Getting Plenty of Protein With Plant-Based Foods

Vegetarians and vegans get tired of hearing questions about where they get their protein. With products from the startup Hampton Creek, these individuals might proclaim that they get their protein from Canadian yellow peas. That’s a frivolous response, of course, but the company has indeed found a way to replace the eggs in mayonnaise with that plant protein. They’ve replaced the eggs in cookie dough with sorghum. In fact, sorghum and millet help provide protein in some poverty-stricken countries during times of food scarcity.

Obviously, nobody’s going to get all the protein they need from eating sandwich spread and cookie dough. Vegetarians typically eat eggs and dairy products, so they can name those items in a standard response to the question about protein. Vegans have it a bit tougher, since people generally don’t believe that plants provide enough protein for health. In reality, as long as vegans eat the recommended number of calories per day, they generally have no trouble getting plenty of protein. Protein can be obtained by eating grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and a variety of vegetables. Human adults generally only need about 40 to 50 grams of protein a day, not nearly as much as many people tend to think.

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For now, Hampton Creek has released a limited number of products. Most of them are condiments and salad dressings. The company has plans to bring a plant-based scrambled egg alternative to store shelves in 2016. An ingredients list for Just Scramble hasn’t been issued to the public yet, so nobody knows how much protein that product will provide. Vegans can boost the protein content of their meals by adding a variety of foods to Just Scramble.

A burrito, for instance, can include the scrambled egg alternative along with refried beans or black beans and soy cheese. Stir-fry might include Just Scramble along with numerous kinds of vegetables, including protein-rich green peas and tempeh. The egg alternative along with a whole-grain bagel and peanut butter packs a protein punch first thing in the morning. An omelet made with the product can include spinach and quinoa for another hearty breakfast.