Hear the word protein and most people would think of a cow or a chicken or maybe an egg—that old-school mantra that protein has to come from an animal. But there’s an ever-expanding world of plant based eating—tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds and Dang favorite pea protein— reversing everything we thought we knew about protein.
It’s no secret that animal-derived options, especially red meat like beef and lamb, are wreaking havoc on the planet. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, making 1 pound of lamb generates 5 times more greenhouse gas emissions than making 1 pound of lentils. National Geographic says cutting consumption of animal products in half would ease precious water resources by 37 percent. Translation: More plants and less meat make for a happier Mother Earth.
But she wouldn’t be the only one winning. Going plant-based has massive benefits on your own health, too.
“The nutrient diversity of plant-based proteins is so rich,” says Dr. Samar Rashid, a family medicine physician at Scripps Medical Group in San Diego and a certified health coach who specializes in nutrition and culinary medicine. “It’s more than just protein. They help support the body's vitamin and mineral contents, hold fiber to curb hunger, and lead to less inflammation and less toxic burden on the colon than animal protein.”
The overall picture is a lot sunnier, too. A plant-based diet can decrease chances of developing Type 2 diabetes and curb cardiovascular disease. The proof is in the, er, meat: 1 gram of beef protein contains 23 times more saturated fat than 1 gram of protein from lentils.
That’s why every Dang Bar is plant-based—it’s about better-for-you nutrition that’s better for the environment, too. Whether you’re snacking on Saigon Cinnamon or Lemon Matcha, each recipe begins with pea protein, made by drying and grounding the namesake legume until it turns into a thin, flour-like consistency. Pea protein is easier to digest compared to other plant-based options, Rashid says, and thanks to its unique amino acid structure, it also helps in muscle recovery.
Dang Bars are also packed with almonds and chia seeds—two cornerstone ingredients of the keto diet. The former touts healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamin E and magnesium, while chia seeds rank as the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, one of the body's most potent anti-inflammatory agents.
Looking to add more plant-based proteins to your meals? Try hemp seeds on your acai bowl or salads—“hemp contains all 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential ones and is easily digestible,” Rashid says—or try organic, non-GMO tofu in a yellow curry and scrambles.Eat well and make the world a better place? Now that’s some serious plant power.