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Easy ways to replace meat in your favorite recipes.

This month I celebrate 10 years being entirely plant-based. What started as a 21-day challenge has become a lifestyle. Being plant-based has opened many new doors for me, and I have really enjoyed writing columns and speaking on this topic, at Farmboy and other local businesses.

Over the past 10 years, the question I am asked most often is "how do you get your protein? Protein comes from various sources the most apparent being meat, but most plants contain varying levels of protein. If you eat a wide variety of foods, over the day, it's easy to get enough protein. I have no problem fueling my active lifestyle on a plant-based diet.

There's a high interest in plant-based eating right now, so in this column, I will review ways to replace meat with plant-based sources. Whether you want to fully eliminate meat from your diet or just cut back on meat. It's easier and tastier than you might think.

Lentils –18 grams of protein per cup. Use instead of ground beef in spaghetti sauces, taco's or chili's. Green lentils are the best for this as they hold their shape well.

Chick Peas – 14.5 grams of protein in a cup - These versatile legumes can be blended into hummus for use in sandwiches. They can be mashed, mixed with vegan mayonaise and used as a replacement for tuna salad in sandwiches. They are tasty as a salad topping or roasted as a snack. My favourite use for chickpeas is in Falafels, which are quick and easy to make.

Black beans – 15.2 grams of protein in a cup. These starchy beans hold together well, so are perfect for veggie burgers. They also can be spiced and heated to use as a topping in rice bowls, or as the protein in burritos.

Quinoa – 8.14 grams of protein in a cup. This versatile seed can be used instead of rice, as the base for dinner bowls. Use quinoa in salads, or even as an oatmeal replacement. Quinoa is considered a complete protein source, which means that it provides all the essential amino acids.

Seeds – Add hemp, chia or ground flax seeds (meal) to oatmeal, smoothies or on top of sugar-free coconut yoghurt. They are virtually tasteless and give you an extra protein boost. Hemp seeds, for example, provide about 11 grams of protein in 2 to 3 tablespoons. They are considered a complete protein source, which means that they provide all the essential amino acids.

Meat Substitutions – There are lots of great meat replacements on the market. Keep in mind some of them are high fat or full of chemicals. Like any commercially produced food, eat them in moderation. Don't expect them to taste like, meat, they don't, so enjoy their unique flavours. The Beyond Beef burger, for example, has 20 grams of protein in a burger.

Sheree's Hack; Keep a package of frozen veggies burgers in your freezer for those nights you are super stressed, or busy. They come in handy.

Sheree Nicholson is the owner of Live With Spirit Yoga & Fitness studio in Whitby, Ontario. She has a certificate in plant-based nutrition from eCornell University and is working on her Masters in Metaphysics. Sheree holds certifications in Advanced Yoga, Pilates, Reebok Spinning and Kettlebell training. This benefits you as she focuses on functional movement, strength and weight loss. Sheree competed in both Canadian and American Kettlebell competitions placing in the top 3.

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