A vegan diet, as many continue to realize, has many benefits for health and weight loss with plant-based nutrition (and is also great for the environment, too!) Even with all of that said, newcomers to the vegan diet may be struggling with adding enough protein to their plate each day. As protein is vital for any balanced diet, we checked in with a health expert to learn more about healthy vegan sources of it. Read on for tips, suggestions and insight from Lisa Richards, registered nutritionist and creator of The Candida Diet.
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Prioritize All Essential Amino Acids
When switching to a plant-based diet, Richards stresses that it is crucial to consider daily protein intake. “The primary way to make sure you are getting adequate protein is to ensure you are getting in all the essential amino acids,” she explains.
Out of 20 amino acids, there are 9 that the body “cannot make on its own,” Richards points out, making it essential that they are consumed through the diet.
“Plant-based protein combinations that contain all essential nine amino acids are known as complete proteins.” By combining certain foods, the vegan dieter can ensure they are taking in the right type and amount of protein, she says.
Easy Protein Combinations
Some common complete protein combinations tha Richards swears by include “whole grain brown rice and black beans, whole wheat bread and peanut butter, pasta and peas, chickpeas and tahini (which are in hummus).” Quinoa and soy are both plant-based complete proteins on their own, which are great to consider as well!