As fantastic as the reasoning behind vegan diets and lifestyles is, there is one potential flaw in vegan diets that does need addressing. The potential flaw in question is a possible lack of protein. We use phrases such as ‘potential’ and ‘possible’ because not all vegan diets are guaranteed to result in protein deficiencies. We know that foods such as: eggs, dairy, meat, and fish are all rich in protein, but there are still heaps of plant-based protein sources out there that can help you meet your daily protein requirements. To make this task that little bit easier, here’s a look at the top 5 protein sources for vegans.
If you haven’t heard of Seitan before, pay attention now, because it is proving to be a massive hit in the plant-based diet community. Seitan is one of the most popular protein sources for vegans and vegetarians. It is derived from gluten, which is the protein found in wheat that gives wheat flour its elasticity. What makes Seitan especially popular, is the fact that, when prepared, it resembles meat in terms of taste, texture, and appearance. 100 grams of seitan contains around 25g of protein, making it a fantastic addition to any plant-based diet.
Lentils not only taste great, they also happen to be one of the best sources of protein in existence. Lentils are rich in carbs, minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins, and they provide a healthy serving of protein. Lentils can be used as a side dish, or added to bulk out dishes such as soups, stews, curries, and casseroles.
In the vegan community, hemp protein powders are currently extremely popular, and for good reason. Hempseed provides 10 grams of protein per 28-ounce serving. Hempseed is also rich in magnesium, iron, zinc, and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. What’s more, hempseed has also been found to boost immunity and reduce inflammation in the body. It can therefore, help to reduce the risk of all manner of chronic health conditions. Hempseed can be consumed sprinkled over salads and other dishes, or it can be blended into soups, smoothies, or vegan protein shakes.
Spirulina is considered to be one of the healthiest ingredients in existence. This nutritional powerhouse is a blue-green algae that will provide 8 grams of protein per tablespoon. It has a brilliant dark green colour and is loaded full of important trace minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper, and thiamine. On top of that, it is loaded full of antioxidants which help to promote optimal cellular function and boost the immune system. Often sold in powdered form, spirulina works very well when mixed into healthy smoothies or protein shakes.
Quinoa, which is pronounced keen-wah, is a superfood that is surprisingly high in protein. It is a wholegrain and so people assume it’s a carbohydrate. Whilst it does contain carbs, quinoa is also a great protein source. Quinoa provides around 9 grams of protein per cup, as well as B vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and much more. Quinoa is a fluffy grain, similar to couscous and can be used in salads or used as a side dish.