Protein is very important in our diet... and you can most definitely receive PLENTY of it with a vegan diet. In all seriousness, protein is NOT something you need to worry about. Soooo many vegan foods are high in protein and everything contains it! If you ate a normal, healthy vegan diet, you would easily consume enough protein.
The thing to remember is: Eat a wide range of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, seeds, nuts and wholefoods. The more the merrier. Eat them in as many combinations as you can. This will improve your body's ability to absorb all of their planty planty crazy goodness. Once you do this, you will be fine. Is it that easy!
The National Institute of Medicine states that "Proteins are the building blocks of life. The body needs protein to repair and maintain itself. The basic structure of protein is a chain of amino acids". You need protein to repair cells and make up major body parts such as skin, hair, glands and builds and repairs muscles. The Institute of Medicine states that only one calorie out of ten needs to be consumed by protein. But this would obviously depend on your exercise routine and personal traits.
I always receive emails asking about the best sources of protein when undertaking a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. So here is a quick/approximate guide to show you the amount of protein in plant foods. I never ever ever worry about my protein intake. It is so so easy to get from a vegan lifestyle.
The following sources of protein have approximate measurements.
Vegetables & Fruits:
- 1 cup broccoli = 8g protein
- 1 average-sized avocado = 4g protein
- 1 cup cooked sweet potato = 4g protein
- 1 cup peas = 8g protein
- 1 cup asparagus = 4g protein
- 1 cup cooked spinach - 5g protein
- 1 cup cooked brussel sprouts = 5g protein
- 1 cup dried apricots = 6g protein
- 1 cup dried raisins = 5g protein
Beans & Legumes:
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas = 12g of protein
- 1 cup cooked lentils = 18g protein
- 1 cup kidney beans = 12g protein
- 1 cup cooked pint beans = 12g protein
- 1 cup cooked split peas = 16g protein
Nuts & Seeds:
- 1 cup cashews = 20g protein
- 1 cup pine nuts = 19g protein
- 1 cup sunflower seeds = 24g protein
- 1 cup almonds = 32g protein
- 1 tablespoon hemp seeds = 6g protein
- 1 tablespoon flax seeds = 5g protein
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa = 8g protein
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter = 4g protein
- 1 cup soy milk = 8g protein
- 100g firm tofu = 17g protein
- 100g tempeh = 19g protein
As a a vegan or vegetarian person, I am frequently asked where I get my protein from as most people aren't informed of protein sources other than meat and animal products. I have gained the following information by researching in the supermarket using the nutritional index tables on product packaging. The list below is an approximate gram-to-gram comparison of meat-based protein to plant-based protein. (Yes, I probably did look like a crazy cat-lady in the supermarket)
- 100g eye of round beef steak = 100g tempeh
- 100g prawns = 100g firm tofu
- 100g canned tuna = 100g firm tofu
- 100g chicken breast = 100g cooked soybeans
- 1 cup whole dairy milk = 1 cup soy milk