The beginning of the year is a chance to start afresh, focus on your health and wellness so why not give Veganuary a go? This worldwide initiative is run by UK-based charity Veganuary who encourage people to go vegan for 31 days. Ditching the meat and animal products we've all become reliant on is a great way to not only prioritise your health but that of the environment too! While many people have the perception that a person eating a plant-based diet won’t get enough protein, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you're ready to take the pledge and try Veganaury, take a look at how you can support your protein intake below.
What is Protein?
Protein is an essential component in anyone’s diet as it helps to build muscle, repair tissue, and produce enzymes, hormones and biochemicals. Protein is not stored in your body like carbohydrate or fats are, therefore, eating protein loaded foods is important.
We all need a certain amount of protein to keep the body healthy and working the way it should be. Whether you are on a plant-based diet or not, the daily recommended intake of protein is 0.75g/kg for women and 0.84g/kg for men. This number will also vary depending on your daily activity levels and goals.
Protein and Plant-Based Diets
Protein is made of amino acids, and a complete protein source will have all 9 essential amino acids (EAAs). EAAs are crucial for our bodies, and many plant-based foods have some essential amino acids but not all.
When it comes to protein and vegetarianism, the food that you choose plays an important role. It’s important to eat a variety of wholesome foods to help you achieve all 9 essential amino acids as many plant-based foods don’t have them all.
Some of the myths around plant-based diets are that vegetarians don’t get enough iron, zinc, calcium and B12 vitamins. However, if you have a well-planned diet, you will reach all the necessary macro and micronutrients for a complete diet. It’s recommended to speak to a professional to get you on the right track when you first start.
Plant-Based Protein Foods
Have you decided to go vegan but not sure how you will get enough protein on your diet? Here are some of the foods that are high in protein:
- Black beans
- Chia seeds
- Almond butter
- Green peas
- Hemp seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Kidney beans
- Peanut butter
Plant-Based Protein Powders
Raw protein powder is an excellent way to supplementing your diet, if you are looking for an alternative to eating wholesome foods for some of your meals. Adding protein powder to your diet can be an easier alternative to reaching all 9 essential amino acids.
Plan your meals well, and you’ll get all the nutrients necessary for a complete diet. If you are still not 100% sure talk to a nutritionist about it. There are also plenty of recipes online for delicious and nutritious plant-based meals and snacks.