Despite it being a simple topic, there is still a lot of confusion in the “rich sources of protein for vegans” sphere. We’ll use this article to prove that there are many sources of vegan protein, and how easy it is to meet your vegan protein requirements.
Do Vegans Need Protein
Of course! Generally, protein is made up of amino acids, which are usually described as our building blocks. It’s not just vegans, all humans have a biological need for amino acids, NOT PROTEIN.
Let me clarify!
Our bodies can produce only nine of the twenty common amino acids, so these amino acids are considered to be essential. We must get these amino acids from our diets, because we need them for our bodies to be able to create protein.
Everyone knows that meat, fish, bone broth, and eggs are high-quality protein. This actually means that they have large amounts of all the essential amino acids the body needs.
How Much Protein Do Vegans Need
The US is obsessed with protein. So much so, that athletes used to eat thick steaks before any competition. They were convinced that a high intake of protein would boost their performance. Today, protein supplements are sold at health food stores. Vegans are torpedoed with questions of their protein intake. But, this concern for our protein intake is exaggerated.
Although protein is an essential nutrient for our bodies to properly function, we don’t actually need great quantities of it.
So, how much protein do vegans, and humans in general, need?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) states that we need to take in about 0.36 grams of protein per pound that we weigh.
If we look at what vegans eat, we can see that typically, between 10-12% of calories come from protein.
But, for non-vegans, the protein intake is close to 14-18% of calories.
Symptoms of Protein Deficiency
The bad news is that there is no way of knowing whether you’re getting all the protein your body needs or not.
Even blood tests don’t tell whether your protein levels are sub-optimum or not. Instead, there are a number of symptoms that show mid to moderate protein deficiency.
Here are the symptoms:
- High Blood Sugar or Triglyceride Levels
- Inability to Maintain Enough Muscle Mass
- Chronic Fatigue
While we can say a lot of negative things about eggs, milk, or meat, we don’t deny that they are rich in protein. If you stop eating animal products and replace them with vegan foods, your intake will plummet.
Fortunately, there is no need for any extra effort for you to ensure that your protein needs are met on a vegan diet.
Best Vegan Protein Sources
One way to step up your intake is to get into the habit of incorporating rich protein sources in most of your meals. This includes foods like:
Vegan Bone Broth
Why broth? While many people don’t know, there is a vegan version of bone broth. Bone broth is most famous for its gelatin, an amino-acid-rich animal byproduct that is believed to help build bone and joint-supporting collagen. And while there is no vegan substitute for gelatin, you can make a similarly mineral-rich plant-based broth.
We created a vegan bone broth powder, which is a dairy-free protein to help build muscle and achieve peak body tonus! For the creation of this savory broth, we used pea. Pea stores about 3 times more the arginine amino acid that leads to boosting muscle gains.
Additionally, pea protein is known as a top vegan, dairy-free protein source that promotes the reduction of body inflammation. This instant pot for vegans is allowing ready absorption of nutrients that protect bones, teeth, tissues, and organs.
Adding our pea protein broth to your diet will help keep blood sugar spikes at bay, supporting you sustain your energy for longer periods.
Many dark-colored, leafy greens and vegetables contain protein. That’s why having a few vegetable snacks can increase protein intake. This can be further improved when combined with other protein-rich foods.
- A Single, Medium Stalk of Broccoli Contains About 4 G of Protein
- 5 Medium Mushrooms Offer 3 G of Protein
Try a salad made from baby greens with some quinoa sprinkled on top for a protein-rich meal.
Seitan is a complete protein made from mixing wheat gluten with various spices. The high-wheat content means that it should be avoided by people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. For others, it can be a protein-rich healthy meat substitute.
When cooked in soy sauce, which is rich in the amino acid lysine, seitan becomes a complete protein source offering 21 g per 1/3 cup.
Ezekiel bread is a nutrient-dense alternative to traditional bread. It is made from barley, wheat, lentils, and millet. Ezekiel bread is a great choice for bread lovers who want a more nutritious way to eat toast or sandwiches.
Ezekiel bread offers 4 g of protein per slice. Get even more protein by toasting Ezekiel bread and spreading it with peanut or almond butter.
Hummus and Pita
Protein: 7 grams per 1 whole-wheat pita and 2 tablespoons hummus
The protein in wheat is pretty much like the protein in rice, in that it’s lacking only in lysine. But, chickpeas have plenty of lysines, giving all the more reason to try that Middle Eastern staple: hummus and pita.
Most other legumes have a comparable amino acid profile to chickpeas. Don’t be afraid to experiment with hummus made from cannellini, edamame, or other kinds of beans.
To Wrap Things Up
Being a vegan requires some planning. With the right protein-based plant food, people who avoid animal products can eat balanced diets that support a healthy body.
This is due to the fact that vegan or vegetarian diets can lack vital nutrients. This makes it necessary to use dietary supplements or learn how to include certain foods that are high in these nutrients.