Benefits Of Eating Vegetarian
Yes, animal products contain protein. Thats no secret. However, vegans and vegetarians understand that the animals raised in factory farm environments experience extreme distress prior to death. Thats one reason to eat vegetarian-only protein. Other reasons are sparing the environment, and yourself vegetarian diets are much healthier than diets based on slaughtered animals.
I mentioned above that the animals who still get slaughtered eat lots of plants. Thats where your dietary protein comes from. If you stop eating meat and switch to a plant-based diet, you cut out the middleman.
Whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes have plenty of protein to offer, so you dont have to worry about losing muscle mass when you become a vegetarian.
Vegan Diet: How To Get The Nutrients You Need
Vegans avoid eating all animal products, including meat, eggs, and dairy. They also dont eat food that has an animal source, like gelatin and honey. For many, veganism is about more than food choices. People choose to be vegan for health, ethical, and/or environmental reasons. Strict vegans do not use any products made from animals. This includes materials, such as leather, fur, silk, or wool. They also avoid using certain soaps and cosmetics.
How Much Protein Americans Eat Per Day
On the spectrum of how much protein is consumed per day, Americans are on the extreme side. Protein is a favorite macronutrient for many reasons: its the building blocks of the body, it helps replenish and grow muscles, and it speeds wound healing.
While protein is necessary for many bodily functions, its not the only nutrient that Americans should be concerned about. In fact, widespread protein deficiency in America likely wont happen any time soon since the average American consumes nearly twice the recommended amount of protein per day.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans even recommends that males between the ages of 14 and 70 reduce their intake of animal products to reduce their overall intake of protein.
As consumption of protein continues to rise, so does the popularity of animal-based protein.
Americans consume more than three times the global average of meat in particular. Red meat accounts for 58% and processed meat for 22% of meat consumption.
With Americans consuming almost twice their actual needs, you may be wondering what all the excess protein is used for. Protein isnt stored by the body, so extra protein is used as energy or stored as fat. Excessive protein consumption is also linked to heart disease, kidney disease and elevated blood lipids.
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Best Plant Protein Sources
If youre a vegetarian but not a vegan, you might incorporate these other protein sources into your diet:
- Eggs or egg whites: Eggs are a low-cost and nutritious source of protein. Each egg provides 6 to 8 grams. If you use egg whites, youll get fewer calories, but youll miss out on vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins housed in the yolk.
- Dairy products: Milk, cheese and yogurt are excellent sources of protein and calcium. To get the most protein bang for your buck, choose cottage cheese or plain Greek yogurt. Both pack 13 grams of protein or more per serving, and you can dress them up with fruit, nuts or granola for a filling breakfast or snack.
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Eat A Daily Dose Of Almonds
Almonds are a great source of Vitamin E, B vitamins, and theyre a decent source of protein for a nut. Almonds contain 7 grams of protein per ¼ cup which is about an ounce, or 22 almonds.
Try Them Out In
Add some almonds to your next salad, eat them as a snack, or use almonds or almond butter in your smoothie or morning oatmeal. You can also make your own energy bars and bites with them and use almond butter in place of eggs and oil when baking.
Since almonds are high in fat, you dont want to overdo your intake of nut-based sources of protein and they can tend to cause a stomachache if you eat too many at one time. However, enjoying one serving of nuts and seeds per day is a great way to up your intake of plant-based, heart-healthy protein without eating any meat, eggs, or dairy products.
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The Case Of Specific Issues In Specific Populations
Data on protein and amino acid intakes from vegetarian diets remain scarce in the general adult population, and are insufficient to assess the status of more specific populations. However, as we will discuss here, there are good reasons to consider the case of older people as being more complicated than that of adults, while the situation in children is even simpler. We will briefly present these cases and the background limitations as we know them, as well as possible lessons regarding the shift towards high plant protein diets.
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Example: How To Calculate Vegan Protein Needs
Lets take a typical No Meat Athlete reader and see what this means for her, lets a say a 140-pound runner. Well split the daily protein range for endurance athletes in the middle and aim for .59 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight:
140 pounds * .59 grams/pound = 83 grams of protein per day
Keep in mind thats for a 140-pound endurance athlete, so youll need to plug in your own weight and, if you do a strength sport, use a different protein figure.
But really, only 83 grams?
All of this protein fuss the incessant inquisition about where we get protein is about 83 grams per day, even after adjusting for being an athlete?
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Eat Dairy Eggs And Protein Powder
If you’re not over-exercising but feel your muscle gains have plateaued, you may need to eat more protein to support muscle growth, Medlin said.
