Probably the most popular question out there to anyone with a vegan lifestyle. Tell your friends and family you have become a vegan and the suddenly, everyone is concerned about your protein intake. Where do you get your protein from is quite a common question vegans get asked and are tired of answering (LOL we know it). Lets take a closer look at this.
What is protein?
Proteins are amino acids found in the body and when we eat proteins, they are broken down into individual amino acids and rebuilt to form the exact protein we need in the right place.
Its a common fact that muscles require lots of protein, but all organs of the body require protein for general upkeep, and for making new cells, as the body constantly removes old cells and replaces them with new ones. Protein helps with all of that so you can see where its importance comes from.
The general rule of thumb is around 55g for an adult, however, it really depends on your body type, activity level, and fitness goals. Another common guideline is around 0.8g of protein intake for every kg of body weight. These are guidelines, and the best way to assess the protein your body needs is to visit a nutritionist who will calculate it for you based on your body type and other factors.
The more active you are, the more protein your body will require and those who are performance athletes and lead an active lifestyle, may require between about 1.2-1.7g of protein per kg of body weight.
Is the vegan diet low in protein?
A well balanced vegan meal can contain your nutritional requirements for protein. The only difference between a meat based meal and vegan meal is the absence of animal products in them, beyond that, the content of the meal is entirely up to the individual.
There is no reason why cutting meat out of a diet should result in protein-deficiency. Basic staples of vegan and non-vegan diets alike include grains such as rice and wheat, legumes such as green peas and beans, nuts and seeds, all of which are high in protein.
A vegan diet isn't just taking the meat off the plate, it's bringing in a whole range of other food sources and ingredients to make full, nutritious meals and like any other diet, the key is to eat healthy, vitamin packed foods that provide your body with nourishment that you can benefit from.
The vegan community is growing and amongst them are high endurance athletes, tennis players, sports athletes and a whole host of top end olympic athletes who push their bodies to extremes of fitness and many who go for a vegan diet; continue to thrive and improve physically. This just shows that the vegan diet contains protein, and that there are just different sources to it than than animal based proteins.
Examples of vegan protein:
So you may be wondering, what is plant based protein, and where can I get some? Here are some examples of great protein sources to add to your next meal.
3. Green Peas
7. Vegan protein powder
Protein can be found in most plants and legumes. Here are some other nice sources of protein:
Lentils, seitan, bulgur, tahini, bean sprouts, pasta, sunflower seeds, avocados, chia, tempeh, vegan ice cream, brown rice, veggie based hot dogs, black eyed peas, green beans, spinach, broccoli, flax, veggie burgers, cereal, kale, edamame, califlower, pistachios, brussel sprouts, collard greens, and coconut.