Good news for vegetarians; you can easily meet your daily dietary protein requirements; Here's all you need to know
A vegetarian meal can be balanced with the proper amino acid profile that has complete protein and its adsorption is perfect as well
Every year October 1st is celebrated as World Vegetarian Day, and I found this as an opportunity to break the myth about ‘you can’t have enough protein in vegetarian food’. We all know that protein is required for our body to repair cells and DNA, for our growth, healing, muscle building, tissue repair etc. And for ages, we have followed a common misconception that a vegetarian diet lacks protein. I have seen many vegetarian clients asking me questions like — ‘I have to build my muscles but how will I get protein as I don’t eat non-veg at all’. At times I feel that we just want to follow the fads blindly and drink more whey protein shakes to get the perfectly toned body. However, I wish to mention that it doesn’t work that way. Too much of anything will have a bad impact on your health as well as your body and people who think that a vegetarian diet will not provide you enough protein, are all wrong.
A vegetarian meal can be balanced with the proper amino acid profile that has complete protein and its adsorption is perfect as well. If you see a traditional veg thali across India, it will always have lentils or dal preparation along with cereals like roti or rice in it. Now the science that many of us might not know but our elders in the family still follow — is balancing the meals properly. One has to note that cereals lack one amino acid called — lysine (and contain methionine) whereas pulses lack — methionine (and contain lysine). So, when we combine cereals and pulses (dal-roti, dal-rice, khichdi-lentil with millets etc) we get a complete amino acid profile that enhances the protein absorption in the body. Incomplete proteins will neither support growth nor provide normal maintenance of body tissues. However, combining your pulses and grains will give you complete protein to build muscle mass and enhance growth.
For vegetarians who want to build a healthy body, we can look up at veg options without loading on excess protein shakes. Mix sattu (roasted chana or gram dal in powdered form) with organic A2 buttermilk and get a complete protein drink to fuel your body and build muscle. It contains calcium, iron, manganese, potassium and magnesium — all essential in tissue repair after a workout session. People who can’t take buttermilk can mix sattu with almond milk to reap the same benefits.
We Indians are blessed with a variety of lentils and legumes to add different nutrients to our meals. We surely need to go back to our roots and understand how our ancestors had complete protein by mixing and matching the many vegetarian food options.