This is a very common question, but the truth is, there are more sources of vegan protein than one would think. A lot of sources of vegan protein can be purchased at Nutracity’s online vegan nutrition store as part of our vegan products UK line. To be honest, protein is probably the least concern I would have when considering a vegan diet, as you will see from this blog, there is a wide variation of protein sources for vegans.
The first good source of protein that I would like to mention are those products derived from soybeans. These include tofu, tempeh and edamame. Edamame are immature soybeans whilst tofu is made from bean curds pressed together. Tempeh is made by cooking and slightly fermenting mature soybeans. All of these contain around 10-19 grams of protein per 100 grams. A more dense plant protein would be seitan. This contains 25 grams of protein per 100 grams. It is made from gluten and resembles meat the most when cooked.
Another great source of protein and one of my personal favourites is lentils. They contain roughly 18 grams of protein per 240ml and they are also a good source of fibre, as well as tasting great of course.
Chickpeas, kidney beans, black eyed peas, pinto beans and most other varieties of beans contain very high amount of protein as well, roughly about 15 grams per 240ml. They are also high in fibre and can help to reduce cholesterol as well. Lastly, but by no means least, nuts, seeds and products derived from these such as nut oil like peanut butter are also great sources of protein. They contain roughly 5-7 grams of protein per 28 grams and are also great sources of fibre and healthy fats.
There are also vegan protein powders whereby you can consume protein in a more direct, concentrated way. This is especially helpful after a workout to decrease recovery time and also to give you a balanced amino acid uptake also. If you workout regularly you will need roughly 0.5 grams to 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.
So for example, someone weighing 200 pounds, would need 100 grams to 200 grams of protein per day. This can be difficult to achieve from just eating plant-based foods alone, as you would need to consume a large amount of meals to get this much protein, however, you would also be consuming large amounts of things you would not want such as carbohydrates and saturated fats.
There are many different types of protein powders, the first being soy protein powder. As with a lot of other vegan foods, soy is a very common base for a lot of vegan protein powders. It is made from isolates of soy protein where most of the fat and carbohydrates have been removed leaving a protein concentration of about 90-95%.
Although different brands will have different concentrations, most soy protein powder will have about 20g per serving. The other advantage of soy protein is that it contains all the essential amino acids that you need to help with recovery.
Next, is my personal favourite and that is pea protein powder. This is one of the more popular plant-based proteins and is very high in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which is especially good for muscle repair from intense exercise. Pea protein powder contains on average about 15 grams of protein per serving, however, at Nutracity you can find Nuzest protein powders, which are pea-based and contain 20 grams per serving.
For those athletes who might experience stomach issues with a lot of different protein powders, brown rice protein powder is a good alternative although the protein content is a lot lower at only 4 – 6 grams per scoop and the BCAA content is also a lot lower than other protein powders also.2
At Nutracity, as part of our online vegan nutrition store, we stock a wide range of protein powders suitable for vegans. The first example in this range would be my personal favourite, Nuzest Clean Lean Protein available in coffee, natural, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, vanilla matcha, coffee coconut and chai turmeric and maca. Let’s look at the ingredients for the strawberry flavour which is actually named, “wild strawberry”.
The ingredients are; pea protein isolate, natural strawberry flavour, red beet powder, natural vanilla flavour, sweetener (steviol glycosides). So with just five ingredients, I can confidently write that there is nothing unnecessary in this product. Per 25 gram serving this product contains; only 2.2 grams of fat, only 1.1 grams of carbohydrates, 0.4 grams of fibre, 20.5 grams of protein and 3.6mg of iron. It also contains all nine essential amino acids; histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. I personally use this product and have seen an increase in muscle gains when using this product daily.
Another great pea protein product as part of Nutracity’s vegan products UK line is Pulsin Pea Protein Powder - Chocolate (250g). Each 25 gram serving contains 17 grams of protein. It is vegan, Non GM and contains no added fillers or sugar, making it a great alternative to dairy protein. The ingredients are; pea protein (83%), natural flavourings, cacao powder, natural cocoa flavouring, rice bran extract, thickener (xanthan gum) and sweetener (steviol glycosides).
One of the most natural protein powders available from Nutracity’s online vegan nutrition store is Clearspring Organic 100% Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder( 350g). This product is made entirely from 100% organic pumpkin seed protein powder. Per 20 gram serving there is 12 grams of protein. This may not seem as high as the other protein powders but for those who want a pure 100% protein powder with absolutely no other ingredients then this product is ideal. It also cheaper than other protein powders at only £10.99 per 350g.
So to sum up, there are plenty of ways that vegans are able to get sufficient protein nutrient uptake. This can be in the form of certain foods that are high in protein as well as specific protein powders that vegans can use to supplement their diet.