Having adequate protein is important for developing bone mass. But eating meat comes with a price – high acidity. And as we get older, our bodies are not as efficient at digesting meat. Meat also comes with a lot of other things we don’t need: like cholesterol and high fat. In our quest for protein, we often overlook the non-meat variety: beans, tofu, broccoli (weird, I know), rice & grains, nuts.
The biggest problem about getting your protein from vegetables as opposed to meat is that it isn’t a complete protein. What do I mean by complete? Protein contains amino acids. There are approximately 20 of them in all, eleven of which are essential to the human body. Essential as in — you can’t live without them. Vegetables don’t contain all eleven of these amino acid; meat, poultry, fish, dairy, cheese and eggs do.
But even if you’re a vegan and consume no meat or dairy, that’s not a problem. As long as you pair up complimentary amino acids, which most of us do without even thinking about it. For example: rice and beans; cornbread and peas; pasta and tomatoes, peanut butter on bread. These pairings all are examples of incomplete proteins made complete by their partners.
You can read this article about vegetables rich in protein, which also has some nifty recipes. [NOTE: to get the recipes, you have to scroll all the way to the end of the article to the slide show, and then underneath each photo, you'll see a link to the recipe. Orange marmalade oatmeal for breakfast anyone?]