Many people wonder about where vegans get their protein from, which of course has spawn a succession of hilarious social media graphics showing pictures of gorillas and other large vegan or mostly vegan animals as a way to show that it’s not necessary to eat meat, eggs or other animal proteins to be strong and healthy.
Vegans can get the amino acid combinations they need from plant-based foods, but requires a little bit of planning to make sure you’re getting the right mix.
Here are five simple ways to create a complete vegan protein:
1. Combine a whole grain such as brown rice with lentils: Brown rice is fairly cheap and plentiful. While GMO rice is not officially on the market, there have been reports of contaminated shipments from the U.S. so it is best to buy it organic. Lentils are also cheap and plentiful making this combination one of the best to build muscle with. Many vegan protein powders contain brown rice protein and sprouted brown rice, and for good reason. It’s far better than white, that’s for sure.
2. Combine a whole grain with nuts such as almonds: Whole grains are a staple food for many while others avoid them at all costs. Everyone’s body is different but I feel better when I work in some brown rice, kiwicha/amaranth, spelt or other gluten-free whole grain. I try to be very judicious with these because most U.S. wheat is mutated and packed full of potentially damaging gluten.
Almonds and other nuts are excellent for protein, of course. Many varieties are better off being soaked overnight (and drained) before eating, or turned into nut mylks. It’s best to make your own to avoid carrageenan and other bad commercial additives. In this case, almonds are also excellent for creating a complete vegan protein.
3. Combine a whole grain with beans: Beans are another cheap, plentiful protein source that anyone can make relatively quickly, and combined with whole grains, make a complete vegan protein.
4. Combine beans and nuts: This combination is a little more surprising, but actually works well together if you’re looking for full spectrum amino acids. If you can find unpasteurized nuts go ahead and spend a little extra: unfortunately, most almonds for example are pasteurized in the United States.
5. Combine hummus and whole grains: Hummus, made from chickpeas, is a surprisingly powerful snack that combines well with brown rice or other whole grains. It’s also fairly easy and cheap to make, once again driving home the point that eating and living well on a mostly organic vegan diet is not quite as difficult as many people make it out to be.
These food combinations should ideally be eaten close together in time, but some researchers believe you can spread them out a bit as well. It is also worth checking out brands of sprouted organic proteins such as the RAW/Vitamin Code brand for powders that you can use in a pinch or before or after a workout. To be sure you’re getting everything you need on a vegan or vegetarian diet, consult with a naturopathic doctor first.
Source: The book, “50 Secrets of the World’s Longest Living People” by Sally Beare. The book can be purchased by clicking here.