It often seems as if the protein debate between vegans and meat-eaters never ends. On one hand, vegans generally claim they can get plenty of protein from plant-based products, while meat eaters often say that type of protein isn’t complete.
The truth is, everyone’s right. Yes, only meat, dairy and eggs contain all essential amino acids. However, not only is it unnecessary to consume all nine essential amino acids in every meal, but it’s also totally possible to do that as a vegan, if you so choose.
Amino acids are crucial to our well being because they play various roles in our bodies including assisting in digestion and the repair of body tissue. While our bodies produce 11 of the 20 total amino acids, the remaining nine must come from the foods we eat. Thankfully, all sorts of foods contain a variety of the nine essential amino acids, including legumes, grains, fruits and vegetables. If you are eating a balanced diet full of whole, minimally processed foods, whether you are vegan, vegetarian or carnivore, you should feel confident you are getting all of the nutrients and amino acids your body needs.
Below are common sources of animal protein:
Eggs have 6.3g of animal protein - 3.6g found in the egg white and 2.7g in the yolk.
Chicken breast contains 27g of protein per 3-oz. serving
Fish & shellfish - 3 oz. of canned tuna has 22g of protein and 3 oz. of salmon has 19g of protein. Both also provide heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and are low in saturated fat.
Greek yogurt has 11-15g of protein and is also a great source of calcium which supports healthy bones.
Skim milk contains 8g of protein per cup.
And here are some of our favorite vegan protein sources:
Chia contains 5g of protein per tablespoon. Throw some in your smoothie, cereal or on top of your yogurt or oatmeal.
Hemp seed also contains 5g of protein per tablespoon. Sprinkle some on top of your salad for a delicious & crunchy texture.
Pea Protein is often found as a powder. One scoop is generally around 17-20g of protein.
Quinoa contains 7g protein for every ½ cup cooked. Eat as a side dish with any meal or use as the base of a casserole!
Depending on age, gender, and fitness goals, daily intake of protein can look a little different for everyone. While kids need anywhere from 19-34g/day, adults need 46-56g/day and even up to 71g if pregnant. Keeping beat with the busy rhythm of life makes cooking meals and reaching Daily Values a challenge. When crunched for time, an on-the-go protein powder like Amazing Grass' Plant Protein can be the perfect solution. Not only does it deliver 20 grams of plant-based protein, but each variety also contains all nine essential amino acids with the addition of 7 alkalizing greens and 9 nutrient-dense fruits and veggies!
Mack, Stan. “How Many Amino Acids Does the Body Require?”. Livestrong.com. 26 October 2015. Web. 21 March 2016.
“10 Complete Proteins Vegetarians Need to Know About”. Greatist.com. Web. 21 March 2016.
Stein, Natalie. "A List of Foods That Have Animal Protein". Livestrong.com 18 February 2014. Web. 4 April 2016.
"Protein: Are You Getting Enough?". WebMD.com 05 September 2014. Web. 4 April 2016.