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Nutrition & Diet

All you need to Know About Vegan Protein

Well, let me guess, you were completely non-vegetarian eating chicken breasts and eggs all day long until a few days back when you heard about your good friend going vegan. And as a bodybuilder, the first query that concerned you was – How do vegans get Protein? And then – Is there any particular vegan source of protein? And finally – What about the whey protein I just bought? Can I still use it after going Vegan? Well, my friend, here’s your complete guide to a vegan protein that you should certainly read before following Vegan Diet.

What is Vegan Protein?

Vegans are the class of people who, besides being vegetarians, do not consume animal-based protein products like eggs and dairy items.

Vegan Protein is the term coined for the type of protein that is consumed by a person on a vegan diet. It is the type of protein that is derived only from plant-based food sources like beans, nuts, and grains.

Some of the popular sources of vegan protein are almonds, quinoa, oats, kidney beans, peanuts, soybeans, and tofu.

What is the difference between Vegetarians and Vegans?

No, guys, vegan isn’t the short form for vegetarian. There are a lot of differences between a vegetarian and a vegan based on their food preferences and lifestyle.

Talking about food choices, one of the prime differences between being a vegetarian and being a vegan is that certain class of vegetarians like lacto-vegetarians like Lacto-Ovo vegetarians do consume animal-based protein products like milk and eggs except for animal flesh. A vegan, however, avoids all animal and animal-obtained products.

Unlike vegetarians, vegans are not just characterized by the type of food they choose. Rather, veganism is a wide concept that also encapsulates lifestyle of an individual.

Besides avoiding animal protein, a true vegan does not use any household items, cosmetics and clothing derived from animal products. In other sense, being a vegan is about paying due respect to all forms of life.

Best Sources of Vegan Protein

Vegetarian-and-vegan-protein
superskinnyme.com

Here are some of the finest sources of plant-based protein that you can utilize to fulfill your protein intake during a vegan diet.

  • Lentils and Beans – All sorts of lentils and beans are a great vegan source of protein. Beans like black beans, kidney beans, yellow split beans and moong are some of the highest protein-rich vegan foods. Besides, these foods are cheap and easily available.
  • Quinoa and Oats – Many whole grains contain a good amount of protein, but if you ask me the best of them all, then I would suggest you try quinoa. A cooked bowl of quinoa contains as much as 20 grams of protein. Apart from this, oats are also a good choice.
  • Hempseeds – Of all the seeds, hemp seeds are known to contain the highest proportion of protein per ounce, almost 50% greater than flaxseeds and chia seeds. A 30g serving of hempseed contains around 10g of high-quality protein.
  • Nuts and Nut butter – One of the finest ways vegans can increase their protein intake is by eating nuts and other nuts derived products. Vegans can get as much as 5-8 grams of protein per ounce of nuts. Some of the finest sources of nuts for a vegan are almonds, cashews, pistachios, peanuts and peanut butter.
  • Soy Milk – Initially, people who switch from either vegetarian diet or non-vegetarian diet to vegan diet, find it difficult to do away with cow’s milk. In such scenario, I would recommend you use Soy Milk. It is a good alternative to cow’s milk in terms of protein content, vitamins and minerals.

Related Article: Daily Protein Requirement: How much Protein you need per Day?

Vegetarian, Vegan and Whey Protein

Being a vegetarian or vegan, it becomes utmost necessary to supplement the diet with a high-quality source of complete protein like whey protein. Quite often, athletes and bodybuilders following vegan and vegetarian diet are seen to fall behind in terms of muscle strength and lean muscle mass. It is because of the lack of protein in their diet that they find it difficult to match up to their non-vegetarian counterparts.

Is Whey Protein Vegan?

Since whey protein is primarily derived as a by-product during cheese making process, it cannot be called a vegan source of protein. Recall what I mentioned in the initial section of the article; vegans do not consume any kind of animal protein. And that cheese itself is made out of milk; it fails to satisfy the vegan source of protein criteria.

Is Whey Protein suitable for Vegetarians?

Yes, all kinds of whey protein whether concentrate or isolate, are suitable for vegetarians.

Needless to say, the lack of superior quality of protein vegetarians fail to include in their diet can easily be overcome by using Whey Protein concentrate or Isolate.

protein
mensfitness.com

For example, one scoop serving of MFF Whey Protein 100% can add up over 25 grams of protein to your diet. Include a couple of such shakes to your diet plan to easily achieve your daily protein intake value.

Best Vegan Protein Shake

Following the fundamental principles of a Vegan Diet, here are couple of protein shake recipes which are devoid of animal protein.

1) Ginger Pear Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 tablespoon hemp seeds
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 pear
  • 1 cup spinach

Directions: Mix all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend ingredients until smooth.

Calories – 256

Protein – 12g

(Source: shape.com)

2) Peanut Butter Banana Cranberry Protein Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 large banana, frozen
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 Tablespoon smooth peanut butter
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds, ground
  • 1.5 Tablespoon hemp seeds, ground
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3-4 ice cubes

Directions: Mix all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend ingredients until smooth.

Calories – 300

Protein – 15g

(Source: mnn.com)

Downsides of Vegan Protein

It is quite evident that when it comes to protein concentration, plant-based protein has no match for animal-derived protein. For instance, you need to eat over 100 grams of chickpeas just to get 12 grams of protein, the same amount which you can easily get in just two whole eggs.

Secondly, most of the plant-based protein sources are incomplete protein, meaning that they lack one or more of 20 essential amino acids required for growth of the human body. As a matter of fact, including only plant-based protein in your diet may make you miss out some of the important amino acids which may go on to cause certain kind of deficiency over the span of years.

On top of this, there are several plant-based food items like soybeans and legumes that contain compounds which inhibit the efficient absorption of minerals from your digestive system. Besides this, several other of similar kind contain enzyme inhibitors which can potentially hinder the proficient digestion of the protein.

In addition to this, vegan protein powders are not among the budget-friendly protein powder options. Prices of vegan protein powder, especially hemp protein powder are just absurd.

That’s all for vegan protein. Do share your views in the comment section below and tell us your favorite source of vegan protein. Also, tell us what ingredients you use in your vegan shake. Subscribe to get fitness tips directly to your inbox.

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Keyur Malani

The author Keyur Malani

Keyur Malani is a certified content writer who finds his true passion in fitness and bodybuilding. Apart from his contribution to Myfitfuel blog, he also guides people in their diet and training routines. When he's not writing articles and breaking Deadlift PRs, he's learning life lessons on brain pickings and cooking his post workout meals.
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