Cries of “oh you can’t get enough protein being vegetarian” would suggest that a plant-based diet is deficient in the essential amino acids we must get in our diet. Plant protein, however, can supply enough protein with the added bonus of often being higher in fiber and lower in calories and fat. This week’s Meatless Monday lists a brief overview of some common vegetarian/vegan protein sources.
Plant protein is often incomplete (i.e. lacking one or more of the essential amino acids one must consume daily in the diet). Soy and quinoa are amongst some of the exceptions. Complementary protein sources are combined to complete the essential amino acid profile needed for good health. Use the (average) amounts listed below and get creative in your kitchen! Perhaps Mexican-flavoured beans and rice sprinkled with pepitas (pumpkin seeds), an all-bean veggie burger with quinoa buns or a wrap with curried tempeh ‘bacon’ strips and cashew butter.
The soy family (should be organic and non-GMO. Fermented i.e. tempeh is better on the digestive system than straight tofu and soy)
Tempeh,½ cup – 15g
Tofu (firm) ½ cup – 10g
Soy milk, 1 cup- 8g
Lentils, ½ cup – 9g
Kidney beans, ½ cup – 7.5g
Chickpeas/garbanzo beans, ½ cup – 7g
Almonds, ¼ cup – 7.5g
Cashews, ¼ cup – 5g
Pumpkin seeds, ¼ cup – 8g
Sunflower seeds, ¼ cup – 6g
Seitan (wheat gluten), 80g – 25g
Quinoa, 1 cup – 8g
Brown Rice, 1 cup – 4g
Though intake levels vary depending on age, gender, activity level and health status, the recommended calculation for protein requirements is about .8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. As a point of reference, a person weighing 65 kg. (143 Lbs.) should consume about 52 grams of protein daily.
Main sources for reference:
The Vegetarian Resource Group – Protein in the Vegan Diet
Vegan Health – Protein