A lot of proteins we absorb is from meat and dairy product. But legumes and veggies are also a rich source of protein. The difference is legumes have incomplete proteins, meaning they don't have all of nine essential amino acids that meat have.
If meat is what provides all the essential amino acids we need, why don't we just all eat meat?
First, there are people that are vegetarians and vegans who can't consume meat. There are also various cultural beliefs that avoid eating a certain meat.
Second, eating meat, whether it's red meat or white meat, has been shown to be largely responsible for increased risk of heart diseases, especially processed red meat.
Consuming legumes as a substitute for meat comes with many more benefits than we think.
- Decreased risk of heart diseases and risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Controlled body weight.
- Increased absorption of vitamins and minerals.
- Controlled satiety (you're less likely to be hungry and overeat).
- Better for nature overall (I won't get into this topic!)
So, let's get started and explore different combinations for complete proteins.
1. Grains + legumes
Grains are seeds of various grass plants. Examples include rice, wheat, corn, rye, barley, quinoa, and oats. It is recommended that whole grains make up at least half of your daily consumption of grain foods. Whole grain are richer in natural nutrients. Refined grains are fortified with more vitamins, but they have less fibre.
Legumes include peas, beans, lentils, and chick peas. They are the richest source of protein among plant foods. They have virtually no saturated fats and no cholesterol (soybeans and peanuts are the exception, but they are just as healthy as other legumes).
Although grains and legumes each doesn't have all of the amino acids, they will fill in the gaps when combined together. Later on, I will touch on what food you can practically prepare in the kitchen for this combination.
2. Beans + nuts/seeds/grains
Nuts are a good source of fat, fibre, and protein. Most of the fats in nuts are healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fats.
Seeds and grains are a good source of fibre and healthy monounsaturated fats. They also contain important vitamins and minerals that are anti-oxidant, a feature responsible for slowing down the aging process of the body.
Beans provide protein, fibre, non-Haem iron, folate, potassium, and magnesium. They are low in sodium, trans-fat, and cholesterol.
So, combining beans with either seeds, nuts, or grains will give you all the essential amino acids that you need.
3. Veggies + nuts/seeds/grains
Veggies, aka. vegetables, are rich in important nutrients such as potassium, dietary fibre, folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, etc. Most of them are, however, low in proteins, carbs, fats and calories, which is why it is a favorite diet for weight loss.
Nonetheless, whether or not you're looking for weight loss, it is recommended you try out this combination of veggies and nuts or seeds or grains. They complement so well with each other. One gives you healthy fats, carbs, and proteins while the other gives you important potassium and other essential vitamins. A bonus point, diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure.
I will be showing which food you can prepare in your kitchen for this type of combination, so stay tuned.
4. Nuts/seeds + legumes
We have discussed nutrient values in nuts, seeds, and legumes before, but here's a reminder of what we've learned.
Nuts, seeds, and grains are a good source of healthy fats, fibre, proteins, and other essential vitamins and minerals.
Legumes provide the most protein and have virtually no fat.
So, a combination of legumes and either nuts or seeds will replenish your body's dietary needs.
5. Corn + legumes
Corn is high in calories, fibre, carbs, and natural sugar. It is also a great source for acquiring vitamin C, thiamine, and folate. One downside of corn is that it is quite low in protein and fats.
So, combining corn with legumes, which is high in proteins, will yield a great result.
How to make your own complete protein meals in the kitchen
Now, let's get into the practical side of things. I will be showing you what food you can combine for complete proteins.
1. Beans + toast
On one hand, we have beans being rich in protein, fibre, potassium, and magnesium. On the other, we have toast being rich in carbs while low in protein and other micro-nutrients. When combined together, toast and beans will make your breakfast a delicious meal that is low in fat but provides you just as much energy as you need to go through the day.
2. Any veggies + hummus
Hummus is mainly made of chickpeas or garbanzo beans and olive oil. And as we all know about beans, they are rich in proteins and fibre but low in fat. So, adding healthy olive oil will complete all the nutrients we need. But of course, we need some greens as our bodies need them. That's where veggies come in.
My personal favorite combination in the kitchen is hummus, bell pepper, cucumber, and spinach. To me, this is such a perfectly healthy and balanced combo because not only does it give you complete protein, but it will help you absorb more of those nutrients within each components. For more details on this, I have already written an article about this topic, so make sure to check it out here.
3. Veggie soup + lentils
Lentils is a type of legume, which means it is high in protein, carbs, and fibre while low in saturated fat. Veggie soup, on the other hands, can compensate for the healthy fat that lentils lack. Veggie soup also provides more carbs for those who need a lot of energy or those are looking to bulk.
4. Lentil burgers + whole grain buns
It's time to bring your vegan burger meal to the next level. We already know about lentils. What about whole grain buns? Buns are high in carbs and fibre, while grains provide healthy monounsaturated fats. Grains also contain important vitamins and minerals that are anti-oxidant.
So, combining these together, we have a delicious vegan burger that give you all the proteins, carbs, and healthy fat that you need for your body.
There you have it, today you've learned how to achieve complete proteins without involving meat or dairy for each and every single meal of yours from now on. You also learned some examples of what foods you can practically prepare right in your kitchen based on the guidelines I have given you, including my own.
Feel free to comment down below what you think and whether or not you enjoyed the content. Let me know so I will prepare better next time what you're looking for.
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