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Vegetarian Or Vegan? Check Out These High Protein Foods.

Prefer to not get your protein fix through meat? Here are some awesome meat-free alternatives.

Food & Drink

I'm pretty sure that everyone reading this knows that protein is essential to their overall health and well-being. But have you ever wondered exactly why that is the case? Long story short, protein is a macronutrient that is found in every part of our body because it's a part of every cell. Protein helps to build and repair tissues in our system while also being what helps to make enzymes, hormones, muscle bones and more. Our hair? It's mostly protein. Our nails? They are mostly protein too. Bottom line, there's basically no way we can function properly without protein being a part of our daily diet.

And what has a lot of protein in it? Meat, hands down. Yet what do you do if you happen to be a vegetarian or vegan because, as a woman, you need around 46 grams of protein a day (56 grams if you're a man)? Good question. Luckily, there are several non-animal-related foods that can get you the protein that your body craves without you having to betray your personal eating preferences. As far as the ones that can get you the most protein possible, I've got a list of 12 of 'em right here.

1. Eggs

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If you're a vegan, you'll need to pass on eggs because they are a dairy product. But if you're a vegetarian, technically you can eat them because they aren't considered to be what falls into the "animal flesh" category. As far as health benefits go, eggs are high in selenium and riboflavin (Vitamin B2), along with having a good amount of vitamins A and E, folate, calcium and zinc in them. Eggs also contain choline (which helps to build healthy cell membranes), they help to produce "good cholesterol" that can lower heart disease and they have the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin in them to help with keeping your vision in peak condition.

Eggs are also dope on the protein tip because one egg contains about six grams of it. Another great thing about eggs is they contain amino acids; ones that your system is able to turn into protein once you consume them.

2. Greek Yogurt

This is another heads up for vegetarians only because Greek yogurt is also a dairy product. If you've ever wondered what makes Greek yogurt different from all of the rest, it's because the whey that is in other yogurts is removed from it. As a result, Greek yogurt doesn't contain any lactose (a sugar that is found in milk). When it comes to Greek yogurt's benefits, it's got calcium, probiotics and Vitamin B12. The combination makes this particular food great for maintaining bone health, boosting metabolism, improving gut health, lowering blood pressure and even helping to treat depression.

And just how much protein is in this kind of yogurt? Oh, it's got a lot! If you eat one container of it, you'll be giving your system somewhere between 14-17 grams of protein. Whew!

3. Sun-Dried Tomatoes

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If you keep tomatoes in your refrigerator, they are able to last anywhere from 10-14 days. But if you want to be able to enjoy them longer, one thing you can do is let them dry out in the sun or oven (you can learn how to go the oven route here). Considering this as an alternative is good because tomatoes are full of fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, several forms of Vitamin B and also vitamins C and K. Tomatoes are also a great source of antioxidants which makes them a great fruit to fight off free radicals, reduce bodily inflammation, improve your digestive health and, even boost collagen levels so that your skin looks younger for longer.

When it comes to protein consumption, it doesn't get much better than tomatoes. The reason why I say that is because you can get as much as eight grams of protein for every cup of them that you eat. So, if you put a few of these on a salad, you will have a lot of the protein intake that you need for any particular day.

4. Broccoli

Broccoli is a great source of all kinds of goodness. It's full of vitamins A, C, E, K and iron, calcium, potassium, folic acid and magnesium. So, no wonder broccoli is the kind of veggie that is able to support strong bones, reduce the risk of heart disease and keep your eyes in great shape (thanks to the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin that are also in them). As a bonus, broccoli even contains cancer-fighting compounds.

As if all of that wasn't impressive enough, something else that broccoli's got plenty of is protein. As much as five grams per serving (which is a cup). Just make sure that you steam it if you want to get the most out of it. Preparing broccoli any other way can zap some of its nutrients.

5. Oats

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If you're someone who has a heaping bowl of oatmeal, at least a couple of times a week, good for you. Oats contain a massive amount of manganese (191 percent of the reference daily intake), along with a high amount of phosphorus, magnesium, copper, fiber, thiamin (Vitamin B1) and some iron and zinc too. Oats will also do your body good because they've got the antioxidants avenanthramides that can lower your blood pressure, improve your blood sugar levels, reduce your colon cancer risk, strengthen your immune system and, because it's high in good carbs, oats can give you a good boost of energy too.

Oats are a good way to get more protein. If you have a half-cup of 'em, you'll get someone around 13 grams. Impressive.

6. Lima Beans

Is it just me or are lima beans a super acquired taste? Either way, in just a sec, I'm gonna blow your mind with how much protein is in this particular vegetable. But first, its other health benefits. As far as vitamins and minerals go, lima beans can get you a good amount of manganese, copper, potassium, phosphorus, iron and folate. These are the kind of beans that can help to lower your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, support your nervous system and, thanks to the fiber that's also in them, lima beans can help to keep you regular while detoxifying your system too.

