The Benefits of Plant-Based Proteins Versus Animal-Based
Today we look at the major differences of animal based versus plant-based protein shakes, as well as offer a bonus selection of natural smoothie recipes in which your chosen protein can be incorporated.
Diet Restrictions & Allergies
A plant-based protein shake is the better option for most people with restrictive diets or food allergies. The exception being those who are allergic to any naturally occurring elements contained within the plant base (like coconut, for example).
A plant-based protein shake is better for those with the following diet restrictions or allergies:
- Celiac, Gluten Intolerance, or Wheat Allergy
- Allergy to Eggs
- Allergy to Milk, or Lactose Intolerance
- Vegetarians, and Vegans
- Calories Restriction for Weight Loss
Humans are naturally designed to eat plants, which means our digestive systems are better able to do this versus animal-based proteins. While meat may be easily digested, humans were never meant to consume the milk of other animals – and are, in fact, the only species that does so. If you want something that is highly digestible, without causing serious stomach issues to do so, you want to opt for proteins which are plant based.
Ease of Mixing
Plant-based protein shakes tend to mix easier, although this does vary based on the exact brand and formula you choose. While a seemingly small benefit, many consumers have expressed frustration at how difficult animal-based protein shakes are to mix.
Most meat-eating Americans are eating about 1.5- 2 times the recommended dietary allowance for protein, which is fine, except that the majority of this extra protein is coming from animal products often high in calories and lacking in the nutritional benefits that other plant-based proteins can provide.
Protein can help curb hunger, which is why it is important to have a protein source with each meal. If you’re interested in increasing your protein intake with plant-based foods, choose foods from this list:
- Beans, beans beans! Adzuki beans, black beans, kidney beans, soybeans — you name it, they’re all high in protein.
- Ancient grains like quinoa, amaranth and barley
- Brown rice, whole grain breads and cereals
- Nuts and seeds and their butters. Try sunflower butter, cashew butter and almond butter for a switch.
- Top cereal and yogurt with chia seeds or flaxseed meal.
- Green veggies: Edamame, spinach, peas, kale and broccoli
Don’t forget that dairy products like milk and yogurt are packed with protein (and lots of other important nutrients) as well. If you would rather have a milk alternative, go with soymilk. Almond milk and coconut milk are comparatively low in protein. Nutrition experts, authors, diet gurus and physicians all have their own theories when it comes to nutrition. Cut out sugar, no cut out fat… no wait, fat is good, cut out gluten instead. New information, studies and diet books pop up weekly with new recommendations and “magic” diets for us to follow. But, one thing that ALL experts can agree on is that we need to eat MORE fruits and vegetables. Everyone’s health and well-being can benefit from shifting to a more plant-based diet, and so can the environment!