Transitioning to a plant-based diet can do wonders for your health. Still, a crucial part of transitioning to being vegan or vegetarian is ensuring that you continue to have the same variety of macro and micronutrients as you did when consuming meat. Despite the many drawbacks of a diet that includes animal products, some nutrients are more easily found in animal products. The most common nutrient that people new to a plant-based diet have difficulty finding is protein. With a little research, you’ll find that it’s much easier than people say it is to enjoy a balanced diet with no animal products. Read on for four of our favorite ways to get protein while living animal product-free!
1.) Soy protein (Tempeh and tofu)
It’s a great idea to look towards people who have been maintaining plant-based diets for centuries when looking for ways to live well on a vegan diet. Abstaining from animal products is an essential tenet of Buddhism for many people, so regions of the world where Buddhism is popular have developed entire cuisines that provide all the nutrients needed without animal products. Soy products like tofu and tempeh are excellent sources of protein that originate in East and Southeast Asia. Soy is called a “whole source” of protein, meaning that it includes all the amino acids that your body needs. Tofu and tempeh are also great for cooking and customizing to your tastes because they can take on any flavor you want them to!
Want to try making your own tofu at home? Check out our DIY Tofu Guide on our blog section for an easy to follow recipe on this nutritious protein source.
Another great source of protein for vegans is seitan. Seitan is another product that has origins with vegetarians in East and Southeast Asia. Seitan is made from the protein found in wheat gluten and contains 25 grams of protein per 100 grams. Unfortunately, because it’s made from wheat, those with celiac disease or eating gluten-free shouldn’t have seitan.
Many plants and legumes are good sources of protein even without the processing needed to produce tofu, tempeh, and seitan. One of our favorite ways to get protein from plants is through beans and nearly any kind of bean! Kidney, black, pinto and even chickpeas have almost 15 grams of protein per cup of cooked beans. They’re also full of complex carbohydrates and nutrients like fiber, potassium, iron, and folate, so they’ll work double duty in your vegan or plant-based diet!
4.) Nutritional Yeast
Our last recommendation for vegan protein is nutritional yeast. This yellow powder is not only a flavor bomb but a protein bomb as well! Plant-powered eaters have enjoyed nutritional yeast in several ways, but one of the most common ways is as a replacement for cheese. With 14 grams of protein per ounce, nutritional yeast is a great way to add flavor and nutrition to any dish.
Protein is one of the most essential nutrients needed for muscle building so hopefully with these tips you can continue to see gains at the gym while being plant-powered!
Not sure where to start? Check out our plant-based recipe section for even more delicious meal recipe ideas to try!