By Mara Tyler
Meat-eaters will never stop asking and vegans always get sick of hearing it:
“How do you get your protein?”
The image of a skinny (not to mention gangly and dread-headed) hippie has typically been the poster child of veganism. After all, there’s no way we can be muscular, fit and even bulky as vegans, right?
Vegan athletes like Brendan Brazier, Rich Roll, and Jimi Sitko are changing the negative stereotypes, proving that plant-based protein can not only build strong muscles, but can keep a vegan healthy enough to run, swim, bike, dance or pump iron – no flesh-eating necessary.
So how do you get your protein? Here are 10 vegan sources to try on for size:
1. Veggies: Yep, good old greens will pack a protein punch. One cup of cooked spinach has about 7 grams of protein. The same serving of French beans has about 13 grams. Two cups of cooked kale? 5 grams. One cup of boiled peas? Nine grams. You get the idea.
2. Hemp. No, you don’t have to get high to get your protein. But toss 30 grams of hemp powder in your smoothie and get about 11 grams of protein – just like that.
3. Non-Dairy Milk. Got (soy) milk? A mere 1 cup of soy or almond milk can pack about 7-9 grams of protein. Eat with some fortified cereal and you’ve got a totally vegan-friendly breakfast.
4. Nut Butter. Eat up your peanut butter, almond butter and cashew butter. A couple of tablespoons of any one of these will get you 8 grams of protein.
5. Quinoa. I kinda think quinoa is God’s gift to vegans (and gluten-free peeps!), as it’s versatile, delicious and delivers about 9 grams of protein per cup.
6. Tofu. Four ounces of tofu will get you about 9 grams of protein. And at about 2 bucks a pop, it’s a cheap vegan’s BFF.
7. Lentils. With lentils, you can make rice dishes, veggie burgers, casseroles and more. One cup cooked delivers a whopping 18 grams of protein!
8. Beans. They really are the magical fruit. With one cup of pinto, kidney or black beans, you’ll get about 13-15 grams of protein, a full belly and heart-healthy fiber.
9. Tempeh. One cup of tempeh packs abour 30 grams of protein! That’s more than 5 eggs or a regular hamburger patty.
10. Sprouted-grain bread. Pack a sandwich with vegan sprouted-grain bread and you’ll get about 10 grams of protein in the bread alone.
Still want to ask me where I get my protein? Yeah. That’s what I thought.
Published May 10, 2012 at 12:45 PM
About Mara Tyler
Mara Tyler is the author of “Cheap and Simple Vegan Recipes,” a no-nonsense book for vegans who want easy and affordable meals. She’s also the managing editor of Healthy Bitch Daily, a vegan lifestyle website. With a mission to make veganism accessible to anyone, she promotes progress, not perfection. When she’s not making a mess in the kitchen dreaming up vegan recipes, she can be found hiking or looking for bliss in yoga.