A lot of people believe that not eating meat is not healthy because they will not be able to get the adequate amount of proteins they need to stay healthy. But these people are extremely wrong because they don’t understand that vegan foods are really rich in proteins. There are a lot of different vegan options that you can choose from if you want to stay healthy.
- 1 List of the best vegan proteins
- 2 Which sources of proteins are the best?
- 3 How much protein does a man need during a day?
- 4 Vegan proteins vs. Animal proteins
- 5 Famous vegan athletes
- 6 Best protein sources from cereals
- 7 Proteins from false or wrong grains
- 8 Proteins from pods
- 9 Proteins from legumes
- 10 Proteins from nuts and seeds
- 11 Soy proteins and proteins from soy products
- 12 Seitan from white gluten
- 13 Proteins in tubers, roots and vegetables
- 14 Proteins in fruits
- 15 Proteins from dried fruits
- 16 Proteins from vegan protein powders
List of the best vegan proteins
You can find a vegan source of proteins in different types of food. Here is a list of some of the best:
- Chia seeds
- Soy products
- Spirulina (microalgae)
- Khorasan wheat
- Full grain rice
- White beans
- Black beans
- Kidney beans
- Brown lenses and red lenses
- Chickpea flour
- Bean flour
- Lentil flour
- Peanut butter
- Macadamia nut
- Cashew nut
- Sunflower seeds
- Tahini or sesame paste
- Soy beans
- Mung beans
- Seitan from white gluten
- Green cabbage
- Sweet potatoes
- Manioc flour
- Cooked bananas
- Dried figs
- Dried dates
- Dried apricots
- Dried currants
- Dried plums
- Dried mulberries
- Dried goji berries
Which sources of proteins are the best?
Generally speaking vegan protein sources are really healthy and offer a unique variety for people who want to go vegan and still want to stay healthy. People can get proteins from animal or vegan sources in order to keep their bodies functioning properly. These proteins are used to help our muscles grow and heal. Without proteins your body will not be able to function properly and a protein deficiency can have a lot of negative side effects.
Being vegan doesn’t mean forgoing proteins altogether but it simply requires looking for new and vegan sources to find the daily recommendation of your protein intake. It is quite understandable that meat, chicken and milk are very rich in proteins but vegan people can find great and tasty options that can be used in several meals to get the protein they need every day.
How much protein does a man need during a day?
The amount of proteins needed per day depends on the activity level and the weight of the person. Consuming too many proteins is not healthy as it acts as a pressure on your kidneys. This is why you should be very careful about the amount of proteins you consume. The human body consists mainly of 60% water and 16 % proteins. This indicates the importance of protein intake in our bodies.
It is recommended to consume 0.8gm of proteins per each KG of the body weight in order to maintain the mass muscle. When you fail to do so, your body starts to burn the muscles and this can lead to fatigue and a lot of health problems. This basically the amount of proteins a person needs if they are not doing any kind of physical activity.
For people who practice sports the amount is a lot bigger. 1.8 to 2.2 gm. of proteins is recommended for people who practice sports in order to increase their mass muscles. You have to be careful though, when you take proteins and you don’t work out, they turn into fats that are further stored in your body so that you gain weight. If you are consuming a large amount of proteins then you have to be sure that you are using it properly. A runner will need about 1 to 1.6 gms of proteins every day in order to stay healthy. A body builder will need a bigger amount of proteins. An amount of 1.4 to 1.8 gms of proteins is recommended. The amount can increase a little bit more if you are working out vigorously but you must be careful not to exceed the maximum because it can lead to serious health problems.
Vegan proteins vs. Animal proteins
Many people used to believe that animal proteins are the best because they are very rich in amino acids. While this is true, vegan people can stay healthy by simply consuming vegan proteins. In fact, vegan proteins can have less of the drawbacks of animal based proteins. A lot of people and scientists believe that human bodies were not designed to eat animal proteins or at least to consume them in very little amounts. That is why, in communities that rely less on animal proteins we can see that a lot of modern diseases don’t even exist. A vegan diet has been proved to be healthy and to increase the body’s strength. We usually find that vegan people suffer from less health problems and are generally healthier than others who rely heavily on animal proteins in their diet plans.
Pros of animal proteins ?
- Animal proteins are easily absorbed by the human body unlike plant based proteins and legumes. Sometimes they are difficult to digest. The only exception would be people who suffer from lactose intolerance who have problems digesting milk proteins that can be found in milk and in other milk products.
