The high protein diets like Atkins and South Beach have left many people thinking that eating high amounts of animal products are the only options to lose weight. That is simply not true. Most people actually eat excessive amounts of protein from these sources, creating high levels of acidity for their kidneys to address. Additionally, excess protein turns to fat in the body (I discuss this topic in greater detail in my new book 60 Seconds to Slim). Consider that our much thinner ancestors ate only about 5 percent of their caloric intake as animal protein while we eat 40% of our calories as animal protein—that’s a whopping 248 pounds of meat per person every year in the United States.
Whether you’re vegan or just looking to cut back on your meat, including vegan sources of protein at your meals can help balance body weight by regulating blood sugar and keeping you feeling full longer.
Here are some of the best vegan sources of protein:
Legumes, such as kidney beans, black beans, navy beans, pinto beans, Romano beans, chickpeas, soybeans, edamame (green soybeans)
Nuts (preferably raw, unsalted), including: almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts
Seeds, such as chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds
Soy products (organic only since soy is heavily genetically-modified), such as tofu, miso, and tempeh
Dairy alternatives including almond milk, coconut milk, hemp seed milk, and soy milk
You may notice that protein powders are not on the list. That’s because many are heavily-processed, sugar-laden, or contain neurotoxic monosodium glutamate in one of its many guises, particularly protein “isolates.” Ground seeds are a much better way to add protein to your smoothies than by using protein powders.
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