How To Eat Vegan And Get Enough Protein

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How to Get Enough Protein On a Vegan Diet

Remember, plant based protein supplements can be used to supplement healthy eating. With that being said, they can be particularly beneficial when you are extra busy, traveling, have medical conditions or if you have higher protein demands like some athletes. Here is some more information on the different protein supplements and when they can be most beneficial.

How Do Vegans Get Enough Protein

  • How Do Vegans Get Enough Protein?
  • Really, youre a vegan? Wow! But where do you get your protein? And a bodybuilder on top of that thats really amazing I cant believe it

    Is the idea really that far fetched that a vegan can partake in bodybuilding just as efficiently as a typical bodybuilder who eats exorbitant amounts of protein from meat and dairy products? Hardly! Were living proof!

    Consider that the most powerful animals on the planet: the bull, elephant, giraffe, rhino, hippo, etc., are all herbivores. Also consider that the biggest dinosaurs, the ones who outlived the others, were herbivores.

    Have you ever heard of a person who is protein deficient, other than in third world countries where they do not have access to nutrient rich foods or food in general on a daily basis? No. Vegans are in no way threatened by protein deficiency. If we ate nothing but wheat, oatmeal, or potatoes, we would easily take in more than enough protein.

    How To Maximize Vegan Iron Absorption

    Some nutrients are absorbed better when combined with other nutrients. This just means that certain foods complement each other because of their nutrient content. This is kind of like taking black pepper to activate the immune-boosting properties of turmeric root.

    Combining vitamin C with iron is another such food combo that increases absorption.

    Iron from plant foods already has a difficult time being absorbed because things like coffee, tea, and calcium get in the way. Theres a more scientific explanation for that, but its helpful to just know the basics:

    • Avoiding combining iron-rich foods with calcium-rich foods
    • Dont drink tea or coffee when consuming iron-rich foods
    • Iron and vitamin C go hand-in-hand

    So, how does one combine iron and vitamin C properly? Simply combine the above-mentioned iron sources with fruits and vegetables.

    Some iron and vitamin C combos include:

    • Beans and salsa
    • Tofu and broccoli

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    Vegan Nutrition Myth #: You Cant Get Vitamin B12 On A Vegan Diet

    Did you know that livestock animals are injected with vitamin B12 shots or given vitamin B12 supplements in their food? This is why animal products contain a lot of vitamin B12.

    Vitamin B12 isnt naturally occurring in animals, so animals must get this nutrient somehow. This means that meat eaters are supplementing with vitamin B12 without even realizing it.

    Once you cut this food group out of your diet, are you more at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency?

    Possibly, but its not just vegans that should be concerned about vitamin B12 deficiency. Up to 40% of Americans are deficient in vitamin B12, yet only 3% of Americans are vegan.

    How Do Vegans Get Enough Protein From Their Diet

    How to eat more protein: Tips and tricks

    With many consumers opting to ditch meat and dairy products for the sake of the environment, their health, or for the animals, where do vegans get their protein from? is one of the most asked questions of the moment. This often is closely followed by can they get enough of it? and is it the same quality as animal-based protein?

    The short answers to the above questions are: from a variety of sources, yes they can, and yes it is. For longer, more detailed explanations on why protein isnt an issue for vegans, weve put together a comprehensive guide, starting with what protein does for the body.

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    How Do You Get That Much Protein

    Well, with traditional animal based diets, its pretty straight forward, eat bout 4 to 6 of meat or poultry with each meal, some egg whites and a protein shake and you will most likely hit your protein ratio!

    Eat dairy alternative like cashew yogurt!

    With vegan or plant based diets, its a bit more tricky. The main thing to be aware of is that ALL foods including all plant based foods do have some protein. For example, black beans have a whopping 21 grams of protein per 100 grams. kale has 4.3 grams per 100 grams. With that in mind, the best way to ensure you are getting adequate amounts of protein when following a plant based diet is to eat as much variety of foods as possible AND ensure to ingest 2 to 4 vegan based protein shakes.

    Its also important to include some legumes, seeds and nuts at each meal. For example adding 3 tbsp of shelled hemp seeds to your morning oatmeal adds 10 grams of protein to your breakfast, 1 tbsp of natural almond butter gives you 5 grams of protein, a handful of raw almonds serves 6 grams of protein!

    As you can see, if you add or better said sprinkle a bit of protein in each and every meal, you can certainly hit 100 grams or more in a day! The only other tricky part is balancing carbohydrates and fats. Vegan and plant based diets generally can be higher fats and carbohydrates. It may take a bit of experimentation to be able to hit those macros perfectly but as long as you keep an eye on it, it can be done!

    The Dangers Of Animal Protein

    It might seem wise to err on the side of getting too much protein. But doing so poses health risks, particularly if youre consuming animal protein: A growing body of research demonstrates a link between animal protein intake and serious health problems, including cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

    A 2018 study of more than 81,000 people found that regular meat consumption was associated with a 60 percent increase in the risk of heart disease. High consumption of animal protein was associated with early death in a 2019 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Another 2019 study found that white meat is as cholesterol-raising as red meat. In a cohort study published in 2014, high protein intake, especially from animal sources, was associated with elevated risk of developing type 2 diabetes.And despite a common assumption that eating more protein can be helpful in achieving weight-loss goals, eating animal protein is actually associated with weight gain.

    Animal protein is a major cause of weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, inflammation, and cancer,says Michelle McMacken, MD, director of the Adult Weight Management Program at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue in New York City. Contrary to popular perception excess protein does not make us stronger or leaner. Excess protein is stored as fat or turned into waste.

    Can Excess Plant Protein Be Dangerous?

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    Tofu Tempeh And Edamame

    Tofu, tempeh and edamame all originate from soybeans.

    Soybeans are considered a whole source of protein. This means that they provide the body with all the essential amino acids it needs.

    Edamame are immature soybeans with a sweet and slightly grassy taste. They need to be steamed or boiled prior to consumption and can be eaten on their own or added to soups and salads.

    Tofu is made from bean curds pressed together in a process similar to cheesemaking. Tempeh is made by cooking and slightly fermenting mature soybeans prior to pressing them into a patty.

    Tofu doesnt have much taste, but easily absorbs the flavor of the ingredients its prepared with. Comparatively, tempeh has a characteristic nutty flavor.

    Both tofu and tempeh can be used in a variety of recipes, ranging from burgers to soups and chilis.

    All three contain iron, calcium and 10-19 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces .

    Edamame are also rich in folate, vitamin K and fiber. Tempeh contains a good amount of probiotics, B vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus.

    Bottom Line:

    Tofu, tempeh and edamame all originate from soybeans, a complete source of protein. They also contain good amounts of several other nutrients and can be used in a variety of recipes.

    Whole Spelt Is High In Carbs And Fiber

    How Do Vegans Get Enough Protein?

    Similar to wheat and other grains, spelt is mainly comprised of carbs, most of which is starch, or long chains of glucose molecules .

    Whole spelt is also a good source of dietary fiber. Fiber helps slow down digestion and absorption, which helps reduce blood sugar spikes.

    High fiber intake is strongly linked to positive health outcomes including, a reduced risk of obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes .


    Whole spelt is high in carbs and fiber. High fiber diets have been linked to positive health outcomes.

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    Can You Get Enough Protein On A Vegan Diet

    FYI: You can find more information on this subject in the NASM course on plant-based diets – which condenses a section of the NASM nutrition certification course into a bite-sized portion.

    People choose to go vegan for a variety of reasonsperhaps they aspire to be Tom Brady , or land on veganism for ethical concerns around eating animal products, or the environmental impact that animals raised for food have on our planet, or they simply dont like meat, eggs, dairy, etc.

    Even those who go vegan may dabble in their frequency and commitment to the diet. Some use it as a way to hit reset or detox for a few days or weeks then theres a group that eats vegan during the day, but not at dinner , or one day of every week .

    Wherever you areor are consideringon the spectrum, there are benefits, and challenges, to skipping all animal products.

    The benefits to going vegan are legitand, in fact, the list is quite robust. Research shows that people who follow a plant-based diet have lower BMIs than their omnivore counterparts, and vegans are typically the leanest. You can also use a vegetarian or vegan diet to help you lose weight. Vegan diets help people improve their heart disease risk , lower their blood pressure, cholesterol, and risk of type 2 diabetes, and protect against cancer. In fact, following a vegan diet offered the most protection against cancer compared to any other diet in one study. Seeso. many. benefits.

    • Spirulina
    • Peanuts
    • Almonds
    • Pistachios
    • Soybeans

    Healthy Eating As A Vegan

    You can get most of the nutrients you need from eating a varied and balanced vegan diet.

    For a healthy vegan diet:

    • eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
    • base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates
    • have some dairy alternatives, such as soya drinks and yoghurts
    • eat some beans, pulses and other proteins
    • choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat in small amounts
    • drink plenty of fluids

    If you choose to include foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt or sugar, have them less often and in small amounts.

    See the Eatwell Guide for more information about a healthy diet.

    The Eatwell Guide applies to vegetarians, vegans, people of all ethnic origins and those who are a healthy weight for their height, as well as those who are overweight.

    The only group the Eatwell Guide is not suitable for is children under the age of 2, as they have different needs.

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    Grains Nuts And Seeds

    Most people have no idea how much protein theyre actually supposed to get in a day , but non-vegans always seem to wonder how vegans get enough protein. *Eye roll*

    Heres the real question: if dead animals are your main protein source, where do you get your riboflavin, niacin, lutein, zinc, phosphorous, thiamine, selenium, magnesium, folate, calcium, potassium, manganese, and vitamins A, C, and K huh?

