Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein

Posted in Blog on 26.04.2019

Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein

It’s the question we see asked time and time again.  Where do vegans get their protein?

And it’s actually a really simple answer.  If you have a balanced vegan diet containing vegetables, grains, beans, seeds and nuts it’s very easy to meet the protein recommendations as most of these contain some, if not lots, of vegan protein.

Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein

What is protein?

One of the three main classes of food, protein is made of essential amino acids which are the ‘building blocks’ of every one of our body’s cells.  These cells need protein to grow new cells and repair damaged ones.  They also transport molecules in our bodies from one place to another.  Protein also facilitates the digestion and absorption of other nutrients as well as removing waste and toxins, balancing hormones and regulating hundreds of our body’s systems and functions

Most microorganisms and plants can biosynthesise all 20 standard amino acids.  But animals (including us humans) must obtain some of the amino acids from their diet through foods containing protein.  The protein is then broken down by digestion into these amino acids.

Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein

How much protein do we need?

Because we know protein is SO essential to our overall health, it’s probably why everyone is so much more aware of it.  And why we try to make sure we are getting enough of it.

The body doesn’t store amino acids so you need to replenish each day.  Your body typically needs 10-15% of your diet to be rich in protein and it’s recommended that women consume at least 52 grams and men 63 grams of protein daily.

However it’s also lifestyle as well as gender and even height dependent and affected by your activity levels.  The RDA is 0.38 grams of protein for each pound you weigh.

Chances are, your body will tell you when you aren’t getting enough protein.  Your metabolism might be slower and you can have difficulty building muscle mass.  You may have low energy, suffer from a foggy brain and have trouble concentrating.

Conversely too much protein can also lead to problems.  Your kidneys have to work harder to flush out the excess and your digestion and bowels can suffer, particularly if you don’t also include enough fiber in your diet.

Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein

Another consideration is if you’re trying to build muscle.  I’m relying on Phil here as that’s exactly what he’s trying to do – weights is the new cardio apparently 😉  For building muscle the protein ratio is 2.3 to 3.1 grams of protein per day per kilo of lean body mass.

How to easily incorporate vegan protein into your diet.

As previously mentioned many beans, pulses, vegetables and seeds contain significant amounts of protein, more than you might think and often more than meat.

And now for the best bit.  High protein vegan recipes!!  There are so many vegan protein sources, here are some of our favourites …

 

TOFU  – originating from soy beans which provide the body with all the essential amino acids it needs.

Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein

Clockwise from top left:

Tofu Stir Fry – crispy fried tofu on a bed of stir fried veggies and rice noodles, this is a firm favourite of ours for a quick and delicious meal or a meal prep staple.

Vegan ‘Fish’ & Chips – beer battered tofu with nori (edible seaweed) sheets to give it that seaside flavour and crispy herbed potato wedges.

Healthy Indian Takeaway – marinated tofu with cauliflower fried rice, all the flavour of your favourite takeaway with so much less fat and calories!

Vegan Scrambled Eggs – Himalayan black salt gives this tofu scramble it’s distinctive eggy flavour, the perfect accompaniment to your vegan Full English.

 

LENTILS – one of the best sources of vegan protein and fibre promoting a healthy gut.

Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein

Clockwise from left:

Vegetarian Lasagne – rich tomatoey lentils and layers of lasagne noodles all topped off with a creamy, cheesy sauce swirled with homemade pesto.  Oh and it’s ALL vegan 😉

Wild Mushroom and Lentil Gravy – brings richness and real depth of flavour to a vegan roast, full of earthy mushrooms and protein packed lentils.

Lentil, Haricot Bean and Mushroom Roast – a double protein whammy with both lentils and haricot beans!  This is a great Sunday roast alternative.

 

CHICKPEAS – also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas are one of the most versatile of our high protein ingredients.

Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein

Clockwise from top left:

Falafel  Burgers – we eat these a LOT!  So simple to whizz up, so delicious and filling!

Sun Dried Tomato and Basil Hummus – this is a great flavour all by itself or can be used as a base to add your own spices!

Vegan Paella – FULL of flavour and about a gajillion good for you ingredients!

Kid Friendly Veggie Nuggets – as tested by my 46 year old ‘child’ 😉

 

BEANS – with about 15 grams of protein per cup (250g) of cooked beans they’re also a great source of complex carbohydrates, fibre and iron.

Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein

Clockwise from top left:

Spicy Baked Beans – hands down these are better than anything out of a tin, almost as quick to make and much less sugar too!

Vegan Meatballs – these are a weekend favourite of ours, so simple even ‘Him’ makes them.  Perfect comfort food 😉

Garlic Mushroom Stuffed Sweet Potatoes – baked jacket potatoes taken to another level with piles of flavour and vegan protein!

 

GREEN PEAS – full of protein, fibre and vitamins A, C and K these tiny little peas pack a big nutritional punch!

Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein

Clockwise from top left:

Mushroom Risotto – just half an hour and one pan needed for this rich and creamy comfort food at its finest!

Mushy Pea, Parsnip and Potato Cakes – great for using up any left over veg or a good excuse to cook more!  These are perfect for a weekend brunch.

Green Split Pea and Pesto Stuffed Conchiglie – great for batch cooking these little lasagne pockets are hearty and filling.

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie – another one for the batch cookers!  A giant dish of this does us for several meals.  Love food you can eat out of a bowl with just a fork 😉

 

QUINOA – providing you with a complete source of protein, quinoa can be prepared and eaten similar to traditional grains like rice and wheat

Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein

Clockwise from left:

Fig and Quinoa Overnight Oats – a weekly favourite in our house as you can make the oats for the whole week and just add the fresh fruit and quinoa puffs (which are as good as they sound!) right before eating.

Goji and Quinoa Granola Bars – soft and crumbly, packed with nuts and naturally sweetened with dates and maple syrup these bars are incredibly moreish and a great breakfast to go!

Camembert and Quinoa Burgers – so many layers of flavour from veggies, beans and wonderful quinoa.

 

OATS – I get through kilos of oats each week.  Literally.  With everything from our daily overnight oats or porridge, to weekend pancakes to sweet treat bites and bars.  They’re as versatile as they are nutritious!

Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein

Clockwise from top left:

Vegan Pancakes – Pancake Sunday is sacred and a thing to be enjoyed with many many cups of tea 🙂  We’re not the only ones Judi on Facebook commentedI made these this morning. They are the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten and will be the ONLY ones I make forever!! Thank you, delish!!!!!!!”  Comments like that make my heart very very happy 🙂

Chocolate Orange Granola – because chocolate and orange was just meant to be!

Raspberry, Apricot and Almond Baked Oats – this is what we eat when we want a breakfast change from porridge or overnight oats – all the same deliciousness and nutrition in a bake ahead bar!

Caramel Chocolate Protein Bites – SO delicious and so much better than anything in a wrapper!  They’re full of nuts, oats, seeds and dried fruits.

 

CHIA SEEDS – with their ability to absorb water and expand their size they’re terrific for keeping you fuller for longer.  They’re also full of fibre and protein as well as omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants

Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein

Clockwise from top left:

Chia Lemon Muffins with Lemon Curd – these are just the right balance of sweet and lemon sourness!

Chia Chocolate Cookies – just 5 ingredients and 15 minutes baking time before you can enjoy these supremely chocolatey rich cookies!

Double Chocolate Banana Bread – the chia seeds keep this banana bread deliciously light while still being decadently chocolatey and wonderful!  I buy extra bananas just so they go over-ripe to make this!

Chia Chocolate Protein Bites – probably our most made recipe, there’s very rarely a week goes by I’m not rolling these little buggers for a bit sized healthy treat!

 

NUT & SEED BUTTERS – another thing I tend to buy by the kilo!  Most nuts and seeds in their natural form are great sources of plant protein, but there’s something very wonderful about those very versatile nut and seed butters!  So much variety too so don’t just limit yourself to peanut!  Seed butters are also a great sub if you have a nut allergy.

Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein

Clockwise from top left:

Thai Quinoa Salad with almond butter dressing – tonnes of veggies and flavour in this meal prep staple.  The BEST nutty dressing too 😉

Coconut, Almond & Chocolate Cookies – so simple to make.  Meltingly soft. 10 minutes to cook.  Vegan.  Dipped in chocolate.

Peanut Butter Protein Bars – made these bars again only yesterday.  Great afternoon pick-me-up or post gym snack.

 

I touched earlier on protein for building muscle mass for all you gym bunnies.  Getting sufficient protein from a vegan diet alone might not always be possible.  This is where vegan protein powders come in.  And we’re actually in the process of writing a comprehensive review post about the best that we’ve discovered.  It’ll cover cost, taste and all the macro information you could ever wish for!  Keep your eyes peeled as it’ll be coming soon 😉

If you’ve made it this far, massive kudos!  I hope it’s given you an insight into the fact that getting enough protein as a vegan is in NO way anymore difficult than as a non-vegan.  Vegan food not only tastes better (hand on heart) but it’s better for our bodies, the environment and of course the animals 🙂

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Hello and welcome to The Cook & Him.

We are Sam (The Cook), Phil (Him) and our little dog Meg. What started with a plan to shed a few pounds back in 2016, soon became obvious that eating healthy doesn’t have to be bland and boring.

So, combining Sam’s 15 years of experience working within Michelin starred restaurants and our love for deliciously healthy food, we’re creating recipes for you to make and enjoy. We’ve added our own unique spin on traditional and contemporary vegetarian and vegan recipes that keep you (and your pets!) healthy and full.  And we make sure they just work.

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