If I had a £ for every time I was asked that, I would own a superyacht!
Though protein is often perceived as an area of concern for vegans, it’s actually easy to get enough of it. We also don’t need as much as you may think we do! I wont get into the weighty (no pun intended) issue of why I believe we do not need to consume animal products in this post, it is merely to share my sources of plant-based protein.
Before I get to my sources of protein, here is a little science on the importance of it within our diets.
Protein is made up of amino acid building blocks. Some of these are ‘essential amino acids’ that our body cannot make itself and therefore we need to consume. Protein is part of our muscles and bones. It is used for fighting infections, carrying oxygen, making hormones, growth, repair and energy when there isn’t enough coming from other sources.
How much do we need? In the UK the daily recommended intake of protein per kilogram of body weight is 0.75kg (1). So that would mean that a person weighing 60kg would need about 45g of protein per day.
How does that look in terms of foods?
- 100g uncooked calcium-set tofu = 8g of protein
- 80g cooked red lentils = 7g
- 80g chickpeas = 6g
- 25g peanut butter = 6g
How much protein is there in plants? Plenty! Plant foods can provide all the essential amino acids! Ensure that most of your meals contain good sources of protein, such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, soya alternatives to milk and yoghurt, or peanuts.
In addition to the above mentioned foods; Cashew nuts, pistachio nuts, chia seeds, ground linseed, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, buckwheat, quinoa and wild rice are also great sources.
How do vegans get enough protein? If you eat a varied and balanced diet containing plenty of whole plant foods and adequate calories, you will be able to meet your body’s need for protein.
As an athlete, i also use plant-derived protein powder pre and post workouts to enhance my recovery. My preferred brand is Raw Sport. I have a video coming soon to my blog on which products I use from their range.
If you’re into weight-lifting and would like to further explore veganism within it, check out Patrik Baboumian
REFERENCE – (1) Dietary Reference Values For Food Energy and Nutrients For Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom