Being vegan has always been a lifestyle open to numerous question. For instance, telling anyone you’re a vegan often brings up the inevitable question:
“But where do you get your protein!?”
Every vegan has heard it at least once, and the implication is shocking. Many people believe that it is either impossible or otherwise very hard, to get enough protein without consuming come kind of animal products. This cannot be further from the truth, there are countless ways to get protein on a vegan diet, and they are much healthier in the long run than animal products.
1. Beans and Legumes
Probably the healthiest and most recommend form of protein across the board, Pinto Beans (15g protein/cup), Black Beans (15g/cup), Chickpeas (15g/cup), and Lentils (18g/cup), along with many other varieties of legume contain quite a large amount of protein per serving. These can be blended, crushed, and combined in a variety of ways to make everything from veggie burgers to even brownies. Since beans are a whole food, which means they are not processed, they are full of vitamins and minerals and can be eaten indefinitely.
Soy is a common vegan protein staple, although it seems to have been falling off the wagon in the last couple of years. It is a bean, but because it is so popular I thought it belongs in a separate segment. Soy is consumed in everything from Soymilk(8g/cup) and Tofu(20g/cup), to Tempeh (31g), and is often bland and beany tasting, but it is really high in protein, and can easily be a way for many vegans to obtain a lot of protein in a short amount of time. Soy is often what companies like Gardein, Morningstar, and Boca base their “vegan meat” around, because of this it is often a highly processed food, and don’t contain many nutrients aside from protein.
3. Nuts and Seeds
Although nuts and seeds are not recommended to get a substantial amount of protein from due to their high caloric content, they are a great source of healthy fats and can add flavor to any meal. Peanut butter is a great tasting staple among vegans and non-vegans alike, and just 2 tablespoons of peanut butter has 8 whole grams of protein. Almonds(6g/ounce) are a great snack food as well, and Sunflower Seeds(6g/ounce) are great as a salad topper.
4. Wheat and Grains
Many don’t consider Wheat-based products or other grains to be a good source of protein, but Rice(4g), Wheat Bread(3g/slice), Bagels(10g), Pasta(8g/cup), and Seitan(60g/cup) are all either pretty good to excellent forms of protein. Combining multiple types of protein are the key to healthy living on a vegan diet, and besides, why would you not combine them? Rice and beans and peanut butter on bread are a match made in heaven!
So don’t be discouraged at the question “where do you get your protein?” have the knowledge to be able to tell them exactly where you get your protein, and what they can do to eat healthier forms of protein themselves.