One of the most frequently asked questions by carnivores is: “Where do you get your protein from?”
Well, there are 3 things you should consider when asking (or answering) that question:
- Have you ever stumbled upon someone who actually had a protein deficiency? Is there such thing? No.
- Have you ever thought about where the animals we eat (cows, chickens, pigs, etc) actually get their protein from? That’s right, they get it from the foods they eat – greens and grains.
- The world’s most strongest animals are plant eaters – gorillas, horses, buffaloes, elephants… Do you think they worry about their protein intake?
My short answer is: on a healthy and well-balanced whole-foods plant-based diet you automatically get enough protein.
The World Health Organization recommends to eat 0.83 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. But, everyone is different, so keep in mind that someone who is very active and constantly working out will need more protein to recover and build muscle.
- 50 kg of body weight = 42g protein a day
- 60 kg of body weight = 50g protein a day
- 70 kg of body weight = 58g protein a day
- 80 kg of body weight = 66g protein a day
Great sources of vegan protein are foods like beans, nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, greens, tofu, tempeh, nutritional yeast and vegan protein powder.
Legumes (per 200g serving size)
- Lentils: 20 grams
- Black beans: 18 grams
- Edamame: 17 grams
- Baked beans: 15.2 grams
- Chickpeas: 15 grams
- Green peas: 10 grams
Grains (per 75g serving size)
- Oats: 9.8 grams
- Couscous: 9.4 grams
- Spelt: 9.2 grams
- Wholemeal pasta: 9.0 grams
- Ezekiel sprouted bread: 8.2 grams
- Buckwheat: 7.8 grams
- Bulgur: 7.1 grams
- Brown rice: 5.6 grams
- Quinoa: 3.3 grams
Vegetables (per 200 grams serving size)
- Kale: 8.6 grams
- Brussel sprouts: 7.6 grams
- Broccoli: 6.6 grams
- Cabbage: 6 grams
- Spinach: 5 grams
- Beetroot: 4 grams
- Leek: 3.6 grams
- Eggplant: 2.4 grams
- Bean shoots (per 50 g serving): 3.5 grams
- Avocado (1/2 serving): 2.1 grams
- Butternut pumpkin: 2.0 grams
- Sweet potato (1 medium): 1.6 grams
Meat substitutes (per 150g serving size):
- Seitan (wheat gluten): 33.1 grams
- Nattō (Japanese-style fermented soybean): 27 grams
- Tempeh (Indonesian-style fermented soybean): 18 grams
- Tofu: 18 grams
- Silken tofu: 7.2 grams
Unsalted nuts (per handful approx. 30g serving size):
- Peanuts: 7.8 grams
- Almonds: 5.8 grams
- Pistachios: 5.8 grams
- Cashews: 5.5 grams
Seeds (per 2 tbsp approx. 20g serving size):
- Hemp seeds: 6.2 grams
- Sunflower seeds: 5.4 grams
- Pumpkin seeds: 4.9 grams
- Sesame seeds: 4.2 grams
- Flax seeds: 4 grams
- Chia seeds: 3.4 grams
Nut butters (per tablespoon):
- Peanut butter: 3.9 grams
- Almond butter: 3.4 grams
- Tahini: 3.4 grams
- Nutritional yeast / savory yeast flakes (2 tbsp): 8 grams
- Chlorella (1 tbsp): 5.3 grams
- Spirulina (1 tbsp): 4 grams
The serving sizes are recommended servings sizes for adults. The actual serving size varies depending on your activity, length etc.
Need an example?
Let’s look at a woman weighing average of 60 kg eating foods like my Day on a Plate will hit her recommended daily intake of 50g protein, even without snacks. How do you ask?
- Breakfast: overnight oats with almonds, hemp seeds and fruit = 18g protein
- Snack: 2 thin cakes with peanut butter = 8g protein
- Lunch: lunch bowl with grains, greens, tofu or tempeh and topped with seeds = 21g protein
- Snack: carrots with hummus = 4g
- Dinner: three-bean chili = 11g
- Snack: dark chocolate = 2g
- TOTAL = 64g (without snacks = 50g)
With a vegan protein shake (average of 20g of protein) and some extra protein here and there (like nutritional yeast sprinkled over pasta, chia seeds added to a smoothie) you can even hit above 100 grams of protein a day. That being said, I only want to hit that extra amount on days that I am exercising. On other days, my body simply doesn’t need that extra protein.
Still not convinced? Then watch this video:
If you want to know more, just comment below. I am not a nutritionist or dietitian, so for specific questions about your daily intake or other advice you really need to seek a professional opinion. I can just give you some tips and reassurance here!