’s healthiest foods! Combining lentils with your daily meals is a great way to meet your protein requirements. They are surely a great replacement for fish and meat.
Milk primarily contains 3-4 types of caseins. Having a glass of milk daily, in the morning can help kickstart your metabolism for the day. You seem to be wondering how much protein there is in a glass of milk. One glass (around 200 ml) can easily provide 10 - 11g of protein with about 120 calories. My daily breakfast consists of a glass of milk with Milo and 2 slices of wholemeal bread. That gives me 17.6g of protein with 368 calories.
This post would not be complete without the mention of nature’s wonders: nuts. Walnuts, almonds, grams, cashews, sunflower seeds, peanuts (beware: high fat content too!), pine nuts, pecan nuts. Take a handful of a mix of whichever of these nuts you can find to get a wholesome nutrient source with a good amount of protein! However, some nuts, like peanuts, can also have a high fat content. So do check out the nutritional labels on the fat content for the nuts to decide how much would fit your daily expectations or goals. My favourite combination includes roasted grams, peanuts, almonds and sunflower seeds! I usually like to supplement my workout with a handful of nuts.
You might be wondering why I did not mention soy, which also provides for an excellent source of protein. Protein alone may not give someone the clear and overall picture. In my readings, I have often found that soy, despite being high in proteins, contain phytoestrogens which might disrupt hormone levels. While this is a debatable topic, I prefer to steer away from soy products. There are so many other options which appeal to me more than soy anyway!
Hope this was helpful! Share the goodness.
General Disclaimer: Dietary requirements would vary depending on your current health status. Some products mentioned may contain additional ingredients which may not be suitable for all. Do consult a nutritionist to be well-advised.
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