Archive for the tag - protein quality

5 Protein Tips for Vegan Muscles!

Dear Davey,

I’ve been trying to build muscle and I take protein shakes right after I workout, but I don’t see much of a difference. I’ve been a vegan for almost 7 years now, so I don’t get much protein.

What are some things me and your other vegan followers can eat (excluding eggs, fish, and other animals) so we can get more protein in our bodies?

Thanks,
Davis

Dear Davis,

Most Americans get more than enough protein in their diets. But for weightlifters and exercise enthusiasts, the daily requirements for protein are much higher – and thus much harder to fulfill. While most adults require only 40 – 75 grams of protein, I require 140 grams. It’s no small feat.

Getting the required amount of protein is even more difficult for vegan exercisers, as vegans eat neither animals nor animal byproducts. Meat is an easy, high-quality source of protein, and even whey protein (the highest quality protein available) is derived from dairy. For vegans, meat, dairy and whey are out of the question.

So how can exercise enthusiasts balance protein needs with a vegan diet? I asked Noel, a vegan fitness model living in NYC (pictured above). He’s so passionate about vegan fitness, he even created a YouTube channel about it. Here are his recommendations:

  1. Eat lots of nuts. 1/4 a cup of nuts can have upwards of 8 to 9 grams of decent quality protein. Noel recommends soaking the nuts, as it makes digestion and vitamin absorption easier. It’s important to opt for unsalted varieties.
  2. Get to know quinoa. 100 grams of quinoa contains some 14 grams of high-quality protein. In fact, the protein in quinoa has a higher BV rating than either beef or chicken. Though quinoa is a seed, it can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are a bunch of quinoa recipes.
  3. Stock up on oatmeal. Though you might not realize it, a cup of oatmeal has 6 grams of relatively high quality protein. The quality of the protein, though less than beef or chicken, is slightly better than fish. It’s a great way to start the day!
  4. Spread the hummus. A half cup of commercial hummus has 10 grams of protein, and it makes a great addition to a sandwich – or a condiment for fresh veggies.
  5. Almond and peanut butter. As nuts are a good source of vegan protein, it only makes sense that almond and peanut butter are also wise choices and great additions for smoothies and snacks. Typically, a serving of nut butter will have 6 – 8 grams of protein.

To Noel’s list, I’d like to add tofu – which is packed with a whopping 40 grams of protein per cup. Soybeans, soy milk and pure soy protein are also a great addition – though there has been some speculation that excess soy consumption may have negative side effects. Nonetheless, soy protein is high in quality. Lentils, tempeh, beans, brown rice and even tahini are also good and protein-rich vegan options.

For vegans, it’s especially tough to get the recommended quantities of protein to support muscular maintenance and growth – but with a little planning, it’s not only possible… but delicious!

Love,
Davey