But here's the real clincher. Guess how much protein is in a half-cup of lima beans? 21 freakin' grams! Yep, that's the most out of any other food on this list and, if you eat a cup of 'em, you've pretty much taken in all of the protein that your body needs for the day. No wonder grandma used to make us eat them so often, huh?

7. Guava

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Unlike a lot of fruits that are in their peak during any other season but winter, guava is the opposite. It is at its best between November and April. Guava is a tropical fruit that's really good for you because it's high in Vitamin C, potassium and fiber. It is able to help to lower your blood sugar levels, improve your heart health, boost your digestive health, strengthen your immunity and even lessen the pain of period cramps (how cool is that?).

One of the best things about guava, though, is it's pretty off the charts when it comes to being a wonderful source of protein. While it's a pretty low-calorie fruit (somewhere around 120 calories per cup), you're able to get yourself 4 ½ grams of protein per cup too.

8. Potatoes

Ah, potatoes. Now this is the kind of food that sometimes I've gotta talk myself out of eating (because everything must be done in moderation, right?). I don't know what it is exactly, but whether it's a French fry or a baked one (white or sweet; it doesn't really matter), potatoes just feel so damn comforting. Plus, there are several things that make them good for us. Potatoes are a great source of vitamins B6 and C. Potatoes have a ton of potassium in them (a potato contains more potassium than a banana does). Believe it or not, potatoes are also fat, sodium and cholesterol-free. Added benefits include the fact that potatoes have no gluten in them, can help to fight off free radicals and even has studies stating that they can hinder the growth of liver and colon cancer cells.

Also, no matter how you prefer to prepare your potato, you can get a nice amount of protein from it. In fact, a medium-sized potato will give you around four grams of protein. Dope.

9. Coconut

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Coconut, taste wise, is something that is difficult to describe, I won't lie. Personally, I like coconut milk and even dried coconut. It's a food that's considered to be a fruit, nut and seed that contains healthy fats, is high in electrolytes (to keep you hydrated), contains lauric acid (which can fight bacteria in your system), and it has antifungal and antibacterial properties that will fight oral decay and help to prevent bladder infection, kidney disease, thyroid dysfunction and skin and scalp infections too.

Coconut is another food that makes the high-in-protein list because, if you eat a medium-sized coconut, you're actually getting somewhere around 13 grams of protein; that's close to one-third of the daily recommended amount that your system needs.

10. Hemp Seeds

OK, so let me say off top that, although these seeds have the word "hemp" in them, don't let that get you all excited. Hemp seeds are seeds that come from the Cannabis sativa plant and they don't produce any sort of mind-altering effect. Still, if you add these into your diet, they can benefit your health in a myriad of ways. Hemp seeds are a great source of alpha-linolenic acid (which is an omega-3 fatty acid), many forms of Vitamin B, Vitamin E, magnesium, potassium and folate. Eating hemp seeds will help to reduce bodily inflammation, boost heart health, heal acne, reduce symptoms related to rheumatoid arthritis and, they can help to protect your brain as well.

Hemp seeds are really impressive when it comes to how much protein that you can get out of them. You can actually get close to 10 grams of protein if you consume as little as three tablespoons of them. And, since hemp seeds contain all nine essential amino acids, they are the kind of seeds that are on the list of being a superfood too.

11. Green Peas

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Green peas are something that I can get down with. Like carrots, they're a semi-sweet veggie. They've got an impressive amount of vitamins A and K as well as folate, fiber, calcium and manganese that work together to do things for your health like helping to protect you from getting heart disease and controlling your blood sugar.

And yes, they are another vegetable that is a good protein source. How much? Well, a half-cup can get you somewhere around four grams which is actually three times more than what a half-cup of carrots will provide.

12. Sprouted Bread

If you've got a craving for a sandwich, don't deprive yourself. Just be intentional to make it out of sprouted bread. What's that? It's bread that has been made from whole grains that have germinated. Sprouted bread is beneficial because, since its grains have literally sprouted, you are able to get more nutritional value when it comes to vitamins B and C and fiber with each slice. Sprouted bread also contains the enzymes phytase and amylase which makes it easier to digest, is lower in gluten and has higher antioxidant levels in it (like beta-carotene) to protect your system from free radicals.

If you opt for eating a sprouted bread brand like Ezekiel Bread, the millet, barley and beans that are in it will give you as much as three grams of protein a slice; that's pretty impressive if you're looking for just one more non-meat way to get your daily protein fix. So, what are you waiting for? Eat up, sis!

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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