There's one question vegans are asked most - where do you get your protein from? It's no wonder the topic is so highly discussed, yet there are many misconceptions about which protein sources should take priority in a vegan's diet. To clarify this, let's start by looking at what protein is in the technical sense.
What is protein?
Protein is an essential macronutrient that can be found in every body part or tissue. Protein makes up the enzymes that power many chemical reactions and the haemoglobin that carries oxygen in your blood. In other words, protein helps your body build and repair muscles and bones, and it also assists hormones and enzymes.
Why do vegans need to consider their protein intake carefully?
Without the right amount of protein in your diet, there is a risk of becoming protein deficient, posing many dangers. Symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Decreased immunity
- Weakening of the heart and respiratory system
- Wasting and shrinkage of muscle tissues
- The blood's inability to deliver sufficient oxygen to the cells.
Overall, vegans have a higher chance of being protein deficient than those with meat and dairy products diets. While reaching your daily recommended protein intake on a vegan diet is entirely possible, it requires planning.
What are the highest protein sources for vegans?
According to the Dietary Reference Intake report for macronutrients, a sedentary adult should consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This works out to be around 56 grams of protein per day for men and 46 grams of protein for women. They base this on a 'sedentary' lifestyle, so you would need to increase this amount if you are more active. To make it easier, aim to have around 10-35% of your calories from protein.
Fortunately, protein can be found in several different food groups, such as:
- Nuts and seeds
- Soy products and vegan meats
- Non-dairy milk.
It's important to note that the protein level can vary with each food type, regardless of its food group. Vegans should identify which foods contain high levels of protein and which contain low amounts to maintain a balanced diet suited to the individual's lifestyle and requirements.
Tips to help you manage your protein intake
- Combining different food groups to improve the quality of the nutrients.
- Consuming a diverse diet to avoid deficiency in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients required by the body to sustain healthy tissues and organ function.
- Not relying too much on substitute products as they are often heavily processed. For example, vegan 'cheese'.
How can Love Shake help you with protein intake?
Incorporating Love Shakes' products into your diet is a great way to help you reach your optimal protein intake. Forget about digestive issues, allergies or intolerances and just SHAKE it! Our shakes have 29.5g of protein per 40g (one scoop) and are filled with essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals.