No animals - where's the protein?For those of you in the know, you understand the benefits of a vegan diet. Vegans, believe that animals should not be harmed in order to clothe, feed or shelter humans. This means no meat, no dairy, no eggs, no leather, no wool, no honey, nor any other product that comes from or is produced by an animal. Whilst steering away from all animal products, vegans are mostly known for their dietary choices. Whilst a plant based diet can easily provide balanced nutrition, the one question most asked of vegans when it comes to their diet is ‘if you don’t eat dairy, meat or chicken, where does your protein come from?’
The truth is, many grains, nuts and seeds are a great source of proteinWhen eaten in their whole form (thing wholegrained bread or brown rice), many foods contain protein in levels perfectly adequate to sustain healthy muscle, hair, nail and skin production (four of the key areas that need protein for proper growth and development). Vegans, an in truth many vegetarians, rely on a mixture of key vegetable protein sources in order to sustain the levels of protein necessary for a healthy life, just as meat eaters and omnivores, rely on animal products.
A big mistake – just cutting out animal productsSo, you are thinking about becoming a vegan. The first (and one of the biggest) mistakes many new vegans make is simply cutting out the meat and animal products from their diet, and instead eating only the vegetables and grains on their plate. This means, rather than having a steak, potato and salad, for example, they instead have just the potato and salad. Nutritionally, if you do not replace the animal protein on your plate with a vegetable protein source, you will experience symptoms of protein deficiency over time (including poor quality hair, skin, nails, along with muscular fatigue).
Decisions, decisions for good health...So, your first decision on becoming a vegan, is which vegetable source of protein are you going to choose to replace the meat and dairy in your diet?
- Instead of chicken or fish – try tofu or tempeh. It’s made from fermented soy beans, and mixes well with traditional flavours such as soy, garlic and chilli.
- Instead of cow’s yoghurt – try coconut yoghurt. It’s yummy, and high in good fats and has a lovely, creamy texture.
- Instead of cow’s milk – try almond milk or oat milk. To really boost your protein levels, try a vegetable source protein powder with a complete protein profile.