With World Vegan Day upon us, we’ve decided to share a few easy fixes to one of the most common – and annoying! – questions vegans get asked: where do you get your protein? We’ll be unpacking some powerhouse, plant-based sources of this vital nutrient.
There is a litany of reasons to go vegan – if you’re keen to make a change or you’ve already taken the plunge and are looking for some affordable, tasty and nutritious sources of protein, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll be unpacking our top 4 food sources of this essential nutrient – and you’ll find a couple of complete protein sources in this list too. With climate change remaining one of the looming disasters of our time, many are turning to veganism to make a difference – and for good reason. It’s estimated that one vegan saves over 900 square feet of forest area, nearly 300 kilos of carbon dioxide output and over 33, 000 gallons of water each month.
Not to mention, a vegan lifestyle is also beneficial to animal welfare, with every vegan contributing to saving an estimated 30 animals per month. The growing vegan movement is also improving the state of animal welfare – and with approximately 70 billion animals farmed for food each year and over 150 million animals sent to slaughterhouses every day, there is much to improve. From overcrowding to disease, abuse and painful procedures, many factory-farmed animals are subjected to a life of cruelty – from the 40 billion chickens living in overcrowded factory farms to the unnecessary teeth-clipping procedures piglets often undergo. It's no wonder than an estimated 2% of Aussies have chosen veganism – for the planet and for animal welfare. But you might be curious about nutrition and maintaining a balanced diet – so we’ll be diving into one of the most important nutrients. Here are 4 of our favourite vegan protein sources.
This soy-derived food happens to be one of the most versatile ingredients that can liven up any meal, silken tofu-based cheesecakes – yep, it’s a thing! – to stir fries, imitation meat and scrambled “egg”, there’s little you can’t do with tofu! It’s also an exceptionally protein-dense food – along with being one of the rare bean-derived complete proteins, with around 12 grams per serve. Not only is it rich in protein, but it’s also a good source of calcium, iron and magnesium for bone, blood and gut health. Natto and tempeh are two other soy-based foods, with the former boasting 18 grams of protein per serve. These fermented products have the benefits of probiotics for a healthy gut, along with vitamin K2 for bone health.
Fun recipe tip: For your next dinner party, try making some “vegan salmon”. This stuff tastes surprisingly similar to the real thing, plus it’s easy to whip up and loaded with vitamins and minerals.
You’ll only need affordable ingredients like vegetable stock, nori – for that straight-from-the-sea flavour, miso paste, turmeric and, of course, tofu! Check out this recipe for a comprehensive “tofu salmon” guide, from the marinade to the cooking process.
Quinoa is loaded with fibre, iron, magnesium and, of course, protein. Just one cup packs around 8 grams of protein – and, best of all, it’s a complete protein source, meaning it has all 9 essential amino acids. It’s a nutritional powerhouse that works well with soups, curries and even muffins – try subbing it in for rice, you’ll find it’s more satiating and more nutritious. It contributes to fewer sugar cravings and getting those 3 o’clock slumps under control.
Hemp, like quinoa, is a complete protein. Hemp seeds boast around 9.5 grams of protein per 30-gram serving, not to mention they’re loaded with healthy fats like omega 3, linoleic acid and medium chain triglycerides, which are known by researchers to promote weight loss and manage appetite. Hemp experts, Grass Roots, have everything from hemp seeds to oils and supplements so you can get your fix of this protein-rich food. And don’t worry – you won’t get high on this stuff! It may come from the same plant as marijuana, but it has negligible levels of psychoactive compounds. The only thing you’ll find here is high nutrition and a nutty, earthy taste fit for your salads, soups and smoothies.
Just a cup of this stuff provides 6 grams of protein, and it also happens to be gluten-free, making it ideal for those looking to steer clear of this allergen. One of the best things about buckwheat is its versatility – add its flour form to your baked goods in place of flour, cook it up in soups or even enjoy buckwheat-based noodles, known as soba noodles in Japan. If you’re not fond of oatmeal, use buckwheat instead for a protein-rich breakfast. There are a lot of reasons to love this wholegrain, including the other nutrients its brimming with:
- Potassium: approx. 150 grams
- Phosphorus: approx. 120 grams
- Magnesium: approx. 85 grams
- Calcium: approx. 12 milligrams
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