- Meat, eggs and dairy products contain the 9 essential amino acids. These amino acids are essential for cells repair and build in the body. Without these amino acids the body will not be able to regenerate itself and stay healthy. Plant based proteins are not rich in these amino acids the same way. These amino acids can’t be produced by the body although they are very important for the body’s health. This is why they should be consumed through food. At the same time, some plant and vegan protein sources are rich in these complete proteins like Quinoa, Chia seeds, Soy products, Microalgae, Hemp and Buckwheat. Other grains, vegetables, legumes and nuts in addition to seeds are not rich in these important and essential 9 amino acids and this is why they should be supplemented with other proteins. To fix this problem, many vegans mix protein sources to make sure that the body is taking the right amount of the essential amino acids. You don’t have to combine these sources in one meal but they can be consumed throughout the day to make sure that your body is getting the right amount and the right mix of proteins.
Cons of animal proteins ?
- The amino acids found in protein sources contain more sulphur. This sulphur changes the environment in the body and causes it to be acidic. When the internal environment in the body is acidic, the body tends to compensate for it by consuming the calcium. This is why people who consume too much animal proteins, tend to have bone pain and joints pain. The acidic environment also leads to alt of dangerous health conditions but can be reversed by consuming alkaline foods like green vegetables. This enables the body to neutralize the acidity and to stay healthy.
- Animal proteins contain more fats and cholesterol than plant based proteins. This means that they represent a health risk for people who have problems with their livers or hearts. Fats and cholesterol tend to affect the cardiovascular system and can lead heart and other cardiovascular diseases. In order to stay healthy, people are recommended to consume little amount of animal proteins and to rely on plant based proteins. For vegans, this is actually the reason they hardly suffer from heart or liver diseases that are caused by having high level of cholesterol.
Pros of plant based proteins ?
- Plant based proteins contain less cholesterol and fats than animal proteins. This is why they are so much healthier for the body. Many athletes choose to consume plant based proteins because they are healthy and will not cause a lot of health problems. This also means that they can maintain weight loss and focus on building their muscles with consuming good vegan proteins sources.
- Vegetable protein sources usually contain more arginine than animal based proteins. Arginine is used in the synthesis of the protein in the body that is essential to build muscles and to help the body regenerate itself. Most of the time plant based proteins will contain 2 to 3 times the amount of arginine found in animal based proteins. Peas is one of the food sources that contains the largest amount of arginine, you can find 7 gms of arginine per 100 gms of peas. Arginine increases our strength, potency, stamina and endurance.
- As mentioned earlier most of the protein based sources don’t contain all the 9 essential amino acids that are needed to stay healthy. These amino acids have to be consumed in food as the body is unable to produce them. This is why we have to mix different types of protein based foods to get the recommended and essential amount of amino acids needed.
- Some other protein sources are very hard to be processed by the body. Many people who have problems with digestion will find that eating and consuming large amount of pod and legumes is not that easy. They will cause bloating and gas because they are not as easy to digest as animal based proteins, especially that ones that are found in lean meat.
The ethical question
It is important to ask about the sources of our food to ensure that we are making ethical choices. Man has always ignored other creatures that live on the planet which messed with the eco systems and caused many problems in the long run. It is not just a matter of consuming animals that are confined in pens or cages solely for the production of meat and milk but also the consumption of plants and other creatures that inhabit our planet.
Many vegans choose to go this way due to the cruelty involved in intensive animal husbandry and factory farming. Getting to know the right information involved can ruin the eating experience for many humans. Of course, the media tries to conceal these stories as much as possible but the truth is that animals go through a lot of hardships to provide us with the food we consume. Sometimes we subject them to treatments that later backfire on humans themselves.
A key example is injecting chicken and cows with hormones to increase their production. Although it’s not widely used now except in underdeveloped countries, chicken and cows were usually injected with estrogen or hormones that would resemble its effect in order to grow faster and produce more milk or eggs. Later this has been linked to cancer and other serious health problems which encouraged people to stop these kinds of practices. Some animals are even kept in small pens that don’t allow them to grow up naturally so that they don’t grow enough muscle mass to harden their meat.
At the same time vegans are conscious about growing and consuming organic and natural food that is in more compliance with the environment and its best interest.
Famous vegan athletes
There are a lot of athletes who prove that going vegan doesn’t mean that you will become of less endurance or strength. In fact some of the most important athletes are vegan and enjoy the many merits of staying away from animal proteins. These athletes compete in different sports and show that being vegan can still provide you with the strength, stamina and endurance needed to excel.
Frank Medrano is one of the most famous vegan weightlifters who prove that staying vegan doesn’t mean that you can be strong. Another one would be Patrick Baboumian who became the strongest man in Germany with a weight of 116 KG. Robert Cheeke is another famous vegan bodybuilder who is also a motivational speaker and spends his time promoting books about the benefits of going vegan. Mac Danzing is a martial artist whose body skills showed that vegan is a healthy diet that can increase endurance.
Best protein sources from cereals
Getting protein from cereals is a healthy option. Most of these cereals can be either cooked or eaten raw to ensure that you take the recommended amount of proteins.
- Oatmeal about 12 g
- Rye approximately 10 g
- Spelled about 15 g
- Khorasan wheat about 15 g
- Full grain rice about 2.7 g
- Barley about 12 g\
Proteins from false or wrong grains
False or wrong grains are called this name because they look like grains at the first sight but they are not actually grains according to their composition and structure. They are however called grains by most people, despite the difference.
- Quinoa about 12 g
- Amaranth about 14 g
- Buckwheat about 13 g
- Chia seeds about 17g
Proteins from pods
Pods like beans usually have a higher content of proteins when they are mature. This protein content tends to lower as they are cooked. Kidney beans usually contain 22gm of proteins per 100 gm. But once cooked the amount drops to only 7 gm. The more you cook pods, less protein content they have. It is better to make sure that you can consume pods while they are not heavily cooked. Boiling and steaming or cooking under pressure tends to hold the best health benefits.
- Peas about 5 g
- Peanuts about 26 g
- White beans approx. 7 g
- Black beans about 8 g
- Brown lenses and red lenses about 7 g
- Chickpeas about 19 g
- Lupins (beans) about 36 g
- Kidney beans about 7 g
Proteins from legumes
- Chickpea flour approx. 20 g
- Lentil flour approx. 23 g
- Peanut butter approx. 25 g
- Bean flour about 20 g
Proteins from nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are actually very rich in most amino acids. They provide a healthy source of proteins to the body. They also contain a lot of healthy fatty acids that are essential for the functioning of the different organs. The fats found in nuts are healthy unlike the ones found in protein based foods. This means that consuming nuts and seeds doesn’t impose the same health hazards that arise from consuming a lot of animal based proteins.
- Almonds about 21 g
- Walnuts about 14 g
- Pistachios * about 20 g
- Paranuts about 14 g
- Hazelnuts / hazelnut kernels * about 12 g
- Coconut about 3.9 g
- Macadamia nut about 7.5 g
- Cashew kernels about 18 g
- Sunflower seeds about 21 g
- Sesame * about 18 g
- Linseed * about 24 g
- Tahini (sesame paste) about 20 g
Soy proteins and proteins from soy products
Soya products are a great source of vegan proteins but soy milk in particular is a very feasible and healthy option for people who have lactose intolerance even if they are not vegans. Soy milk ensures that people who can’t consume dairy products are properly compensated so that their bodies can function properly.
- Soybeans about 36 g
- Tofu about 8 g
- Sojamehl about 37 g
- Soybean about 15 g
- Soy milk about 3.3 g (1 liter soy milk = 33 g)
- Soybeans (mung bean) about 24 g
Seitan from white gluten
Seitan is a staple in the traditional Japanese cuisine that is made from egg whites and does resemble meat. Its meat like consistency enables it to replace meat in many vegetarian and vegan dishes. The fact that is made from eggs’ gluten makes it super rich in proteins. Gluten has a high albumen content which is an essential protein needed by our bodies and this why Seitan provides a good option to vegan people to make sure that their bodies are properly nourished.
Proteins in tubers, roots and vegetables
Although many people are not aware of that, most vegetables are very rich in proteins. This means that by only consuming these vegetables the body can have its daily requirements of proteins. At the same time they don’t contain fats like animal based proteins and this is one of the reasons why they are super healthy.
- Green cabbage about 4.3 g
- Potatoes about 2 g
- Sweet potato about 1.6 g
- Manioc about 1.2 g
- Manioc flour * about 1.4 g
- Ginger about 1.8 g
- Carrots about 0.9 g
- Cucumber about 0.7 g
- Broccoli about 2.8 g
Proteins in fruits
Fruits are also very rich in proteins and are widely consumed in vegan diets:
- Bananas about 1.2 g
- Avocados about 2 g
- Cooking bananas about 1.3 g
- Kaki about 0.6 g
- Papaya about 0.5 g
- Spinach about 2.9 g
- Mangold about 1.8 g
- Brennnessel about 5,5 g
Proteins from dried fruits
Dried fruits have a higher protein content than crude fruits but they are also high in sugar content so they should be consumed in moderation:
- Dried figs about 5.8 g
- Dried dates about 1.9 g
- Dried apricots about 3.4 g
- Dried currants about 2.5 g
- Dried plums about 2.3 g
- Sultana about 2.5 g
- Dried mulberries about 9 g
- Dried goji berries about 11.5 g
Proteins from vegan protein powders
Vegan protein powders are usually preferred by vegans because they are rich in proteins and because they are easily absorbed by the body. You can easily find different brands on the market that are available to provide vegans with the recommended daily intake.
Experts recommend different types of vegan protein powders for people who are trying to increase their protein intake. The best ones are soy protein powders, hemp protein powders, whey protein powders and casein protein powders. Brown rice and yellow pea protein powders are also available.
The best brands are Hammer Nutrition and Living Harvest Tempt. Orgain provides the best vegan protein shakes.
Vegan foods can be very rich in proteins especially when you combine different sources together like serving hummus with whole grain noodles, serving rice with lentils and spinach with almonds.