As far as being vegan goes, the most frequent questions asked by the common meat eaters are, ‘do you get enough protein in your diet’ and ‘where do you get your protein from.’ Contrary to what is said on online bodybuilding forums, it is actually unnecessary to consume excessive amounts of protein. The body can only absorb a certain amount of protein at once, and by trying to hit such high numbers, you are putting stress on your liver and not to mention that protein is the most expensive macro nutrient; It is important to assess your own goals and activity levels when determining how much protein you need to consume to meet your goals.
Back to the topic of vegan protein, many people may be unaware of the amount of protein they are consuming in their daily meals if you just take away the animal protein. Take oatmeal for instance – a half cup of oats can have as much as 7 grams of protein as is! Pair that with a scoop of vegan protein and your bowl of oats has been transformed into a protein packed meal.
Here is some other great plant based sources of protein that you can add into your diet or substitute in place of animal protein.
VEGAN PROTEIN POWDERS (pea protein & rice protein)
There is an abundance of vegan protein powders available in the market if you just have a look. not only is it a more natural, minimally processed form of protein powder, but the protein content in some varieties vary from 20g to 30g per serving which is more than enough for a post workout shake. Although the texture is slightly different (may need a bit of getting used to), it carries a lot of benefits; even if you are not a vegan, it is a great form of protein powder for those who are lactose intolerant or suffer from bloating when drinking whey.
With as much as 16g of protein per 100g serving, tofu is one of the most popular sources of complete protein in any vegan’s diet. Common in many south east Asian cuisines, it is high in essential minerals such as manganese and has an adequate level of unsaturated fats – the good fats that help to lower cholesterol levels.
Tofu can be marinated like meat as it has a unique spongy texture that will absorb any sauces or marinates it comes into contact with. It can be used in soups, stir-fries, salads or generally substituted for meat in a meal.
Tempeh is what tofu is before it is tofu. It is pretty much soybeans fermented and formed into a block, packed with more protein, fiber and antioxidants though the fermentation process. It is ore easy to digest because of the fermentation and per 100g can pack as much as 20g of protein, and as a complete protein, it has all 9 essential amino acids
Much like tofu, tempeh can be marinated and is popular in stir-fry’s, boiled in stews or grilled and used in place of sandwich meats
BEANS & LEGUMES
A staple in many middle eastern and Indian cuisines, beans and lentils are not only a great source of protein, but packs a punch in fiber ( you know what they say about beans!). When bought dried they are inexpensive and can be stored in the pantry for ln periods of time until they are required. The bean variety with the highest protein content is black beans with 11g per cup – others include chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans.
Once soaked and boiled, beans can be used in soups and stews or even formed into veggie patties and used in place of meat patties in burgers. To make it a complete protein, simply consume with rice so all 9 amino acids are covered.
Not only are nuts a quick and easy snack, they are packed in protein as well as unsaturated good fats. They are best in their raw state and per small handful can contain as much as 7g of protein. It is important however, to keep in mind the recommended serving size as they are pretty calorie dense, so nothing more than a small handful!
You know what they say about Popeye and his love for spinach! By adding leafy greens such as spinach, peas, kale, collard greens and broccoli, you are unknowingly adding more protein to your meals. In addition leafy greens offer many other health benefits such as being rich in vitamins and minerals such as iron
For instance, by adding one cup of cooked spinach to a stir fry for instance, you are adding at least 5g of protein in that meal
Also known as wheat meat, seitan is created by mixing wheat protein with a combination of sauces, spices and liquid to create a product that mimics meat in terms of taste and texture. This is what is used for many ‘mock meats’ around as you can manipulate the taste of the seitan by adding different spices and flavorings to it. It is low in carbs and fat and extremely high in protein – up to 40g per 100g serving! Pair seitan with soya sauce for the added amino acids to transform it into a complete protein