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Vegans: The TRUTH About Combining Grains And Beans

Updated on February 20, 2018
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Miriam has been a freelance writer since 2013. Born in Whittier, CA, she now lives in Ontario (California) with her husband and family.

Beans and grains in this Aztec blend.
Beans and grains in this Aztec blend. | Source

Vegan Protein: No More Food Combining!

For years Vegetarians were told that they need to eat eggs and dairy products to get enough protein. Many Vegetarians include eggs and dairy products in their diet so they can avoid protein deficiency, and Vitamin B-12 deficiency.

After awhile some Vegetarians decide to give up all animal products and become Vegan, or "pure Vegetarian". They had to search for books at the library (no Internet back then) to find out about combining grains and legumes to get complete protein. You would think all this reading would discourage many people from becoming Vegan, but the serious Vegan plods on.

"Laurel's Kitchen" by Laurel Robertson stands out as my favorite Vegan cookbook. Ms. Robertson details Vegan living with her interesting writing style, and includes some delicious recipes using complementary proteins -- as the "experts" were saying.

I will try to explain what that means in simple English. The human body can produce most amino acids (the building blocks of protein), but there are 9 essential amino acids that the body must get from food. Grains produce some, and beans produce the amino acids that grains lack; thus, they complement each other because together they are complete protein. Using this line of thinking, combining grains with legumes became the norm for Vegans, and an untold number of books have been written about this.

Two days ago I ran across the following website:

This article explains that Vegans do not have to combine foods to get their protein Click to Tweet a myth or fallacy that many people wrote books about for several years.

I was originally going to write an article for Vegans about combining grains and beans for their protein needs. But after finding this out, I had to rewrite my article so I can help inform Vegans and other Vegetarians. They need to know that this information is not valid; as long as Vegans are eating a variety of vegetable foods within 24 hours their protein needs are met.

This lens is for those who may be thinking of giving up all animal products and becoming Vegan. I have included suggestions for Vegan main dishes to give you an idea of how simple it is to eat well without eating animals or animal by-products.

(Images from:

and: webmd/consumer_assets/site_images/articles/health_tools/vegetarian_diet_slideshow/corbis_rm_photo_of_avocado_bean_rice_bowl.jpg)

Much More Than Peanut Butter Sandwiches - Easy Vegan Entrees

Peanut butter on whole wheat bread
Peanut butter on whole wheat bread

When I was Vegetarian, I relied on eggs and dairy products to get my protein.

As I became more aware of animal abuse in our 'meat factories' I changed to a Vegan diet.

So, what do you do when you decide to omit ALL animal products? At first, I was eating a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, lots of plain bean burritos. After awhile, the serious Vegan finds out about soy products, and tofu.

Tofu is an interesting and ancient food product made out of cooked, strained soybeans -- one of the five plant sources that is complete protein on its own. Back to tofu. I never really got used to tofu in its watery, original container. Instead, I squeezed all the liquid out of it, seasoned it with salt, garlic, onion, and pepper, and it made a delicious pseudo-egg sandwich! My mom and I tried it together. She was always ready to try my Vegetarian dishes, no matter how different they might seem.

Many ethnic foods, such as Mexican food, Italian food, and so forth, are naturally based on simple food combinations, such as rice and beans or noodles and peas, and many others.

Vegans, remember to eat a variety of healthy whole foods throughout the day to get adequate protein. There is no need to combine foods to get complete protein, as nutritionists used to think. Almost all vegetables contain some protein, so there is no reason to worry about running into protein deficiency. Vegans should still take a Vitamin B-12 supplement occasionally because Vitamin B-12 is not found in any plant sources, so you can become deficient in this vitamin.

Here are some sample Vegan entrees:

1. Soy milk + cereal

2. Spanish rice + pinto beans

3. Black beans + white rice

4. Noodles + sweet peas

5. Bean soup + whole wheat crackers

6. Split pea soup + crackers

7. Rice + peas + corn

8. Lentils + corn/flour tortillas

9. Green beans + slivered almonds

10.Tofu + grains/beans/vegetables

11. Whole wheat + peanut butter (I had to list it!)

12. Whole grain pasta + Textured Vegetable Protein (soy product)

#1 Bestseller!

Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook
Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook
Get this #1 Bestseller by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Romero, “Veganomicon.” This book contains over 250 delicious Vegan recipes with beautiful color photos! Menus and meals for any event are also included to make Vegan eating simpler than ever. Every recipe in “Veganomicon” has been kitchen tested, so they are easy to follow and taste great. Some recipes are soy-free, gluten-free, and low-fat, and there are also quick recipes for those days when you just don’t have time. Vegetables never tasted so good! Some recipes included in this book *Chile-Cornmeal Crusted Tofu Po’ Boy *Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti *Pumpkin Crumb Cake with Pecan Streusel and more!

Vegan Recipe Videos - Here are some great You Tube videos to get you started

Whether you are a new Vegan - and even if you are not Vegetarian - please watch these videos and try one of these recipes out.

I selected videos that are brief (because I hate watching time-consuming videos) and have been seen by lots of people. Please take a moment to watch one that appeals to you. There are some that are for a Vegan main dish, some that are for smoothies, and others.

Please watch them, Like them, and then feel free to sign your name in the Guestbook section near the bottom of the lens. Leave a comment or suggestion and let us know what you liked or did not like about this article.

Thank you!

Recommended Vegan Cookbook

The Great Vegan Protein Book: Fill Up the Healthy Way with More than 100 Delicious Protein-Based Vegan Recipes - Includes - Beans & Lentils - Plants - Tofu & Tempeh - Nuts - Quinoa (Great Vegan Book)
The Great Vegan Protein Book: Fill Up the Healthy Way with More than 100 Delicious Protein-Based Vegan Recipes - Includes - Beans & Lentils - Plants - Tofu & Tempeh - Nuts - Quinoa (Great Vegan Book)
The Great Vegan PROTEIN Book by Celine Steen & Tamasin Noyes has 5 Stars! People always wonder how you Vegans get enough protein. Well, Vegans get protein from grains, beans, tofu, and many other vegetables also contain a small amount of protein. “The Great Vegan PROTEIN book” explains where to get your protein foods, how to prepare them, and what to prepare with them. This step-by-step book guides you through vegan protein-rich foods in more than one hundred simple but tasty recipes that you will want to make again and again. All recipes are made from regular whole food ingredients you can buy at any grocery store.

Delicious Vegan sushi roll. You have to try it!

There's nothing like lentil soup to remind you of your Mama. <3

Here's a delicious Vegan recipe -- cook it all in one pot!

Shows you how to make a yummy Vegan breakfast.

This guy is good! Watch as he shows you how to make a Vegan omelet.

Make Vegan pizza!

Vegan spaghetti! Need I say more?!

Learn to make a healthy smoothie!

A recipe for a smoothie that is good for your skin.

The Vegan Zombie's version of Fettucine Alfredo. Try it!

© 2014 Miriam Parker

Guestbook Comments - PLEASE SIGN IN

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    • miriamyentraccm profile imageAUTHOR

      Miriam Parker 

      6 years ago from Ontario, CA. 91761

      Two of my kids, ages 22 and 24, are vegetarian. I will look into vegan sources of B-12 and let you know what I find.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      6 years ago from USA

      Can't do Tofu, I've tried. Glad for those who can. Stopped taking Spring Valley vitamins after doing research the B12 has cyanide in it to hold it together. Hard on the kidneys &amp; liver to process it. Switched to vitiamins like Nature's Bounty with Methylcobalamin quick dissolve. If you find something else please let me know. Appreciate it.

    • miriamyentraccm profile imageAUTHOR

      Miriam Parker 

      6 years ago from Ontario, CA. 91761

      @bpratt lm: Hi! I'm glad this was helpful! I tried the raw diet before, but it made me too gassy and uncomfortable Hey, have you read my lens "Beansprouts: Grow Your Own!"? It's perfect for raw foodists.

    • bpratt lm profile image

      bpratt lm 

      6 years ago

      This is great for people interested in starting a vegan diet. I have been vegan for several years an you gave info I didn't even know about :) I do try to avoid soy products, but I get enough protein through fruits and veggies. I am 90% raw so it helps a bunch!


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