Easy Food Combining for Vegetarians and Vegans

So you have made the decision to eat Vegetarian and Vegan and you're a little confused on how to go about it and still ensure you are getting enough Complete Protein in your diet every day. Well we are going to share with you some of the easiest ways to combine food to ensure you're not missing out on any one of those Essential Amino Acids.

For starters, lets look at the different foods that you can choose from that do contain some Amino Acids. You have of course Vegetables (like broccoli, carrots, kale, spinach, zucchini and cabbage), Grains (such as wheat, corn, rice, barley and oats), Nuts and Seeds (including almonds, brazils, cashews, sesame, pepitas and chia) and finally your legumes (which consist of lentils, peas and beans). Now that we have broken them down into four basic categories, lets go through what Essential Amino Acids each of the categories are missing. This diagram will help...

veg protein combining.jpg

Let's start with Veggies (because did you ever hear of a Vegetarian who didn't eat Veggies... ). Vegetables are quite often low in the Amino Acids Methionine and Isoleucine. These are important for heart health, muscle recovery and blood sugar regulation. So if you tried to survive on Veggies alone you probably wouldn't be doing all that well.

You could try a diet of Grains (which seem to make up the majority of most people's diet... but don't necessarily include them in their raw form unfortunately). Grains are low in Lysine, Threonine and Tryptophan. These three control bone development, hormone production, sleep and regulate moods. So if you lived off grains alone you'd be a tired, cranky, hormonal mess probably with Osteoporosis!

Onto Nuts and Seeds, which are deficient in Lysine and Isoleucine which have been previously mentioned for their involvement in bone development, muscle recovery and blood sugar regulation. Likewise with Legumes which are low in Methionine and Tryptophan for heart health, sleep and mood regulation. 

So we can't live off any one of these categories alone, however, if we combine the correct foods and have a good variety we won't be missing out at all! If you want to ensure you have a Complete amount of protein with every meal, consider combining the following...

Grains with: 

  • Nuts & Seeds with Legumes
  • Veggies

Veggies with:

  • Grains
  • Nuts & Seeds with Legumes

Nuts & Seeds with:

  • Legumes
  • Grains with Veggies

Legumes with:

  • Nut & Seeds
  • Grains with Veggies

So simply pick the base of your meal and add one of the two options and you'll be laughing. Alternatively if that doesn't suit the meal you're trying to make, just make sure you eat a good variety of all four by the end of the day and your diet will be full of Complete protein by the end of the day. 

Our next Blog goes through a few Vegetarian and Vegan foods which by themselves are already Complete proteins. You're probably wondering why we haven't told you about them already... Well we don't want you getting lazy now :-)