For those of us following a vegan lifestyle, optimizing adequate protein is not difficult,
but it does take conscious planning and consideration.
First of all, how much protein do we really need per day?
The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight,
or 0.36 grams per pound.
This amounts to:
56 grams per day for the average sedentary man.
46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman.
Now a little information about amino acids…
Amino acids are the organic compounds that join together to form a complete protein.
There are 20 different types of amino acids.
The sequence of these amino acids determines the specific function of a protein.
There are nine essential amino acids that our bodies do not make or produce at a slow rate,
which requires them to be obtained through food.
When protein breaks down as we digest food, amino acids are the result.
Most plant proteins lack one or more essential amino acids, and therefore are incomplete
This does not mean a vegan lifestyle can’t be healthy and balanced–it just requires careful
thought and planning.
Simply eating a variety of plant-rich foods is key to optimizing protein in a vegan diet.
By consuming different types of plant-rich proteins, you can obtain different amino acids
–and varying amounts of protein–from each source.
The different plant proteins do not need to be consumed together as long as a whole day
of meals contains a variety of essential amino acids.
Knowing which plant-based foods provide you with significant amounts of protein is the
This makes shopping and healthy meal planning so much easier!
Beans, chia seeds, hemp seeds, lentils, nuts as well as tofu, tempeh, and quinoa are some of
my favorite protein sources and are always on my shopping lists.
Of course, there are other sources for plant-based protein, as well.
The valuable infographic below provides useful nutritional information about several key sources
for plant-based protein.
We hope you find this helpful!
How to Optimize Protein with a Vegan Diet
Are you including sufficient protein in your plant-based diet?
What are your favorite protein sources?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.