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Ask the average person for a good source of protein and they might respond quickly with “meat!” Although technically true, meat might not be the best option when it comes to having an eco-friendly diet. Considering how some meat products are derived at and packaged, it might not be a healthy choice at all. Can you find a rich source of protein without a blowout out your carbon footprint? Absolutely. Consider these top five protein sources that are good for you and good for the planet.
Whey protein is considered by many nutritionists and personal trainers to be the powerhouse of food supplements. That is because even a scoop of whey power packs a lot of protein. You’ll find whey already in items like milk, yogurt and some cheeses. However, to get the full whey effect, you’ll want to add the protein powder to smoothies and shakes. It can also be sprinkled in all kinds of foods from salads to sauces. As a cheese by-product, whey can be considered a kind of repurposed supplement. In other words, it is going to be made anyway, so why not put it to use instead of going to waste?
If it comes in a pod or a shell, then it’s a legume. The top legume picks are peas, alfalfa and peanuts. However, the vast legume family tree also includes chickpeas, green beans, kidney beans, pinto beans … you can see where we’re going with this. It’s beans for everyone. What makes these a perfect pick for the planet? As it happens, legumes don’t require a lot of fertilizer to grow. In fact, many farmers use legumes to boost their soil with nitrogen.
Think of soy as the substitute protein. That means you can substitute soy – or tofu – for just about any other protein and with a little flavoring action, get it to taste close to the original source. Soy plants have a modest environmental footprint. However, that footprint can be reduced even further by sticking with the organic variety of soy. Don’t knock soy until you try it.
Yes, it is true. Milk does a body good. To get the full-on protein and calcium boost without blowing out your pant size, opt for low-fat or nonfat milk. If you can buy organic from local farmers all the better.
“Fish. It’s what’s for dinner.” Maybe it’s not on everyone’s plate tonight, but it should be. Fish is a great source of protein without any of the fatty parts. As footprints go, it is much better to pull a fish from the ocean than a cow from the land. There are no pesticides or antibiotics used in catching a fish.
These five protein sources should become staples for your diet. The good news is that they all can fire up your metabolism, which in turn will help you burn calories. A healthy diet of planet-friendly proteins and some form of physical activity is all it takes to stay healthy. That includes you and the planet.