Vegetarian Sources of Protein

» Posted by on Sep 19, 2011 in Environment, Ethics, Health, Vegetarian Sources of Protein, What Can Vegetarians Eat | 0 comments

Vegetarian Sources of Protein

There are a lot of myths out there concerning protein.  A lot of people are concerned, when they cut out meat, how they are going to get Vegetarian Sources of Protein.

Let’s begin by looking at exactly what protein is.

Proteins are comprised of twenty “amino acids.”  For right now, you don’t really need to know what an amino acid is…just know that our bodies need them to survive.

Some amino acids can be made by the body, but some cannot.  The ones that cannot are known as “essential” amino acids.  There are nine essential amino acids — ones that we have to get from food.

Okay; science lesson over…now let’s shoot down some myths.

Myth #1: People don’t get enough protein.

Truth: In fact, we generally get TOO MUCH protein.  There’s a more scientific formula to determine how much each person needs (available in the video series Vegetarian Done Right), but on average, most people will do fine with about 50 grams per day.  Just for comparison, most meat eaters average closer to between 100-150 grams per day.

Myth #2: There aren’t adequate Vegetarian Sources of Protein.

Truth:  This, again, isn’t true.  The fact is that the majority of people do just fine with plant-based protein.  In fact, according to some studies, it’s animal protein that encourages the growth of cancer.

Myth #3: You have to combine different sources of amino acids in the same meal in order to get a “complete protein.”

Truth: Research has shown that this isn’t true either.  Though a complete protein has all essential amino acids in the appropriate, balanced levels.  Plant-based complete proteins include grains like quinoa, or if you have rice and beans at the same time.

However, research has shown that amino acids get stored in our bodies, awaiting use.  I’ve heard this compared an image of the amino acids hanging out in a pool, and when it’s their time to get used up for something in our bodies, we can replace them.   At any rate, you can eat the components that make up a complete protein at separate times.

There are tons of vegetarian sources of protein; you can swear off meat right now and, from a protein perspective, be totally fine eating a plant-based diet for the rest of your life.

By eating a balanced diet of fruits, grains, vegetables, nuts, seeds, dairy, eggs, etc., you should get a more than adequate supply and be just fine.  But if you’d like to keep tabs on your protein intake, here are some concentrated vegetarian sources of protein.

Vegetarian Sources of Protein

Vegetarian Sources of Protein: CheeseDairy

  • Cheese: about 7 g/serving
  • 2% Cow’s milk: 8g/serving
  • Plain Yogurt: 7g/serving

Nuts, nut butters, seeds

  • Almonds: 6g/oz.
  • Cashews: 4g/oz.
  • Peanuts: 7g/oz.
  • Pecans: 3g/oz.
  • Pistachios: 6g/oz.
  • Walnuts: 4g/oz.
  • Sunflower seeds: 6g/oz.

Vegetarian Sources of Protein

Meat substitutes

  • Soy-based veggie burger: 15 g/patty
  • Soy-based chick’n patty: 12 g/patty
  • Seitan (wheat gluten): 6 g/oz
  • Tempeh: 10 g/oz


  • Black beans: 7.6/serving
  • Chickpeas: 7.3/serving
  • Lentils: 8.9/serving
  • Refried pinto beans: 6.4/serving

Other Sources of Vegetarian Protein: Tofu

  • 4 g/oz



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