Is It Possible To Get Enough Protein If You Dont Eat Meat
It’s absolutely possible to meet protein and other nutrient needs without meat, says Cynthia Sass, RD, a dietitian who specializes in plant-based nutrition. From a young age we’re taught that our bodies need meat. In reality, our bodies need key nutrients that are found in meat, but we can obtain adequate amounts from plant-based foods, she explains.
Amazing Vegan Protein Sources
Hands down, the number one question a vegan gets asked is, But where do you get your protein?! While vegan protein sources do indeed existand in many different forms and flavorsits not a totally out-of-left-field question, given that the main sources of protein most people are familiar with are animal products. The most popular types of food high in proteinbeef, chicken, fish, turkey, pork, and shellfish are all off limits on a vegan diet, of course. And so are some of the best high-protein vegetarian foods, like eggs, milk, yogurt, and whey protein powder.
Fortunately, though, there are plenty of tasty high-protein vegan foods you can enjoyyou just might need to be a little more intentional about it. Most vegans can do fine with proper meal planning, Beth Kitchin, Ph.D., R.D.N., assistant professor in the UAB department of nutrition sciences, previously told SELF. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics agrees that, generally, most people following vegan and vegetarian diets meet or exceed their protein needs, as long as they are consuming enough calories in general.
The Best Sources Of Plant
One concern about switching to a plant-based diet that nearly everyone has is about getting enough protein. After all, it is an essential nutrient that is generally recognized as typically coming from meat. Protein is actually much more common than people think and comes from a variety of different sources.
While it is true that for most people animal products are the most consistent form of protein in their diet, it is not the only option. Protein can actually be found in many different plants and plant-based products that are easily accessible. Once you start to explore, you will realize there are plenty of sources of protein in places that you never thought to look. There are many different sources of plant-based protein, you will have plenty of room to get creative with your meals and try new things.
What Can Vegans Eat for Protein?
Nuts & Nut-Based Products
Almost every kind of nut you can think of has significant amounts of protein. On average, you can get between 5 6 grams of protein from a small handful of your favorite nuts, The best part is that most nuts are extremely easy to add to your daily routine. Not only are they delicious on their own as a snack, but there are also many dishes and recipes you can add them to. Nuts and seeds are easy to add to breakfast, salads, bowls, or curries, such as this recipe for Cashew Coconut Cauliflower Curry.
Soy, Tofu, & Tempeh
Lentils, Chickpeas, & Black Beans
Other Plant-Based Protein Sources
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Why Do We Need Protein
Protein is an essential part of our nutrition, making up about 17% of the bodys weight and it is the main component of our muscles, skin, internal organs, especially the heart and brain, as well as our eyes, hair and nails. Our immune system also requires protein to help make antibodies that are required to help fight infections, and protein also plays a role in blood sugar regulation, fat metabolism and energy function.
Protein foods actually break down into 22 naturally occurring amino acids, which are known as the building blocks of protein. Of these, nine are known as essential amino acids, which means we must get them from food, as the body cannot make them itself. Protein is also a good source of a range of vitamins and minerals such as zinc and B vitamins. As a vegan, its important that all these amino acids are included in the diet to provide optimum nutrition.
The key to getting the right amount of protein, and all the necessary amino acids, is to combine different grains with different vegetables and pulses such as beans and rice, or tofu with broccoli. Variety is key when it comes to being vegan, and not using substitute products such as vegan cheese to make up any deficiency as they are technically a processed food and offer little health benefit.
Looking for more information on high-protein foods? Why not check out our high-protein recipes collection and then discover the best vegetarian protein sources to try.
What About Protein Supplements
Some protein powders are plant-based. Depending upon the plants used to make the powders, they may be complete or incomplete proteins.
The position of the American Dietetic Association is that while food supplements can help people meet their daily nutrition goals, eating a wide variety of nutrients rich in protein is usually a better strategy for meeting daily goals.
Some protein supplements may also be high in sugar or sodium to improve the taste, so it is important to read the nutrition labels.
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Myth : Youll Always Be Hungry If You Only Eat Plants
If you ate potato chips all day, youd technically be following a vegan diet. Youd also be woozy.
Thats because chips have little nutritional value. If you consume nutritious, balanced vegan meals instead, hunger shouldnt be an issue.
Simply eating a plate of vegetables isnt a meal. You also need macronutrients like fats and proteins. A varied diet is especially important for vegans so that they can get complete proteins and not miss any essential amino acids.
If you start eating a plant-based diet and find that three meals a day isnt enough, you can work with a nutritionist specializing in plant-based eating to make sure you have a balanced food plan.
As an alternative, simply check out sample vegan meal planners.
Considerations For Eating Plant
Meeting nutrition needs with plant-based foods is doable and easier than many think!
