If I were to write a blog post as ‘the dullest reactions that vegans most often hear from others’, then the next sentence is already in the top 5;
Where do you get your proteins from?
Yes, as soon as someone discovers that your meals consist of mere plants, it seems like he/she is suddenly very concerned about your health. After all; protein do you mainly get meat, fish, dairy, and eggs?
They already see for themselves how you – slowly but certainly – will decay physically 😉
There is no lack of irony in this. Often that question is not asked by people who have done a triathlon in the morning or have a pair of shiny Olympic medals in their closet.
No, you usually get this question from a friend or family member (often with a bit of overweight). They should have more than enough animal protein to work in order to be radiantly healthy.
Why do you need protein? (benefits)
Protein is useful, among other things, when opening a jar of pickles 😉
What is certain in any case is that protein is indispensable to you. That is a scientific fact that everyone agrees on (and that is a rarity).
Proteins supply calories and amino acids, especially considering the latter as the ideal building blocks for your body. For example, they provide muscle recovery but are just as crucial for the functioning of your brain. Without (or in case of a shortage) proteins/amino acids you will sooner or later be in trouble.
Certain amino acids can be created by your body itself, while you have to get the rest out of your diet. And as said, you and I are mainly advised to consume animal products for this.
Either supplemented with ‘a recommended amount of fruit and vegetables ;-).
‘Complete’ proteins or common sense?
It is often argued that the combination of animal and vegetable proteins is the only correct one. But even if that were mostly true, I continue to regret that we use it as an excuse to leave everything to the old.
I mean; Mankind should gradually realize that our massive consumption of meat is the cause of the most significant problems in the area of animal welfare, environment, and health. Even humanitarian problems if you dig deeper.
Moreover, I take that ‘combination theory’ with a grain of salt. Although animal products indeed contain more (and more complete) proteins, that doesn’t mean that plants will end in a drama.
It simply means that you will have to do a little more effort (with an emphasis on ‘little’) to get your needed amount and variety of protein.
Change your meal image
Yep, I think most nutrition experts at the term ‘vegan meal’ still think of a plate with a big empty spot. A place where a piece of meat used to be, flanked by a bit of vegetables. Often only 1 type of vegetable even: – /
Is that also what you envisage in a vegetable meal? Well, then it is indeed pretty difficult to get to your proteins. It is therefore advisable to completely let go of that ‘classic meal’ (read: potatoes, meat, vegetables) and give the leading role to the vegetables.
Many vegetables by the way.
Preferably more than 2 or 3 🙂
You do not make the most of 1 meal
What I also find bizarre is the assumption that your whole protein intake must be dependent on one meal. I get that impression at least when I look at the most nutritional advice on this subject.
I mean; why should you have 80% of your protein intake from your dinner? Why not eat protein-rich food during the other times of your day? At your breakfast, lunch or snack for example.
Once again; I’m absolutely not an expert, but don’t you think it is much more logical to eat small amounts of protein-rich food during the day instead of that one gigantic protein bomb in the evening?
Just thinking (and open for discussion;)).
The 18 best plant-based protein sources
Anyway; plants are good protein sources and some vegetable products (eg tofu and seitan) often even more than the average piece of meat!
However, the most important thing remains variation. That is really the key word for healthy eating habits tout court. Eat more vegetables, combine to your heart’s content and vary much more with the different types.
Anyway; Here below a list of 18 (easy to obtain) vegetable protein toppers!
There is no specific order but, of course, the information about the protein content.
Seitan is not called a protein champion for nothing. This popular ‘meat substitute’ contains on average 24 g of protein per 100 g. In addition, it is also about complete proteins. Or more concretely; all nine essential (and 1 semi-essential) amino acids. Since seitan is pure wheat (or spelt) gluten, it is unfortunately not suitable for people with gluten intolerance.
Broccoli contains about 3-4 g of protein per 100 g. Maybe not a hallucinatory score, but in general a very nutritious vegetable. Think of calcium, vitamin C, fiber, … but actually, that applies to most of the ingredients listed here 🙂
Good for 13 g of protein per 100 g of oatmeal and again a lot of fiber and nutrients. Start the morning with a nice bowl of oatmeal and 0rganic / plant-based milk or yogurt. It’s a is cliché … but it works. And it is good too!
