But, how do you get your protein?
This is a question that all plant-based beings will be familiar with. After being told all our lives to finish our vegetables or we won’t get dessert, as soon as the V word comes out to play, those close to you are in shock and don’t know how you will survive without animal products. Some people seem to become trained nutritionists as soon as you mention being vegan, it’s all very peculiar.
That may be a tad bit of an overreaction but this is a question that you will be asked more than you would like. The answer is that there is protein in everything. If you eat a balanced healthy diet, getting your daily amount of protein will be no issue.
Protein is in every part of the human body and has a large number of jobs to carry out within the body including cell growth and repair.
The RDA for protein is between 0.8 and 1 gram of protein per day for every kilogram of body weight. This works out to be approximately 10% of a normal calorie intake per day for the average person.
Animal Protein vs Plant Protein
What is the difference?
According to T. Colin Campbell, PhD, the main difference between plant and animal proteins is their amino acid profiles.
This means that plant proteins fall short of one or two amino acids whereas animal proteins contain all amino acids.
However, the discussion of animal protein is a much broader topic that just a source of protein. Check out T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study where he delves into the topic much more thoroughly - questioning animal-based protein in it’s entirety.
In terms of absorption rate, plant protein is absorbed relatively close to animal proteins, according to Dr. Campbell.
Vegan athletes and bodybuilders such as parkour athlete Tim Shieff and America’s first vegan bodybuilding champion Kenneth G Williams are changing the way vegans are looked upon. We’re not just athletic now but thriving (and winning) on a plant-based diet.
Whether you’re looking for a post-workout vegan protein source or just a daily addition to your diet, here are our top ten vegan sources of protein.
Packed with five grams of protein for each cup. Raw in a salad or cooked in a lasagne, the leafy green is filled with protein as well as other nutrients such as iron and vitamin K.
100 grams of tofu equates to about eight grams of protein. The added bonus with tofu is that it absorbs flavour easily, making it extremely versatile.
Dals, veggie burgers, soups, the list goes on. Lentils can be used to make a number of different dishes and with one cup delivering 18 grams of protein, it’s obvious why they’re used so much.
4. Peanut Butter
Two tablespoons of this nut butter result in eight grams of protein added to your day.
One cup of cooked quinoa provides eight grams of protein. As well as being a great vegan protein source quinoa is also filled with iron, fibre and magnesium.
6. Hemp Powder
30 grams of hemp powder equates to roughly 11 grams of protein. Sprinkle some in your smoothie for an added protein boost.
7. Chia Seeds
Chia is a complete source of protein delivering five grams of protein per two tablespoons. Add a couple tablespoons to a salad or smoothie for a simple and quick protein source.
8. Nutritional Yeast
The must-have kitchen essential for every vegan. Nutritional Yeast contains eight grams of protein in two tablespoons. Delicious and nutritious.
The strangely coloured mixture may look a tad like pond water to the untrained eye however it not only adds four grams of protein in just one tablespoon, it also contributes 80% of your total daily requirement of iron. Don't let the colour put you off too much.
The small tree-like veg contains four grams of protein in just one cup. Also high in vitamin C, B and fibre and low in calories, broccoli is a great addition to a meal.
With so many delicious plant-based protein sources, how could it be hard to get all your protein?!
What’s your favourite vegan protein source?
PS we're not medically trained, just two vegans who are interested in getting all our protein. If you have any problems, then definitely consult with a medical professional or trained nutritionist. Thanks!