I've got a fun little experiment for you to try out.
Next time you're out with friends, casually drop into conversation that you're going vegan. And I can guarantee that these friends, who previously had no interest in nutrition whatsoever, suddenly become experts in protein.
"But where will you get your protein?" They'll ask, horrified.
Try as you might to explain that you just need to eat a few more lentils and pumpkin seeds than the average Joe, you can see they’re not buying it.
Sadly, there’s still a common misconception that it’s impossible to get enough protein on a vegan diet. Even in 2017, people think that you need to eat meat, and lots of it, in order to meet your daily protein requirements.
This misconception is the reason I’m writing this article today. It’s a short one, by my usual standards. But that’s because it’s such a bogus myth, it’s going to take me all of 2 minutes to bust it.
Are you thinking about going vegan, or even just eating less animal products? Awesome. I love it.
But there’s still a niggling doubt in the back of your mind that you won’t get enough protein, right? I get it. I’ve been there myself. Which is why I want to tell you that the last thing you need to worry about is your protein intake.
Getting enough protein on a vegan diet is EASY. So easy, in fact, you probably don’t even need to think about it.
No meat? No problem
Take yesterday for example. My diet was completely vegan. And I got over 125 grams of protein without even trying. I’ve listed what I ate below, along with the protein content of each food in brackets. As you can see, doing so was incredibly easy (and tasty):
Breakfast (7am): Oatmeal (17g protein) topped with hemp seeds (6g), blueberries, raspberries and coconut yoghurt (2.5g). 25.5g protein.
Post workout smoothie (11.00am): 1 banana, 200ml almond milk, 1tbsp almond butter (4g), 1 tsp chlorella (4g) and 1 scoop Madagascan Vanilla PERFORM protein (25g). 33g protein.
Lunch (1.30pm): Big salad with chick peas (15g), pumpkin seeds (7g), beetroot (1g), avocado (3g), broccoli (4g), spinach (2g) and new potatoes (4g). 36g protein
Dinner (6.00pm): Lentil dhal made with red lentils (22g), sprouted brown rice (6g), broccoli (4g), cauliflower (2g). 34g protein
Total = 128.5g protein.
At 128.5g protein, yesterday’s intake was more than double the government guideline RDA of 55g.
Is 55g per day really optimal for most males? Probably not.
But I wanted to show you how easy it is to meet what is considered to be the minimum daily requirement of protein. Which, incidentally, the government recommend you should eat meat, fish, eggs and dairy to achieve!
It would have been harder for me not to get this number. I’d have had to actively restrict my protein intake to do so.
Can you get enough protein on a vegan diet?
So what if you’re active, training hard, and looking to build muscle? Can you do it on a vegan diet? Of course you can.
All the research suggests that the optimum protein intake for muscle building sits in the region of 1.3 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilo of bodyweight per day.
At my current weight of 76 kilograms, 128.5 grams of protein equates to 1.69 grams per kilo of bodyweight. Sorted. Easy peasy.
I didn’t have to slam three protein shakes in a day or eat my bodyweight in protein bars to achieve it. My post workout shake using PERFORM definitely helped, but the rest of it was so easy I didn’t even have to think about it.
If you can eat a variety of nuts, seeds, lentils, beans and green vegetables every day, I’ll be amazed if you find yourself protein deficient. So can we ditch this myth once and for all, please?
You can check out this recipe guide of 11 unusual and delicious vegan protein recipes which shows you just how easy, tasty and healthy it is to get your protein intake daily!