Ask a Nutritionist: Solving the Vegan Diet Protein Puzzle

May 27, 2015
by Elissa Goodman for Thrive Market
Ask a Nutritionist: Solving the Vegan Diet Protein Puzzle

I'm trying to eat a plant-based diet, but sometimes find I'm low on energy. I know I need protein, but without meat and dairy products, I'm not sure how to get enough!

A lot of new vegans (and even vegetarians) have this worry, but the truth is, meeting your protein needs is easier than you probably think. The best place to start? Seeds and beans.

The CDC recommends 46 grams of protein for women daily (56 for men), which is really easy to achieve if you get creative with beans and seeds. When I feel like a snack, I often eat a cup of organic edamame beans, which give me a whopping 20 grams of protein. If I make lentil soup for lunch, one cup of lentils will provide an additional 18 grams. That's already 38 grams of protein by lunchtime! Once you make a spinach salad with sunflower and chia seeds scattered on top, you've already met your recommended daily intake. But don't get stuck in a rut—there's a whole world of  seeds and beans that you can make into soups and add to vegetable bowls—some of my favorites are black beans, garbanzo beans, and kidney beans. With plants this powerful, who needs dairy?

Photo credit: Paul Delmont

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This article is related to: Diet, Food, Health, Nutrition, Vegan, Vegetarian, Tips

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3 thoughts on “Ask a Nutritionist: Solving the Vegan Diet Protein Puzzle”

  • Thisisn'tmyname
    Thisisn'tmyname May 27, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    I was under the impression that most vegan sources of protein were incomplete proteins, requiring two specific types of proteins to be eaten during the same day to create a complete protein (for example, a legume such as peanuts with a grain such as rice).

    • kim

      Hello just wanted everyone to know I went raw vegan and litterly ate wheatgrass shots twice a day, drank sprouts in juices, ate sprouted beans with salad and sprouts, also included nut milks and nuts ever day with some healthy fats and avocados. Guess what I was skinny and looked tiny with little muscle tone, also had a nutrient test from Genova called the Ion Profile a big test that checks everything but guess what deficiencies showed up everywhere even with awesome healthy supplements. The next thing I did wa go Paleo and guess what I had a repeat test and all my body nutrients are by far way better. Healthy meat protein was the key and now I am finally feeling better after years of struggling with Rheumatoid arthritis and now I am back off of meds after being bedridden and in excruciating pain due to my Rheumatoid and eatingand juicing Raw Vegan, Brian Clement is not always right. You need the proper nutrients to feed your body to be strong and able to detox, I was able to do this as a raw Vegan. Warning night shades, nuts, and red meat were giving me trouble since I haven't eaten them I am feeling a lot better. Absolutely no grains or legumes like they were saying to eat some with raw vegan.

    • Oneness 1

      The most recent studies have shown this to be a fallacy. As long as you are eating variety, they now say you will get all of the amino acids you need....and no longer need to worry about combining. Some people do well on vegan diets and some don't.I guess you have to do what works best for your particular body...and beliefs.

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