Ahhh protein. It’s the one question for vegans that won’t go away. While most people are starting to realize that protein doesn’t always equal meat, there are still folks out there who scoff at the idea that vegans can (and do!) get a sufficient amount of protein.
First, let’s define a complete protein- any food(s) that provide the 9 essential amino acids: Histine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan, and Valine.
But why do we need it?
Protein is responsible for the production of enzymes, hormones, and anti-bodies, muscle growth and maintenance, and can be used for energy when needed. So yes, protein is important.
One of the biggest misconceptions however, is that you need to eat a complete protein at every meal. Truth is, your body can collect amino acids over the course of the day, so you don’t have to eat “complete” at each meal (and btw, people these days are actually over-consuming on protein!). It’s like you have your own little Mario collecting coins to power up, or a PAC-man eating spooky ghosts. Score!
It is important though, that you incorporate a wide variety of *vegan* food, getting plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and nuts.
If you are still wanting to make sure that you get complete proteins, below is a list of vegan options.
Vegan Complete Proteins (and Combos!)
- Soy products such as Tofu, Tempeh, or Soybeans
- Hemp seed
- Hummus and Pitas
- Peanut Butter and Wheat Bread
- Rice and Beans
- Spirulina with Greens and/or Nuts
If you’re reaching for protein shakes, you can also get an amino acid profile on most vegan protein powders. For my very delicious chocolate protein shake (great for pregnant vegans!), click here!
And if you ever have any questions about vegans and protein, just ask Robert Cheeke.