While the reasoning is often different, many Americans are increasingly choosing to dedicate themselves to a vegan lifestyle. In general, this means that animal products such as meat, dairy, and eggs, are now off the menu and are being traded in for a more plant based diet. A chief concern for many vegans is if they will be able to consume enough complete proteins for their bodies to run efficiently. Not only is it possible to achieve this through complete protein vegan meals, it tends to be easier than you think.
What Are Complete Proteins?
The first step in being successful in eating complete protein vegan meals is learning what constitutes a complete protein. Scientists say there are roughly twenty different amino acids that can form a protein. While the human body can produce some of these, there are at least nine it cannot. These nine essential amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
A complete protein contains all nine of these essential amino acids, in nearly equal amounts no less, that our bodies cannot produce but need to operate efficiently.
The Benefits Of Eating Complete Proteins
People sticking to a vegan lifestyle typically eat diets high in plant protein. By nature, this typically includes meals largely made up of healthy grains, fruits, and vegetables. While health professionals have long claimed these foods to be good for the body, some studies now suggest that people following this diet generally experience lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and overall body weight. Many of these same individuals may also experience lower risk of cancer, strokes, and heart disease.
Complete Protein Sources For Vegans
The ground work has been laid now that you have dedicated yourself to a vegan diet, know what a complete protein is, and have discovered the possible benefits of this new lifestyle. The next item on the to-do list is to begin identifying some foods that can be eaten alone or used as ingredients in complete protein vegan meals.
While this list is by no means exhaustive, it can be a great place to start:
- Buckwheat: This food can be a bit confusing because although it has the word “wheat” in its name, it is in fact not a wheat. It is actually a relative of rhubarb. Buckwheat is often used in pancakes or even made into a kind of Japanese noodle.
- Soy: Edamame, tofu, and even tempeh are all good soy-based protein packed sources.
- Quinoa: This little seed is quickly gaining popularity in the U.S. It can be used in salads, as a hot cereal, or even as an ingredient in other dishes such as veggie burgers.
- Beans and Rice: A tried and true pairing, beans and rice can be a delicious way to consume protein. The combination can be very versatile depending on what type of bean and accent flavors are used.
- Pumpkin Seeds: These little protein powerhouses can be made salted or roasted in a variety of different flavors. Their portability makes pumpkin seeds a go to for a busy day out and about.
- Peanut Butter: This salty and creamy spread is a favorite with many because of its versatility. Whether you are dipping celery in it or spreading it on your morning bagel, peanut butter is a delicious and cost-conscious choice.
- Hummus: This protein packed snack can be used as a spread on a pita or as a dip for vegetables.
What Are Complete Protein Vegan Meals?
While many of the above proteins are excellent when eaten on their own, some may find themselves quickly bored with this way of eating. The secret to eating delicious and satisfying meals on a vegan meal plan is to combine these complete proteins together in variety of interesting and different ways so that your taste buds don’t get bored.
Here are two examples of complete protein vegan meals that are relatively easy to make and do not skimp on flavor or taste:
- Moroccan Lentil Stew: This hearty and warm dish is a tasty combination of lentils, chickpeas, and cauliflower that are seasoned with ginger, tomatoes, and other delicious spices.
- Butternut & Sage Penne: If you are looking for a healthy pasta, this dish will surely hit the spot. Protein packed chickpea penne is submerged in a creamy butternut pasta sauce and accented with fresh sage.
Make Eating Complete Protein Vegan Meals Easy
If these meals have your mouth watering, but you’re unsure of how you will have time to have everything ready to go for day one of your new lifestyle, a gourmet meal service may be the perfect answer. A reputable gourmet meal service will be well versed in the vegan diet, know what foods are best for this way of eating, and provide complete protein vegan meals that are sure to satisfy.
A bonus to using a meal service, particularly in the early stages of your journey, is that it allows you to try a variety of different meal combinations. This perk can save you time and money in the long run as when you begin cooking on your own, you will already know which flavors you really enjoy and which ones you don’t.
Gourmet meal services typically prepare your food in-house, vacuum seal the meal to lengthen its shelf life, and then mail it directly to your front doorstep. Especially on those busy nights, this convenience saves you dirty dishes and time in the kitchen while still giving you the peace of mind of staying on plan.
Look for a meal service that does not lock you into a long term contract. A respectable company will allow you to choose how many times a week you would like to order a meal, as well as let you determine the timeline of being a client.