Myths About Protein and a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet

One of the most common doubts that people have about Whole Food Plant-based diet is, "But where will you get your protein from if not from animal foods?" I patiently walk them through how easy it is to get safe proteins from whole plant foods. Granted, the common vegetarian diet in India majorly focuses on consuming a little tuar, moong or chana dal. At Sampoorna Ahara we offer customers lentils measuring up to 50 grams in the raw state for every meal. And, the variety of dals are high!

Just to give you an insight, we use all of these dals & other plant based proteins in our tiffin service:

  1. Kabuli Chana
  2. Brown Chana
  3. Bengal Gram Dal
  4. Tuar Dal
  5. Moong Dal
  6. Moth Bean Whole
  7. Moong Whole
  8. Horsegram Whole
  9. Cowpea White
  10. Cowpea Red
  11. Soya Bean
  12. Masoor Dal
  13. Masoor Whole
  14. Urad Dal
  15. Urad Whole
  16. Rajma
  17. Dried Green Peas
  18. Dried White Peas
  19. Avarekkallu
  20. Peanuts
  21. Flaxseed

Plant Based Protein Lentils

We use them as boiled sprouts or in their flour form. Our equipment makes it  easy for us to make vadas and patties out of them that people love. Dals and Sambars are thick and plenty for every person. No subscriber of a Sampoorna Ahara meal can complain of not getting enough protein. Some of our subscribers are folks who work out often and they have found our meals to be great when it comes to ensuring that they have sufficient proteins.

Globally, like me, some others too find the folks carry certain wrong perceptions about proteins! They believe that one must consume "a lot of proteins." We mostly need to get 10 per cent of our calories from proteins. Having too much can even hurt our bodies!

"How much is a lot?" is a question that remains unanswered. 

Rather than asking how much, if we learned to ask, "Are we having at least 100 gm of lentils in a day?" we might be on track.

Another myth they carry is that good proteins can only be found in animals. There is an important reason why this myth has persisted: amino acids, the basis of protein, combine in a way in animal foods that is closer to how humans actually metabolize them themselves. The truth is, that it does not matter. The body collects the necessary amino acids and reassembles them in the appropriate sequence whenever it wants to. No matter what kind of protein you eat, this will occur. 

By eating a variety of whole plants, you will easily obtain all of the amino acids you need for a thriving metabolism. As an added bonus, plant protein contains numerous phytonutrients, antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and fiber as well. Animal protein, however, is loaded with unhealthy saturated fats and cholesterol. Aside from being low in phytonutrients, antioxidants, and fiber, animal products are also very low in vitamins and minerals. These were some of the things that made me shift focus to a whole food plant-based diet as the most healing way of eating.

We have shown that our daily meals not only satisfy sports people and people who work out daily; but also elders whose body gets fitter thanks to proteins that they consume, helping to keep their organs in better conditions. 

It is a rule that we measure out every ingredient, including proteins to ensure an adequate quantity of nutrients according to amounts specified by Dr. Michel Gregger in his Daily Dozen Plan, is offered to customers, for every meal.

Another issue I find amongst Indians is that they assume that too much lentils will produce flatulence which discomforts them. Only sedentary lifestyles and unmindful eating habits can cause this. 

I am rather strict with even elders who feel that they cannot consume so much lentils. This is because traditionally we are used to eating lower amounts of lentils in a meal. The same people may down a cup of sundal or some crisp ribbon pakodas or onion pakodas :)! 

Knowing this we do try to offer a variety of options for people to choose from to satisfy their nutrient needs. I am happy as long as that 100 grams of lentils go in every day! 

It’s now your turn to speak up. How much plant proteins do you consume? Do you avoid Animal Proteins? Comment below.

Be Blessed,

Dr. Achyuthan Eswar

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