I always knew that I loved animals and never, ever wanted to eat them. However, being a personal trainer, I often worried about not getting enough protein as a vegan. I would go a few months without eating meat and then someone would ask me, “But where do you get your protein?!” I would let my mind convince me that I was dying from a protein deficiency and would start eating chicken again.
Because eating meat did not align with my morals, I finally took time to do some research and I found that it IS absolutely possible to get protein without eating meat! And two years later, I am still feeling great and will never go back to eating animal protein again.
Here is the good news! Every food that we eat (minus oils) contains protein, so if you are eating enough calories you will absolutely get enough protein. And protein from plants doesn’t contain all of that yucky stuff that meat does: no saturated fat, no cholesterol, no hormones that increase IGF-1. Plus, plant protein contains fiber (something that meat doesn’t contain at all) and isn’t inflammatory! In addition, plant protein doesn’t increase your chances of getting heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, or kidney issues like meat does. It’s an all around WIN!!!!!
***This guy doesn’t have to worry about protein…and all he eats is PLANTS!!!!!
So, how much protein does a person need? The recommendation for adults is 0.4 grams of protein per pound of healthy body weight. It is absolutely easy to satisfy this need with a plant based diet. Simply make sure to eat enough calories and to load up on whole plant based foods. In addition, here are some foods that contain more protein than their plant based friends:
*Black beans: 7.6 grams of protein (per 1/2 cup cooked)
*Garbanzo beans: 7.5 grams of protein (per 1/2 cup cooked)
*Kidney beans: 8.1 grams of protein (per 1/2 cup cooked)
*Lentils: 8.9 grams of protein (per 1/2 cup cooked)
*Seitan: 22.5 grams of protein (3 ounces)
*Tofu: 10-20 grams of protein (firm usually contains more protein but varies from brand to brand)
*Peanuts: 8.6 grams of protein (1/4 cup)
*Almonds: 7.3 grams of protein (1/4 cup)
*Quinoa: 4.0 grams of protein (1/2 cup cooked)
*Potato: 4.5 grams of protein (1 baked)
*Peas: 4.5 grams of protein (1/2 cup)
Above are some of my favorite sources.
Other sources include edamame, nuts and seeds, nut milks, plant based protein powders, whole grains and vegetables.
I hope that helps a bit and shows you that it IS absolutely possible and beneficial to get protein without eating meat.
For even more information, I recommend reading Proteinaholic by Garth Davis, M.D. It is also available on audio book and is absolutely GAME CHANGING!
Have a great day and I would love to hear from you!!!
What is your favorite plant based source for protein??? Leave a comment below.