Being Vegan – The Big Protein Debate!

Being Vegan – The Big Protein Debate!

More and more people these days, are opting to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, and we would like to think that we are here to cater for your needs. We often have customers who wander into Beetroot Healthy Food for the first time – who are quite sceptical of our menu when they realise its meat free! Very often, we need to explain, it’s vegan or vegetarian, and we often need to explain what the difference is.

A Vegan diet involves eating only plant-based foods and excluding animal foods and products. Vegetarians on the other hand, still opt to consume eggs, dairy products, such as cheese and milk and so on and would for example use honey as a natural sweetener.

We love inquisitive newcomers, and always take great pleasure when they decide to give one of our soups or stews a shot – and who then end up returning to Beetroot Healthy Food, to enjoy the meat free experience again! We welcome and cater for folk from all walks of life, and we do see a growing trend in fitness and body building enthusiasts -  some of whom are still very sceptical about using plant based protein sources.

The bottom line is – a person who follows a vegan diet - can get all necessary nutrients from their food, if they fully understand the nutrient content of their foods and plan their diet accordingly.  

One of the biggest questions we get asked is:

“Where do vegans get their protein?”

Some of the highest– plant based protein sources, are staple ingredients in all of the Beetroot Healthy Foods dishes. You’ll find these protein sources daily, in our soups and hotpots, our chickpea falafel baguettes and burritos and in many of our salad choices – on the salad bar.

Vegan Sources of Protein – all found in Beetroot’s dishes. Here’s a little overview of some of our plant based proteins, there’s too many for us to include all!

  • Black Eyed Peas - Black Eyed Peas contain 7.73 g per 100 g. Like most other beans such as red kidney beans, they’re also a great source of iron, magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins.
  • Broccoli - Broccoli contains 4 grams of protein in just 1 cup, which isn’t too bad considering that same cup also contains 30 percent of your daily calcium needs, along with vitamin C, fibre, and B vitamins for only 30 calories.
  • Chia Seeds - Chia seeds contain 4g protein in every 2 tablespoons. Chia seeds are an ancient seed that have been used for centuries for their amazing properties to absorb water and turn into a gel-like substance thanks to the soluble fibre content in the seeds. This in turn assists with digestion and elimination. Chia seeds also provide fibre, protein, and healthy fats (mainly omega-3’s). Other seeds used across the Beetroot Healthy Food menu include; sunflower, sesame,  hemp, flax, and pumpkin seeds are also very high in protein and mineral rich.
  • Chickpeas - Chickpeas contain 14.5 grams’ protein per cup and are very high in both protein and fibre, which helps make you feel full, curb food cravings and hopefully reduce unhealthy snacking. Chickpeas nutritional profile includes, macronutrients that work together to give us a feeling of satiety, whilst also helping to control our blood sugar levels and energy levels.
  • Green Beans and Peas - Green Beans and Peas are packed with protein and fibre. They both contain 8 grams of protein per cup. Bonus … peas are also rich in leucine, an amino acid crucial to metabolism and weight loss that’s hard to find in most plant-based foods.
  • Hemp Seeds - Hemp Seeds contain 15g protein per cup. These mega seeds not only contain protein but also contain heart-healthy fats, mainly omega-3 fatty acids. They contain 15g protein per cup, PUFAs, and Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Hemp seeds are high in fibre, iron and calcium too.
  • Lentils - Lentils add 9 grams of protein to your meal per half cup, along with nearly 15 grams of fibre. Lentils are a delicious protein favourite for many, especially those on vegetarian and vegan diets looking to pump up the protein profile.
  • Mung Means - Mung Beans, contain a whopping 24g protein per cup are high in fibre and are magnesium rich. A super protein source!
  • Nuts - Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, peanuts, and more are not only rich in minerals, Vitamin E, and healthy fats but are also protein rich. Find them occasionally in our stews (don’t worry about a nut allergy, we always make sure to highlight if there are nuts in a dish!)  1/4 cup nuts = around 7- 9g protein.
  • Pumpkin Seeds - Pumpkin Seeds contain 8 gram of protein per 1/4 cup, and are one of the most overlooked sources of iron and protein out there. They’re also an excellent source of magnesium.
  • Spinach - Spinach has 5 grams of protein per cup, is considered to be one of the healthiest foods on earth, with researchers identifying more than a dozen different types of flavonoid antioxidants alone that are present in spinach, not to mention all of its other nutrients. Spinach nutrition has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities, and if you combine that with its very low amount of calories, it is easily one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence.

At Beetroot Healthy Food we also ensure you get your protein quotient by serving only the best in wholesome protein rich grains:

Protein Grains

  • Wholegrain rice - Gluten free. Proteins found in brown rice fall into the incomplete classification, as they do not contain all the necessary amino acids your body needs. However, brown rice serves as a healthy, whole-grain choice that will give you a good start toward meeting your body's protein requirements. 
  • Quinoa. Gluten free. Complete protein. With 8 grams per cup, this gluten-free seed-like grain is a fantastic source of protein, magnesium, antioxidants, and fibre. Complete proteins contain all nine of the essential amino acids the body cannot produce on its own.
  • Millet -  Gluten free. 11g protein. The major nutritional difference between the two grains is their amino acid profiles: While quinoa is a complete protein, millet is not. Complete proteins contain all nine of the essential amino acids the body cannot produce on its own. Although most animal proteins are complete, few plant sources can say the same.
  • Buckwheat – Gluten free a nutrient-packed, gluten-free seed. While most people think of buckwheat as a whole grain, it’s actually a seed that is high in both protein and fibre. It supports heart and heart health and can help prevent diabetes and digestive disorders. Buckwheat is a favourite amongst plant-based and gluten-free eaters alike since it provides a high source of amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants include cholesterol-lowering effects, anti-hypertension effects and improving digestion.

So, there you go, some food for thought! In the meantime, why not come on down and sample some of our protein rich dishes for yourself!

Here’s a little sample of just some….

Beetroot Protein Rich Dishes

  • Mung Bean & Hemp Seeds Broth
  • Quinoa Soup - With Fresh Herbs & Root veg
  • Sri Lankan Style Stew with Chick Peas Sweet Potato, Peanuts and Lemon Grass
  • Vegan Chilly Non Carne -  with Beans, Lentils buckwheat grain and tomatoes
  • Vegetarian Lasagne – with broccoli, lentils, feta and cheddar cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds.

The Beetroot Team J