One of the main concerns of people transitioning to a vegan diet is where they will get their daily dose of protein. It is a popular belief that we only get an essential amount of protein from meat and animal byproducts. But more and more studies show that we can also get it from different plant-based sources. Let’s deep dive into what protein is, why it is important, and what options do we have as vegans.
Protein is one of the body’s building blocks.
Alongside carbohydrates and fat, protein is one of the primary macronutrients that give us most of our energy. Almost every cell in our body is made up of protein, and it is important in our diet because it is essential in almost every cellular activity from cell creation to how our immune system responds to microbes. Moreover, our body uses protein in building body tissues and strengthening our bones.
Our daily dose of protein differs based on the total energy we use. The more active your lifestyle is, the more protein your body needs. Factors like health condition, body weight, age, and sex also play a role in determining how much protein we need in our diet. On average, the recommended amount of protein for a regular adult is .75 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day. This means that an adult weighing 50 kg needs 37.5 grams of protein daily. Taking note of this helps us achieve the right amount of protein we should consume.
Where can we get vegan protein?
As vegans, it is necessary that we get the significant amount of daily protein our body needs. There are a lot of protein sources for plant-based ingredients. The key to getting the right amount of protein without diminishing the flavor is to mix various vegetables with grains, beans, and other protein sources. It is also important to avoid eating highly processed meat substitutes as they may offer little to no health benefits.
There are many versatile sources of protein that are plant-based. One good example is tofu, which is widely used as a meat substitute. Tofu is derived from soy beans and can be cooked in different ways. It can be mixed with different vegetables, baked, and even added in vegan soups.
Another versatile plant-based food packed with protein is quinoa. A hundred grams of this edible seed contain almost 4 grams of protein. We can enjoy quinoa as a substitute for rice or as a supplement to salad or pasta. Chickpea is another edible seed, which can be creamed to make hummus or fried to make falafel. We can get 7 grams of protein per 100 grams of chickpeas.
The bottom line is that getting protein from vegan sources is not that complicated at all. There are plenty of healthy, unprocessed vegan options to choose from. Ensuring that you get the proper amount of protein is just part of the journey to getting a well-balanced vegan diet.