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Vegan Sources of Protein

Updated on October 8, 2014

Can Vegans Get Enough Protein?

The answer is YES! I have been a vegan for many years. I can tell you that there are good sources of plant based protein. You can be healthy as a vegan as long as you eat a variety of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seed. In this lens, I will discuss what protein is and give specific options for plant based protein. It is actually easier than most people think to get enough protein on a vegan diet. I hope you enjoy the articles and enjoy eating healthy food.

Healthy Quotes

“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.”

~Thomas Edison

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

~Hippocrates

Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.

~ Albert Einstein

Essential Amino Acids and Complete Proteins

If you are looking for good sources of protein for your vegan diet, look no further. I am going to give you my picks for good plant-based protein sources. Before we go over plant-based sources of protein, we should go over proteins in general first. It is important to understand that protein is composed of building blocks called amino acids. The human body can manufacture some amino acids in the body. Essential amino acids cannot be produced in the body and can only be obtained by consuming some foods. There are nine essential amino acids. You can find out more about essential amino acids at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_amino_acid. A complete protein is one that contains adequate amounts of all nine essential amino acids. The nine essential amino acids are:

1. Tryptophan

2. Threonine

3. Isoleucine

4. Leucine

5. Lysine

6. Methionine+Cystine

7. Phenylalanine+Tyrosine

8. Valine

9. Histidine

Sources of Complete Protein

You can get enough protein on a vegan diet if you eat the following regularly:

1. Beans and Rice - Combined, they are a source of complete protein. Mix with your favorite vegetables for a great meal.

2. Quinoa - Source of complete protein, prepared like rice. Has a great nutty flavor.

3. Buckwheat - Another source of complete protein. You can make buckwheat pancakes, or buckwheat cereal.

4. Nuts and seeds - A source of complete protein. This is a great snack on the go. Mix and match.

5. Soybeans - whole soybeans are a great complete protein source. Be creative and enjoy.

6. Amaranth - Another great source of complete protein. It is an ancient grain that is prepared similar to rice, although the consistency is different. It can be mixed in soups and salads. Variety is the spice of life.

These are my favorite sources. Also note that these are all gluten free. Please share your favorite sources with us in the comments section. Bon Appetit!

Pocono Organic Cream of Buckwheat Cereal (3x13 oz.)
Pocono Organic Cream of Buckwheat Cereal (3x13 oz.)

Buckwheat is gluten-free and is a complete protein.

 
Ancient Harvest Organic Quinoa, Traditional, 12 Ounce (Pack of 12)
Ancient Harvest Organic Quinoa, Traditional, 12 Ounce (Pack of 12)

Great source of complete protein. Cooks like rice.

 

Good Sources of Incomplete Protein

Incomplete sources of protein are still important and valuable to maintain a healthy diet. They also tend to provide other benefits like fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals to name a few. Here are some of my favorites.

1. Broccoli - Yes, broccoli is not only a good source of fiber, but also a source of protein, although not quite a complete protein by itself. You can eat this with sources above to maximize your essential amino acids.

2. Cauliflower - Another good source of fiber and protein. Mix and match vegetables with grains to get a good mix of amino acids.

3. Oatmeal - Another reason to eat your favorite breakfast cereal.

4. Whole Grains - Whole Grains like wheat, barley, rye, and brown rice. Why not make a hearty loaf of whole grain bread.

5. Spinach - Another good source of protein. It's also a good source of vitamins A, C and K. No wonder it makes you strong.

I'm getting hungry just thinking about all of this great food. This is by no means an exhaustive list of plant-based protein. I'd love to hear about your favorite sources of plant-based protein and recipes. Please add your comments or questions below. Happy eating.

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    • InnerVitality profile image
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      InnerVitality 2 years ago

      Hi PhoenixV, my thoughts and prayers go out to your brother, you and your family. Personally, I became vegan because of health issues and it has made a difference for me. The key is knowing good sources of protein and eating a variety of them frequently. I have found that blood sugar issues are related to eating a diet high in refined or processed carbohydrates and simple sugars.

    • PhoenixV profile image

      PhoenixV 2 years ago from USA

      My brother has recently been battling cancer and he has switched to a vegetarian diet. Apparently they have been monitoring his blood in regards to his treatment or health and surprisingly after cutting out meat from his diet he had a high amount of protein in his system. He does a lot a juicing and seems to be doing fine. I think he has mentioned quinoa as you noted in your article. I think a lot of people, myself included as well as people with blood sugar problems, believe that you have to worry about getting enough protein with a vegetarian diet, but that does not seem to be an issue. Great article, well done.