- Eat a wide variety of plant-based foods. Many plant-based protein sources are lacking in one or more essential amino acids. Choosing different options throughout the day ensures adequate intake of all essential amino acids.
- Choose plant-based milks with added calcium and vitamin D these micronutrients are found in dairy, but can be obtained through plant-based sources as well.
- Sample different kinds of whole-grains, beans, and lentils these foods provide a full package of complex carbohydrates, protein, iron, zinc, and B-vitamins.
- Sprinkle nutritional yeast on your meals this flavor-filled ingredient is a great source of vitamin B12, a nutrient commonly obtained from meat.
- Mix in nuts and seeds another nutrient-dense option packed with healthy fats, protein, magnesium, and more.
- Choose soy-based foods soy is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids
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Top 10 Vegan Protein Sources
If vegans had a penny for every time someone asked where they get their protein from, thered be a lot more millionaires in the world. Luckily, plant-based sources of protein are not only easy to find but also affordable and plentiful. Here are just 10 examples of foods with plenty of protein and no cruelty to animals:
Best Sources Of Plant
Plant-based diets are becoming more and more popular among the general public.
When a person says Im vegetarian or Im vegan, one of the first questions they will often get is: Do you get much protein intake?
Although eating enough protein is simple when consuming an omnivorous diet, it can be tricky when eating a plant-based diet.
But it is possible!
There are tons of high-quality plant-based protein foods out there. Here are 16 of them.
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Gluten Intolerance And Wheat Allergy
Gluten is the name for the mixture of gliadin and glutenin proteins found in grains like wheat, spelt, barley, and rye.
It can cause problems for people who are intolerant to gluten, such as people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity .
For people with celiac disease, gluten will trigger an autoimmune reaction, which causes inflammation in the small intestine. This serious condition can only be treated with a lifelong gluten-free diet.
Left untreated, celiac disease can cause nutrient deficiencies including iron, calcium, vitamin B12, and folate. Its also been linked to an increased risk of developing bowel cancer, schizophrenia, and epilepsy (
Therefore, some spelt products, including sourdough bread, have been labeled as safe by the Monash Low-FODMAP system, a well-regarded resource for people trying to follow a low-FODMAP diet.
Here are some tips for including spelt in your diet if you have IBS:
- Read the label. Make sure the ingredients list on the label says 100% spelt flour or spelt bread.
- Choose sourdough. Pick a sourdough bread to eat.
- Limit serving size. Do not eat more than 3 slices per sitting.
Spelt contains FODMAPs, which can cause problems for people with IBS. Fermenting spelt to make sourdough bread can lower the amount of FODMAPs present, making it more suitable for people trying to manage IBS symptoms.
A Lot Of People Who Are Confused About What Kinds Of Foods To Add To Their Diet So As To Meet Their Daily Protein Requirement Should Know That Plant
There are many reasons why one should add plenty of protein-rich foods to their diet. It is understood that proteins help to structure and support the cells, build immunity and are useful for hormone synthesis. Once consumed, proteins break down into amino acids, which are further used for metabolic processes in the body.
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According to Neha Ranglani, an integrative nutritionist and health coach, apart from promoting good health, protein also helps to build, repair and maintain the muscles. Protein comes from a variety of sources nuts like almonds, meat, milk, fish, soy, eggs, as well as beans and legumes, she says.
Unfortunately, a lot of people are confused about what kinds of foods to add to their diet, so as to meet their daily protein requirement. Ranglani says plant-based proteins are easy to digest and have reduced effects on cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes as compared to animal proteins.
Almonds are one of the best options. They are light, nutritious, and packed with fibres, minerals, vitamin E and magnesium, along with plenty of protein, the expert states. She lists four such healthy plant-based options of proteins read on.
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Ready To Try A Vegan Diet
Now that you know a plant-based diet can work for you, prepare yourself for the change.
If you want to keep making the meals youve been cooking for years but just need to swap the meat out, check out this list of vegan substitutes.
If youre concerned about getting enough protein, check out these plant-based protein sources and add them to your shopping list.
Still hungry? Cue these nutritious and delicious vegan snack ideas.
If you want some daily inspiration to keep you motivated on your plant-based journey, follow @plantbasedrd and @frommybowl for easy recipes.
To get more information on the hows and whys of plant-based eating, Forks Over Knives and The Game Changers make great Netflix viewing.
Pro tip: The Forks Over Knives website has a collection of vegan recipes.
The 16 Best Vegan Protein Sources
Theres this little myth that you cant get enough protein on a plant-based diet , but that just isnt true.
Eating plant-based proteins such as tofu, edamame, tempeh, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds has many benefits, Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, a plant-based registered dietitian in the NYC area and owner of Plant-Based Eats, tells LIVEKINDLY. When you eat these proteins, youre also taking in many other nutrients, typically including fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
And how much protein should you eat?
