2019. Copyright by Miguel Caçador Yiallourides
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Vegan Protein 1-0-1

Everything you need to know about protein on a plant-based lifestyle is right here


"Oh you're vegan? So where do you get your protein from?"


Statistically speaking, this is the #1 question all vegans get on a daily basis and not only. When people turn to veganism this question comes up lots of times for some reason...


That reason is the enormous focus on protein that the health & fitness industry has been putting over the past decades. Making people think they need to consume huge amounts of protein whereas actually:


"most American adults eat about 100 grams of protein per day, or roughly twice the recommended amount."

Athletes on the other hand or people that exercise on a regular basis will require more protein than the average Joe.


To make this as clear as possible let's divide it into a few main points:


1. How Much Protein is Enough?


2. Can You Get Enough Protein as a Vegan?


3. What Are Some of the Best Sources?


4. Animal Protein vs Plant Protein





1. How Much Protein is Enough?


The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound.


I even go a step further and recommend 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.45 grams per pound. So for a 50kg/ 110lbs person that would equal to 50g of protein.


You can already get half of that (25g) that by eating 1 cup of oats together with a cup of soy milk, a banana and a tbsp of peanut butter in the morning.


Easy, peasy.


For anyone exercising you might want to bump it up to 1.2 - 1.5 grams per kilogram or 0.54 - 0.68 grams per pound of body weight.


If you're on a fat-loss journey it's easier to lose muscle mass if you just do cardio, while neglecting resistance training and eating in a big caloric deficit. My recommendation to my clients or just anyone losing weight is to keep resistance training at least 3 times a week and slightly increase their protein intake to maintain their current muscle mass.


So, that would be max 1.8 grams per kilogram or 0.82 grams per pound of body weight.



2. Can You Get Enough Protein as a Vegan?


The quick answer is hell yes! Getting enough protein to maintain and build muscle is possible on a plant-based diet. But most beginner vegans can easily under-eat because of the difference in portion sizes.


You see, when you go plant-based you immediately will be consuming more low-calorie dense foods like beans and vegetables. Which means you need to eat more food in terms of quantity to get the same amount of calories in.


More food, same calories? Sign me up!


Vegan portion size
Meat & Dairy portion size





To ensure you are consuming enough protein, as per the numbers we discussed before make sure you eat from all 6 food groups:


- Legumes (beans, chickpeas, peas, lentils, tofu, tempeh)

- Wholegrains (quinoa, rice, barley, pasta, oats, millet, buckwheat)

- Fruit (bananas, melons, apples, berries, dates, mangoes, avocadoes)

- Veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, onions, cucumbers, bell peppers, asparagus)

- Nuts (peanuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, nut butters)

- Seeds (hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, tahini etc)


Getting lots of fiber for humans is a good thing but since most of us aren't getting enough, we have to gradually increase the fiber in our diets to avoid bloating and gases. Nobody wants that.


To ensure you're getting enough fiber start slow with 5-7 grams per 1,000 calories and slowly increase to 10-12 grams per 1,000 calories.


Pro tip: start by including some low-fiber high protein options to start with and gradually add more beans and vegetables, wholegrains etc into your diet.


Low-fiber high protein options:

- Tofu

- Tempeh

- Seitan

- Nutritional yeast

- Bean or Lentil pasta

- Mock meats (soy, pea or wheat based)

- Spirulina

- Peanut butter

- Hemp seeds



3. What Are Some of the Best Sources?


This graph shows you some of the best protein sources, together with their protein content per 100g.


Now that you've got the numbers go make it happen!


Also, contrary to common belief all plants contain a complete amino-acid profile even in small quantities.


Go ahead and type any plant food you want in this app - Cronometer - and see for yourself.




4. Animal Protein vs Plant Protein


Animal protein aka fish, chicken, pig, cow, eggs and dairy have been a staple protein source for most athletes and anyone exercising for as long as any of us can remember.


It's not until a few years back when athletes started experimenting by going vegan and only consuming plant-based foods.


Even though animal-based protein has the notion of being a superior source of protein, the negative side effects that come with regularly consuming these foods outweigh any positive ones.



If you haven't watched the recent documentary "The Game Changers" I urge you to give it a watch this weekend. It's definitely an eye opener for anyone who's training and it will change the way you conceive plant protein!



For vegan meal plans, transitioning to plantbased or workout plans contact thevgcoach@gmail.com

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