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Do vegans get enough protein?

It’s a widely-held belief that vegans don’t get enough protein in their diet. In fact, it’s so common that it’s one of the most-asked questions about veganism, and easily one of the biggest concerns people have when they’re considering going vegan.

It might surprise you to learn that vegans can very easily get their recommended protein intake through the day. Protein deficiencies are actually pretty rare; the average recommended protein intake for most healthy adults is 42 grams a day, but most people (vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters alike) get almost double that amount. The biggest concern for most people is maintaining a healthy body composition, your fat-to-muscle ratio.

As a vegan, it’s not hard to get the protein you need! It’s possible (and totally acceptable) to get your proteins from plant-based foods. It’s remarkably easy to get complete proteins in your diet without having to go anywhere near animal products. By mixing and pairing your foods, you can ensure you’re meeting your protein needs with no trouble.

That being said, there are other dietary concerns to watch out for. For instance, as a vegan, you’ll never be able to stick to a low-carb diet. If your primary focus is whole foods (vegan or not) consumed in balanced proportions, you’ll see some extremely positive changes to your body composition and overall health.

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If you’d like more information on how approach a vegan or plant-based diet, take a look at our article How to Get Started With Your Vegan Diet

 

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Do vegans get enough protein? Actually, yes! The issue isn’t so much “enough” protein as it is “the right protein.” The main disadvantage facing vegans is getting complete proteins, which are easily found in animal products but need a bit of mix-and-match work. By pairing plant-based proteins, you can easily get the complete proteins your body needs, and enjoy extremely positive changes to your health and body composition.

Here are 5 ways to complete your plant proteins!

1 – Brown Rice and Black Beans

The dynamic duo of brown rice and black beans is pretty hard to beat, taste-wise. Both are a great source of plant-based protein and together serve as a complete protein source. These staples are incredibly common in Mexican, Cajun, and Tex-Mex cuisine, and for good reason: they’re delicious together! Try seasoning with garlic, cayenne pepper, cilantro, or a vegetable broth for added flavor. Toss in some onion and red bell peppers for added flavor!

2 – Legumes, Nuts, and Seeds

We’re cheating a bit here—most nuts and seeds are legumes, after all! Still, it helps to differentiate these things a bit. For instance, you’d typically classify peas and beans as legumes, even as both offer a ton of variety in flavor, texture, and appearance. Consider creating a bean salad, incorporating black beans, fava beans, chickpeas, and some tasty herbs and toppings to make the most of these guys. Peanuts, soy nuts, and their cousins are also great as salad toppings for added crunch. You could also toss a few chia seeds in with your fruit and yogurt for a bit more protein in the morning. Plus, quinoa is a seed, which leads us to…

3 – Quinoa and Mixed Veggies

Quinoa is a versatile seed that’s high in protein, fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, and a wealth of antioxidants. Pairing it with some mixed veggies is a great way to complete your protein, and because of how easily quinoa adapts to different styles and flavors, you’ve got tons of flexibility. For example, try a delicious pepper medley with onion, tossing in some Italian herbs and spices. Alternatively, go with kale and red pepper with some cayenne pepper, cumin, paprika, and Mexican oregano for delicious Mexican flavors.

4 – Chickpeas, Corn, and Zoodles

This is a great combination of foods to get a complete protein from plant sources. Plus, zoodles help give you that full feeling, satisfying your appetite without the need for any animal-based foods. This trio of vegan-friendly foods gives you a wealth of manganese and vitamin A alongside a complete protein source. Manganese helps keep your bones and connective tissues healthy, while vitamin A supports your immune system and helps keep your organs functioning properly.

5 – Barley and Lentil Soup

Barley and lentils soups are an age-old, time-test source of balanced protein intake. Combining these legumes and grains is a fantastic way for vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores to get a complete protein, all with a healthy dose of fiber and folate. Seriously, we can’t stress this enough: this is a classic pairing that offers great protein with all the amino acids your body needs, all with the many health benefits of fiber and folate.


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