Often the concern for people who think about transitioning to more plant-based eating is where am I going to get protein, calcium, calories, etc. These are COMPLETELY VALID concerns, because we learn as kids, teens, and adults that we have to have these things to look and feel our very best. What they don’t tell you, is those things are just as accessible on a plant-based diet as they are as a carnivore, especially protein.
Since plant-based and vegan nutrition is a new and emerging concept to the American public, resources for understanding a nutritional breakdown are numerous, you just have to hunt them down! Like this one!
Let’s take this meal for example:
I don’t count calories, but can you believe that this meal has 18.8 grams of protein?! To put that in perspective, I weigh 115 pounds and how you breakdown how much protein you need you take 0.36 multiplied by how many pounds you weigh and that’s how many grams of protein you need per day.
EX: 115 pounds x 0.36 = 41.4 grams of protein per day
Just this one meal accounted for 45% of my daily need of protein, without eating any animal products. My lunch was protein heavy as well with cooked lentils, rice, sweet potato and sautéed mushrooms, which packed 25.5 grams of protein. Just between my lunch and dinner, I was over my grams of protein for the day!
I encourage do you A TON of your own research before switching to this lifestyle so that you’re well informed of both sides of the coin. I’d even check out one of these books on how to transition to a plant-based lifestyle.
Protein is so so so important to your body functions and it shouldn’t be neglected. It is a totally legitimate concern for someone transitioning from an animal-based diet. There are plenty of places to get enough protein for normal body functions being vegan.
Here’s a list of protein-rich plant-based foods to integrate into your diet, whether you’re vegan or not:
- Veggies– amount of protein in a cup of the following: peas 8g, kale 2.9g, broccoli 2.4g, Brussel sprouts 3g, etc.
- Hemp – on average about 12 grams of protein per 30 grams powder
- Non-Dairy Milk – soy milk has 7g of protein per cup to rival cow’s milk at 8g. However if you’re an almond milk drinker, that only has 2g of protein
- Nut Butters – one tablespoon of almond butter has 3.4 grams of protein
- Quinoa – did you know quinoa is actually a seed?! And it packs 8g of protein per cup, with all the essential amino acids
- Tofu – per 1/2 cup you can expect 10g of protein from tofu
- Lentils – one cup of lentils carries about 18g of protein, my favorite is to pair it with rice for a filling and healthy lunch
- Beans – per 1/2 cup, black beans offer 19.5 grams of protein, this is another good one to pair with rice for a filling and healthy staple
- Tempeh – this is a plant based body builder favorite because it has 31g of protein PER CUP!! For little ole’ me that is only about 10g shy of my entire daily intake
- Sprouted-grain bread – this bread (yeah, bread as in carbs as in EAT THE BREAD) has 4 grams of protein per slice with all 9 essential amino acids your body needs
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