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Getting Enough Protein on a Plant-Based Diet

One of my biggest concerns as I dipped my toes into the plant-based world was how on on earth I would get sufficient protein!!

The biggest argument against plant-based eating (especially in my world of fitness) is that plant based proteins are a lower protein source, and it is nearly impossible as a plant-based eater to get your daily recommended intake of protein. Let's explore this a little bit, and see if eating plant-derived protein is as effective.


It is very important to understand what protein is and how it affects the body. Here are some fast facts about protein:

-Protein is an essential part of our diet. It helps build, repair and maintain the body's structures

-Protein is not 'stored' in the body (like fat and carbohydrates are), so it must be consumed throughout the day in our diet

-Proteins are made up of amino acids. There are 22 types of amino acids and 9 of them are ESSENTIAL (meaning the body does not produce them)

-A complete protein (what we strive for) is made up of all 9 of these essential amino acids


One of the main differences between animal and plant protein involves amino acid contents. Remember, we are looking for 'complete' proteins (with all 9 essential amino acids) in order to promote healthy muscle, skin, and other tissue development.

Here are some foods which contain complete proteins:



-Red Meat






Nearly ALL of them are animal products! Quinoa and Buckwheat are the only 2 plant-based options that make the list.

Now what about other plant-based options to make complete protein?

Most plant-based proteins are incomplete, meaning they are missing 1 or more of the 9 essential amino acids. When getting protein from plant-based sources, it becomes very important to have a wide variety of plant protein throughout the day to ensure you are making a complete protein. Combining these incomplete plant-based protein sources will result in satisfying your daily dose of complete proteins. Make sure you are mixing and matching your plant protein options.

Here are some plant-based protein options:





-soy (edamame, tofu, tempeh)




-rice/pea protein powder

Keep in mind that women should be consuming 30g of protein per meal, and men 50g per meal. It IS possible to get complete proteins (with all 9 essential amino acid) and enough protein when combining options!


Protein helps repair muscles after a rigorous workout.

Many athletes and exercise enthusiasts turn to Whey protein after a workout, which is an animal product. As a plant-based eater, there are many alternatives to Whey.

For example, a smoothie with pea/rice protein powder with nut butter and hemp seeds.


Simply getting enough protein should be a more important focus than where the protein is coming from.

Eating a wide variety of foods will help ensure a plant-based eater gets all 9 essential amino acids, AND a healthful balance of other vital nutrients.


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