    100 Per Cent Whole Wheat Pasta 8 grams of protein per cooked cup: Great source of B vitamins and iron

    Almonds 21 grams of protein per 100 grams: Great source of vitamin E, manganese, biotin, copper, magnesium, molybdenum, riboflavin, and phosphorus

    Amaranth 7 grams of protein per cooked cup: Great source of iron, B vitamins, and magnesium

    Buckwheat 24 grams of protein per cup: Great source of antioxidants, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, niacin, zinc, iron, folate, and vitamin B6

    Chia Seeds 5 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons: Great source of calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, boron, niacin, and vitamins B, D, and E, and contains 8.7 times the omega-3 fatty acids found in wild Atlantic salmon

    Ezekiel Bread 8 grams of protein per two slices: Great source of fibre, folate, beta-carotene, and vitamins C and E

    Hemp Seeds 15.5 grams of protein per half cup: Great source of magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, selenium, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids

    Peanut Butter 7 grams of protein per two tablespoons: Great source of magnesium, potassium, and vitamins B6 and E

    How Does Vegan Protein Powder Compare To Whey

    How to Get Enough Protein on a Plant

    There are quite a few vegan protein powders these days. Most are made from peas or a blend of protein isolated from a few different sources .

    Are they as good as whey protein powder? You bet:

    • Pea protein was as effective as whey in a 12 week study of 161 males
    • Vegan protein powder are free of antinutrients and just as digestible as animal proteins
    • Young men using brown rice protein gained the same amount of muscle as the whey protein group in an 8 week study

    I did an extensive test of over 35 of them. If youd like to see which ones I thought were best, heres my page of the best vegan protein powders. Or, if you live in Canada, see my page of the best vegan protein powders in Canada .

    While its typically good to focus on getting nutrition from whole foods, vegan protein powder are one of the best vegan protein sources and can be a helpful tool on a plant based diet if you are struggling to get enough protein.

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    The 10 Best Vegan Protein Sources

    Eating plant-based doesn’t have to mean being protein-deficient. This list of 10 tasty protein sources will make your plate look well-rounded and leave your body feeling nourished.

    Eating vegan or vegetarian is becoming a more common dietary choice, and that means more and more people have questions about getting enough nutrients, like protein, in their plant-based diet. Here’s the good news: it’s very, very easy to meet your daily protein requirements as a vegan. The secret? It’s all about balance.

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    If you end up becoming a “junk food vegan,” then you may end up feeling low-energy and having a protein deficiency. A diet consisting purely of frozen vegan waffles and chips won’t supply enough protein for your body’s energy needs. But if you take full advantage of a plant-based diet and fill your plates with colorful produce, hearty grains and satisfying spuds, then you should have no problem meeting your daily protein goal.

    Pictured Recipe: Celeriac & Walnut Tacos

    Can You Get Enough Protein From Plants

    An emphatic YES! Protein deficiency is rare in the average American population. Vegetarian and vegan athletes can consume adequate protein intake through consumption of a variety of foods such as beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and soy products.

    The bioavailability of protein may be lower in some plant foods such as cereals versus beans and soy foods. Encouraging a variety of sources for protein intake, as with any diet, is key to adequately meet dietary needs.

    We previously believed that in order to get adequate amounts of protein from a plant-based diet that complementary proteins needed to be consumed. However, as research has advanced that is not the current case. Consuming a varied diet throughout the day and evenly spreading protein between meals and snacks will allow for adequate protein intake.

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    How Can I Make Sure I Get Enough Calcium

    Calcium-rich foods include bok choy, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, watercress, broccoli, chickpeas and calcium-set tofu.

    Fortified plant milks and juices are also a great way for vegans to increase their calcium intake.

    The RDA for calcium is 1,000 mg per day for most adults and increases to 1,200 mg per day for adults over 50 years old .

    Some argue that vegans may have slightly lower daily requirements because of the lack of meat in their diets. Not much scientific evidence can be found to support or negate this claim.

    However, current studies show that vegans consuming less than 525 mg of calcium each day have an increased risk of bone fractures .

    For this reason, vegans should aim to consume 525 mg of calcium per day at the very least.

    Chickpeas And Most Varieties Of Beans

    How To Get Enough Protein on a Vegan or Vegetarian Diet

    Kidney, black, pinto and most other varieties of beans contain high amounts of protein per serving.

    Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are another legume with a high protein content.

    Both beans and chickpeas contain about 15 grams of protein per cooked cup . They are also excellent sources of complex carbs, fiber, iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium, manganese and several beneficial plant compounds .

    Moreover, several studies show that a diet rich in beans and other legumes can decrease cholesterol, help control blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and even reduce belly fat .

    Add beans to your diet by making a tasty bowl of homemade chili, or enjoy extra health benefits by sprinkling a dash of turmeric on roasted chickpeas .

    Bottom Line:

    Beans are health-promoting, protein-packed legumes that contain a variety of vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds.

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