This depends on so many factors, including your age, gender, and activity level, says Gorin. The recommended dietary allowance for protein is .8 grams per kilogram of body weight . This is low, and you will likely need more protein than this.
Try adding these plant-based protein sources to your plate:
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Video Answer: Vegan Bodybuilder Workout & How I Boost Plant
My cheat meals are pretty light, though. They usually consist of three quest bars, one or more cups of oats, 4-6 tablespoons of peanut butter, and maybe some ice cream. If there’s a social event or a weekend date night, I may have a burger and fries, but that’s rare. During my bulking process, my workouts are great.
smoked cold salmon or trout with a bit of lowfat cream cheese on a whole grain bagel –not vegetarian, but good for you for breakfast, cold muesli and skim milk or soy/almond/rice milk fruits and raw veggies, of course–raw greenbeans, peppers, carrots mixed greens, snap peas, etc., etc.
Myth : Its Only Worth Investing In Plant
Preparing meals at home is gaining popularity over eating out, largely out of necessity due to COVID-19. This makes right now the perfect time to go vegan.
On the other hand, some of us are back to work with no time to prep meals and no vegan-friendly takeout options.
Of course, theres nothing wrong with being a part-time vegan.
Youll be in good company. Venus Williams identifies as a chegan, someone who tries to eat plant-based as much as possible but also partakes in non-vegan noshes from time to time.
Eating 50 or even 10 percent more plant-based meals is a great first step. You can add in vegan meals at a rate thats sustainable for you.
Dont let the fear of never eating your favorite non-vegan food again keep you from taking small steps toward your food goals. Just start with eating a little less.
One of the best ways to connect with loved ones is over a great meal.
What happens when you go vegan and get invited out to dinner with colleagues or friends?
Most restaurants have plant-based options. At a Moroccan restaurant, choose the veggie tagine, a dish made in a clay pot. At Asian spots, replace meat in your stir-fry with tofu. At the steak house, stick to the veggie sides.
Eating out as a vegan is getting easier as non-vegan restaurants add more plant-based alternatives.
When you want to have more choices than just the Impossible version of a menu item, invite your friends to a vegan restaurant.
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What Plants Are High In Protein
Plant protein is simply a meaningful food source of protein which is from plants. This group can include pulses, tofu, soya, tempeh, seitan, nuts, seeds, certain grains and even peas. Pulses are a large group of plants, which include chickpeas, lentils, beans and split peas.Plant proteins are highly nutritious not only as good sources of protein, but also because they provide other nutrients such as fibre, vitamins and minerals. Our intake of fibre tends to be too low, however by incorporating certain plant proteins into your diet, such as pulses, peas and nuts, you can easily boost your fibre intake. Did you know that our peas, soya beans and green beans are all a great source of plant fibre?
Why Choose More Plant
Shifting dietary patterns to reduce meat consumption and include more protein plants can bring great benefits to both our health and the planet.
Besides having a lower environmental footprint, whole plant foods, such as pulses, legumes and vegetables tend to provide more fibre and antioxidants while being lower in saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol compared to animal proteins such as meat and dairy. This is part of the reason why research suggests that people who eat more plant-based tend to have a lower risk of some diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.1
You can read more about the benefits of plant-based diets here.
Trying to eat more plant-based can also make us more creative in the kitchen and reach for foods or ingredients that otherwise we would not consider. This will not only introduce us to a surprising new range of flavours and textures, but also expand the range of beneficial nutrients and compounds that we get from our diets!
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Quinoa Amaranth And Millet
Technically seeds and not grains, quinoa, amaranth, and millet are gluten-free pseudocereals that are thousands of years old. Quinoa was a staple food for the Incas in the mountains of Bolivia, Chile, and Peru, who called it chisaya mama, the mother of all grains. Amaranth is native to Mexico and Central America. And millet was a significant crop in Early Neolithic China. All three ancient grains are a good source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, and iron. Quinoa has the added benefit of being one of the few complete sources of plant-based protein.
Protein per cooked cup of quinoa: 8 grams
Protein per cooked cup of amaranth: 9.3 grams
Protein per cooked cup of millet: 6 grams
Myth : Youll Turn Into A Vegan Evangelist
Even if you get your friends or family to try vegan eating, manage your expectations of their reactions. They probably wont be as excited as you are about plant-based grub.
Thats why the most difficult part of eating out with friends often isnt finding a plant-based option. Its staying humble.
If you make the switch to a plant-based diet and feel great about it, its natural that youd want to share it. Resist the urge, at least over a shared meal.
Most plant-based eaters arent militantly trying to convert others. They know that food is a personal choice. What works for you might not work for someone else.
Plus, a lecture on going vegan might just turn someone off a plant-based diet altogether.
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