Let’s talk about plant-based proteins- and specifically ‘complete’ proteins ? I’ve had quite a few clients recently coming to me worried that they’re not getting any ‘complete’ proteins in their day. They worry that this means that they won’t be able to build muscle easily on a plant-based diet, or maintain good health. There are 9 essential amino acids, meaning that we have to eat them because we can’t make them in adequate amounts my ourselves. All 9 essential amino acids can be found in plant-foods, so it makes little sense to assume we need to eat animals to get them. In actuality, the animals that provide some people with their ‘complete’ protein get their essential amino acids from plants… So why not go straight to the plant source? ✨.
Although it’s true that meat can be a source of all 9 essential amino acids, there are some plant-based foods that provide all essential amino acids as well. These are soy foods like tofu, tempeh, edamame and soy milk, hemp seeds, quinoa and chia seeds ✨.
To be honest, the praise for ‘complete’ proteins is pretty outdated anyway. Research has shown time and time again that our bodies are able to store ‘pools’ of amino acids to draw on later, meaning that if we eat a meal that’s relatively high in some amino acids but relatively low in others, we have a safety-net with these pools to draw on. The key is to make sure you’re getting a good diversity of amino acids throughout your day from things like legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit. If you’re eating enough calories for your body, and eating a variety of plant-based foods (including legumes, tofu, tempeh, edamame, nuts, seeds, etc.), protein isn’t going to be an issue on a plant-based diet ✨.
If you’re feeling confused about all of the conflicting advice you’re seeing out there when it comes to plant-based diets, you’re not alone. Click the link in my bio to schedule a FREE 15-minute nutrition consultation with me, a Registered Dietitian who specializes in plant-based nutrition, to see how we can work together to make a personalized plan to help you with a plant-based diet ?