You get about 3-4 g of protein from 100 g of fresh spinach. And spinach can be consumed in many ways. Raw in salads for example, but also in hot meals (wok, stew, …) and in smoothies. Green power at its best.
Protein bomb alarm! A portion of 100 g of cooked (probably) chickpeas contains +/- 7.5 g of protein and many other healthy nutrients. Also, they are delicious… I think so.
Add 2 tbsp of these tiny-looking chia seeds to your breakfast bowl and tjakaa … 5 g protein in your body 😉
Hemp seed (and hemp milk)
It is difficult to talk about hemp seed and not to think about drugs. But … you better do that! First, hemp seed has nothing to do with narcotic substances and secondly … 100 g hemp seed contains about 30 g (!!!) of proteins.
It is also versatile because you can make hemp milk for example. Mixing a handful of seeds with the desired amount of water and huppa … also ideal for making smoothies.
No ‘Mexican dish’ without black beans. They are lucky – the Mexicans – because these beautiful beans contain on average 9 g of protein per 100 g. Once cooked.
A glass of plant-based (unsweetened and without other additives) soy drink contains about 3 g of protein. Unfortunately, soy is also a common allergen, and there is a lot of discussion about its health value.
You can easily split peas into ‘peas’ and ‘split peas’. The latter are simply harvested later than peas (when the plant is dehydrated), and we mainly use it in the classic pea soup.
Fresh, prepared peas contain about 5 g of protein per 100 g. Split peas about 6 g once they are cooked. Dry split peas contain no less than 22 g / 100 g of proteins (!).
But ook … we can not digest them that w, y unfortunately. Like all other legumes.
Again a soy product, but it is fermented. Tempeh contains about 12 g / 100 g protein and scores very well in this list. A very versatile, healthy and tasty product that you can use in all kinds of ways. Definitely worth a try if you have not already done so.
I’m crazy (nuts?) On almonds, and that’s good. These delicious nuts contain 19 to 20 g of protein per 100 g!
No, this doesn’t mean that it is a good idea to eat the marzipan per kilo from now on (mainly sugar, barely almonds;)).
Nutritional yeast flakes
A lot can be said about nutritional yeast anyway, and that is what we’ll do in another article.
For now, it is important to mention that yeast flakes are about the most complete plant-based protein source ever. A small 2 tbsp yeast flakes contain about 9 g of protein, consisting of all nine amino acids that the body can not produce itself. In short; a perfect and tasty ingredient / nutritional supplement!
Ah, peanut butter! One does not want to know anything about it; the other cannot stay away from it. For others, peanuts are unfortunately also a (sometimes fatal) allergen: – /
Personally, I can only withstand it with difficulty, and that is why peanut butter may be my main source of protein. Although I honestly exaggerate with it. Not so healthy, I fear. 😉
Anyway; 100 g natural (read: the non-multi-sugared and chock-full preservatives supermarket) peanut butter contains +/- 26 (!) grams of protein. Peanut butter sandwich anyone?
Quinoa is not a cereal, but rather a plant related to spinach. So they are edible seeds. Quinoa is nowadays also not unspoken on an ethical level. You can read more about this in this article.
However, when it comes to the amount of protein, quinoa (pronounced: kin-wa) scores well. About 4 g of protein per 100 g of cooked quinoa.
When I used to make pumpkin, I removed the seeds and just tucked them away. I now know better!
Dried pumpkin seeds contain a shocking 24 g of protein per 100 g. Just like some other ingredients in this list, this is more than the 23 g of protein per 100 g of steak.
And that without death and destruction 😉
In short; eating more pumpkin seeds is the message! A handful in your breakfast, salad or dinner … they fit everywhere. Also roasted, it’s delicious.
Last but not least: lupin beans. 36 grams per 100 g, with all essential amino acids. And it’s ideal for people who are allergic to soy. There is also lupin tofu.
Do you know other plant-based protein sources? Share your knowledge at the bottom of this article!
You can also share the article yourself 😉