Eating enough protein on a vegetarian diet is perfectly possible Medlin recommends eating eggs, whey protein powders, and dairy.
Greek yogurt is one of my favorite protein sources, and I sometimes mix egg whites in with whole eggs for an extra protein boost.
“Dairy and eggs contain complete proteins and dairy has the ideal balance of amino acids to stimulate muscle fiber synthesis,” Medlin said. “With the level of training you’re doing, I would highly recommend you speak to a sports dietitian for tailored advice.”
The Best Vegan Protein Sources
One way to step up your intake is to add rich protein sources to the majority of your meals. Include foods like:
One food that has surprisingly little protein is commercially-made almond milk. This beverage generally contains loads of sugar but very little protein. Soy milk is therefore typically a better choice for people wanting to boost their protein intake. Soy milk contains about six times more protein than almond milk, and its also much higher in lysine.
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Protein Sources For Vegetarians
Protein is essential for many bodily processes, including tissue building and repair. Protein is made up of smaller building blocks called amino acids. These amino acids are classed as non-essential and essential .A complete protein has all the nine essential amino acids necessary for dietary needs. Most plant foods, however, are not complete proteins they only have some of the nine essential amino acids. Soy products, quinoa and amaranth seeds are some of the few exceptions of a complete vegetable protein.It was once thought that vegetarians and vegans needed to combine plant foods at each meal to ensure they consumed complete proteins . Recent research has found this is not the case.Consuming various sources of amino acids throughout the day should provide the complete complement of protein. Generally, if energy intake is sufficient, vegetarian diets can meet or exceed their protein requirements, but some vegan diets may be low in protein. Some good vegetarian sources of protein include:
- whole grains
Its recommended that vegetarians and vegans eat legumes and nuts daily, along with wholegrain cereals and pseudo-cereals, to ensure adequate nutrient intakes.
Warning: Dont Ignore Amino Acids
All protein is not created equally. Protein is made up of amino acids, and there are certain ones, called essential, which your body cannot produce on its own and must get through food.
As long as youre eating a wide variety of whole foods a good practice to follow for many reasons youre probably getting a nice mix of amino acids. One, though, thats particularly tough for vegetarians to get, is lysine, as explained in this article on protein from Vegan Health.
Only a few vegan foods contain lysine in large amounts, but fortunately, theyre staples in many of our diets: tempeh, tofu, and legumes. If you dont eat beans or soy, because of allergies or some other reason, youll need to pay special attention to lysine, and it might be worth considering an amino acid supplement.
See another No Meat Athlete article for a breakdown of various plant-based protein sources and their amino acid content.
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Complete Protein For Vegans
Edamame, tempeh, tofu, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and quinoa are all considered complete proteins.
A complete protein source is one that contains all nine essential amino acids. We need each of these nine amino acids for a healthy diet hence why they’re called “essential” amino acids.
Many animal products and byproducts, like steak and eggs, are complete proteins, which is one of the main differences between many vegan and non-vegan diets.
Simple Tips For The New Vegan
Despite the concerns many people have about vegan living being complicated and foreign, its actually a lot more simple and familiar than most would think.
Even if youre used to relying on certain ingredients such as meat, cheese and eggs, theres no reason that leaving animal products behind should be a big deal.
Here are a few super-simple tips to help you navigate your way around a vegan kitchen:
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Here Are 27 Of The Best Natural Protein Sources For A Vegetarian
You are either a vegetarian or considering the switch. What now? How do you make sure you get all the nutrients you need to stay healthy?
Everyone is different. Some people have trouble processing the more fibrous plant-based foods, such as kale and broccoli, through their digestive systems. Others have specific palates that endear them to certain plants and not others. You have to figure out how to keep your plate balanced.
Focusing on high-protein plants as well as sources of healthy fats will help you remain healthy. You should also add small amounts of carbs to your plate for fuel. Carbs get a bad rap, but theyre not dangerous to your health or your waistline if you choose them carefully and eat them in moderation.
With that said, what are the best natural sources of protein for a vegetarian? And for extra healthiness all protein sources we picked here are actually vegan, too completely free of any animal products.
How Much Protein Do You Really Need
According to the USDA Dietary Guidelines, someone who consumes 2,000 calories a day should be eating about 50 grams of protein a day.
This number is a very rough average the USDA states that women need a little less and men need a little more , and it goes up or down depending on the calories you consume in a day.
Your level of activity, age, and a number of other factors, like pregnancy or illness, can also shift that number up or down, but 50 grams is a good average to discuss during this conversation.
The average 2,000 calorie diet = 50 grams of protein
How Much Is 50 Grams?
To put it in perspective, one cup of whole-milk Greek yogurt contains 20 grams of protein. Eat that for breakfast and youre already almost halfway to your daily requirement.
So the reality is, if youre eating a well-balanced diet, youre probably getting your fill of protein, and perhaps eating a good amount more than your daily requirement, without even trying.
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How Do Vegetarians Get Protein
If youre thinking about becoming a vegetarianor vegan, generally the very first concern That Appears in your mind is, Where will I get my protein?
The body just requires 45-55 grams of proteina day depending upon your gender and size, So In Reality, its simple to get the protein you need without meat. Most people actually Consume Too Much protein and inadequate healthy nutrients from veggies and fruits.
We have actually conditioned ourselves That The only and finest is meat. While animal flesh does offer a lot of easy Protein For the human body, its not the only source and not the healthiest.
While meat contains plenty of proteins, it lacks the crucial nutrients and healthy enzymes that Are Found in greens, fruits, grains, and other all-natural fruit and vegetables. The health benefits Meat Does supply are limited by the cooking procedure that the majority of it has to go through To Be Edible, as heat kills a lot of the nutrients.
Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein
Theres no shortage of lists of high-quality vegan protein sources. But as you might expect, theyre often topped by soy products , seitan, and legumes.
My personal favorite vegan foods for protein in rough, descending order of how often I eat them are:
- Lentils , 18 grams of protein per cup
- Chickpeas, 12 grams/cup
- Tempeh , 41 grams per cup
- Black beans, 15 grams per cup
- Nuts and nut butters , varied
- Tofu, 11 grams per 4 ounces
- Quinoa, 9 grams per cup
- Other legumes, varied
- Grains, varied
I often, but not always, add vegan protein powder to my smoothie each morning depending on my fitness goals at the time. My son, for example, is an athlete trying to gain weight on a vegan diet, so he always includes protein in his smoothie.
Smoothies, in general, are a great way to boost protein intake on a plant-based diet, since you can easily add lots of other high-protein ingredients like walnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and almond butter, and even beans .
See my basic smoothie recipe for details on how much of each to add.
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Nearly Complete Protein Sources For Vegetarians And Vegans
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Despite what some people may think, there are many ways to get enough protein on a vegan or vegetarian diet.
However, not all plant-based proteins are complete proteins, meaning protein sources that contain adequate amounts of all nine essential amino acids.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. While your body can make some of them, nine have to be obtained through your diet. These are referred to as essential amino acids and include (
Animal products like beef, fish, dairy, and eggs contain enough of every one of these essential amino acids. Thus, theyre considered complete proteins .
However, many plant sources of protein are too low in or missing one or more of these essential amino acids. Theyre considered incomplete protein sources.
Still, given that plant foods contain varying amounts of amino acids, you can manage to get enough of each essential amino acid throughout the day by eating a varied diet and combining complementary plant proteins .
For example, grains like rice are too low in lysine to be considered a complete source of protein. Yet, by also eating lentils or beans, which are higher in lysine, throughout the day, you can be sure to obtain all nine essential amino acids .
How Much Protein Do We Need
According to the dietician and nutritional advisor Reed Mangels, American consumers are obsessed with protein somewhat unnecessarily. In actual fact, only around one calorie out of every 10 we consume needs to come from protein in order to meet the bodys needs. The nutritional expert notes that for a male vegan, roughly 63 grams of protein should be consumed daily, and for a female, its roughly 52. The exact amount can also vary by weight, muscle mass, and other factors.
This concern about protein is misplaced, she notes. Although protein is certainly an essential nutrient which plays many key roles in the way our bodies function, we do not need huge quantities of it.
Food addiction counseller Erin Wathen agrees. The average American eats more protein than they truly need and the sources they tend to get it from, being animal products, are terribly inefficient and expensive ounce for ounce compared to plant-based protein,she told LIVEKINDLY in an email.
The story is much the same in the UK, where the average daily intake of protein in the UK is 88 grams for men and 64 grams for women. This is more than sufficient, notes the BNF.
In fact, eating too much protein can actually have negative consequences, Mangels states.
With protein, more is not necessarily better, she explains. There do not appear to be health advantages to consuming a high protein diet. Diets that are high in protein may even increase the risk of osteoporosis and kidney disease.
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Pea Protein Powder 27g Per Cup Serving
Another vegetable that people tend to underestimate, the humble pea has an excellent source of protein. Particularly when it comes as a protein powder.
Again, though, pea protein powder is an incomplete protein. So, if you do decide to use this savory, adaptable powder remember to treat it as a supplement and not rely on it for your primary source of protein.