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I am a vegetarian, and I am wondering: What are good sources of protein?
susila2, all plant sources of protein have some complete protein. All plant proteins have some of each of our 9 essential amino acids though not always in the correct ratio for us to utilize it. Currently the most accurate test of protein quality for humans is the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCCA). Eggwhite, milk, and soy protein isolate score a perfect 1.0 meaning we can utilize all of the protein. Beef is slightly behind at 0.92. Most legumes score around 0.68. Whole wheat, lentils, and peanuts score 0.58 and seitan doesn't do so well at 0.25.
It is true that we can improve the score by combining different foods since the limiting amino acid in one food may be abundant in another and vice versa. Beans and rice are a classic example. Adding any complete protein to a less complete one improves its score as well. It is interesting that many traditional dishes naturally complement the amino acid deficiencies which may indicate that over time people noticed that eating foods in that combination was healthful.
The book "Diet for a Small Planet" brought amino acid complimentary to the masses. While it introduced many people to the health and environmental benefits of vegetarianism it had two major flaws. It assumed that vegetarians should consume similar amounts of complete protein that meat eaters do and it assumed that it was necessary to combine foods in the correct ratios in every meal. It turns out that meat eaters really eat more protein than is necessary and this leads to some of the chronic health problems that we suffer. Also it is now known that amino acids compliment each other even when not eaten in the same meal. Since Ms. Lappe designed the recipes for maximum amino acid complimentation instead of taste most of them were not very good. I had that book in the 1980's and never found a single recipe good enough to make again.
Protein quality need not be a concern in 1st world countries where food is abundant. We can get all of the complete protein we need from plant sources without needing to compliment proteins; since we eat much more protein than our bodies need its efficiency is not a concern. In starving 3rd countries where there are food shortages improving the protein utilization can mean the difference between life or death.
...and don't forget nuts and seeds.
One problem: most plant proteins are incomplete in themselves - I.e. they don't have all the amino acids needed to make a 'complete' protein. One way around this is to eat foods in combinations that complement each other - the classic one being the Central American 'Three Sisters' of beans, sweet corn and squash.
pulses and lentels beans... (not just backed beans)...black eyed beans some vegies eat fish... I don't know if you do... but if so thas good... (I do) smothies are good you can get some specialy formulated with extra protien I dont know if it costs extra...
hope that helps you a bit...
Me too :) im veggei, eat loads and loads of lentils, they have well good protein, eat stuff like lettuce and there is some in spinach, the rest well you need supplements if you want to build up like a wrestler lol, but otherwise lentils is fine
Legumes are an excellent source. Whole grains and potatoes are also good. Otherwise nearly all plant foods have some protein, apples having effectively no protein are the exception.
peanutbutter is loaded w/ protein
thanks tons <3