Whether you’ve already turned vegan or are thinking about going vegan, there’s a lot that you need to know. For instance, you have to figure out why you want to make this lifestyle change in the first place. Is it because you care about animals and the environment? Is it because you want to live a healthier life? Once you have the answer, it’s important for you to fully grasp what ‘being vegan’ is.
In a nutshell, veganism involves keeping away from all kinds of animal products, especially in terms of your diet. Food that contains animal-derived ingredients is a strict no-no. This essentially means saying goodbye to even basic food items such as milk, cheese and eggs, among others. But don’t worry. There are plenty of substitutes to these items, including vegan milk, vegan cheese and even vegan chicken, if you know where to look!
On a vegan diet, you can eat legumes, nuts and nut butters, seeds, tofu, tempeh, seitan, sprouted and fermented plant food, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and cereals. But there’s one question that plenty of people continue to ask about the vegan lifestyle – where do vegans get their protein from? Yes, when you’re abstaining from protein-rich food such as poultry, meat and fish, being concerned about your protein source is only natural. But, if you follow the right kind of diet and eat plant foods that contain a lot of protein, you’re going to be just fine.
Good protein sources for vegans
Science has said it time and again. The amino acids in proteins are what go on to become the backbone for all your muscles and tissues. They’re also good when it comes to helping boost immune functions. So, make sure to eat a balanced amount of the right kind of food that’ll give your body the protein that it needs. Here’s where to get your protein from if you’re on a vegan diet.
Legumes are excellent sources of both fiber and protein. Think pinto beans, kidney beans and black beans, among others. You can add them to dips, salads and even tacos. Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are extremely protein-rich as well, so add some to your shopping cart the next time.
Hey now, don’t make faces! Peas are actually great sources of protein. If you don’t like to eat them cooked, you can turn them into a fine powder and mix it in with stews and curries.
Not only is tofu packed with protein, but also lends itself to different dishes in many different ways. You can cut them up into cubes and cook them as you please – sauté, bake, marinate, the works!
Seitan is basically prepared from gluten, which is the key protein present in wheat. Because it resembles the look and texture of meat when you cook it, a lot of people call this ‘wheat meat’. If you buy even 100gms of seitan, know that it contains about 25gms of protein. Like with tofu, you can bake it, marinate it, grill it or even pan-fry it.
Yes, edamame is an acquired taste. But it’s a good protein source, so consider bringing some home if you’re vegan! Remember to boil or steam the edamame before you add it to your preparations.
Soya beans or soy beans are renowned the world over. They’re used in many different preparations and are also used to make soy milk, tofu and the like. They’re wonderful sources of protein with a 1/4 cup containing about 15gms of protein, so eat up!
Lentils are protein-rich and are an integral part of Indian meals, so it won’t be too difficult to incorporate this into your diet. You can use lentils of any kind, ranging from red and brown to green and yellow to make dal, different types of curries and even salads.
This superfood is actually considered to be one of the very few plant-based proteins that gives you all of the nine important amino acids! So say yes to quinoa everything.
Amaranth is a good substitute for rice or pasta in a meal. What’s more, it’s gluten-free and rich in protein. You can use it in your porridge, in puddings and as a substitute for different grains.
Filled with nutrition, these tiny seeds are good sources of protein. You can use it to whip up a delicious breakfast smoothie or even add it to puddings.
Do you have oats for breakfast? Well, good for you! Half a cup of oats contains about 6gms of protein as well as good portions of fiber and other nutrients that the body needs. Oats are also considered to contain high-quality protein, as against other grains such as wheat and rice.
Nuts & Nut butters
As you know, nuts are rich in protein. This includes walnuts, almonds, cashew nuts, peanuts and even pecan nuts. Snack on them in moderation. You can even opt for nut butter (almond, peanut, etc.) and use it as a spread or in a sauce. Remember to have all of this in moderation, since they’re also rich in fat.
You see? You can be vegan and get the right kind of protein intake. We suggest bookmarking this article the next time you’re wondering where vegans can get their proteins from.