Vegan Protein

So after writing about the born-again carnivore yesterday, I wanted to write a post that promotes a vegan diet tonight.  This is a vegan blog after all!

So what's the first thing people ask you when you say you've gone vegan?  Where do you get your protein?    Jack Norris, co-founder and current president of Vegan Outreach, and Registered Dietician, is authoring a blog of his own... Fittingly, his first (real) post talks about protein.

According to Norris, if you eat 3 servings of proteins per day, your protein needs should be taken care of.  He suggests not eating more than 2-3 servings per day of soy or wheat gluten products.

So, where do you get your protein?  We get ours from a wide variety of foods.... Beans and legumes mostly (lots of chickpeas), followed by soy and nuts, and seitan.  And almond milk, and quinoa...  I also start my morning with a smoothie made of almond milk, almond butter, a banana, and rice protein powder.

And a special thanks to Joe H. of Temecula, CA who's email alerted us to Norris's new blog.


  1. I get that question a lot. I’m going to do a daily food diary and post it someday!
    Lets see, so far 5 almonds and a handful of Puffins!(cereal) ; )

  2. I just discovered your blog thru Twitter. I eat most of my meals with no meat but cook meat since my family will not give it up. I respect their choice. I do like to ge protein from natural source like beans, quinoa, nuts. I do not like process food.

    Can you tell me the advantages of eating Seitan. I tend to stay away from it. Thanks in advance.

  3. “Where do you get your protein” is the super stupid reflexive question that every carnivore asks a vegan. You might respond with, “Where do you get (all) your fat?” Fact is, there’s protein in nearly everything we eat. Spinach, for example, is nearly 50% protein, which I believe is actually higher percentage-wise than beef. Google around — the protein content of vegetables and grains is well documented. Even the lowly white potato contains 2 grams or so of protein.

  4. I agree; the first question I get when I tell someone I’m vegetarian (still working on going vegan!) is, “Where do you get your protein?” I’m tempted to respond with, “Where do you get your vegetables?” I find it helpful for my protein intake when I make a big batch of a bean soup (esp. lentil) or a quinoa salad on Sunday and I eat that all week for lunch.

  5. Hi Patrick,
    We also use the mock meat products to supplement our other proteins. But as Jane’s become more comfortable cooking vegan, we’ve moved away from those products a bit. She tries to limit the number of processed foods we consume.

    Hi kara,
    Jane often suggests I do a weekly post on what we’ve eaten for the same reason.

    Hi Helene,
    Seitan can be used as a protein source, like soy, or beans. We try to incorporate it into our meal plan regularly. It’s not to difficult to make, if you use vital wheat gluten. (You can use regular flour and “wash” it -but the wheat gluten is easier.)
    On our Vegan Resources page there are a few recipe sites… Fat Free Vegan has a number of recipes for seitan you can make at home.

    Hi Gar,
    I don’t know that I’d call it a super stupid reflexive question. What Jane and I learned in school (the basic 4 food groups) stress meat and fish as your protein options. Sure they say beans, but the picture was steak, chicken, eggs, and fish. And protein is typically stressed as the most important nutrient.
    Until we went vegan I had no idea that you could get protein from veggies or grains.
    I look at the question as an opportunity to help educate people.

    Hi Becky,
    Jane will make a huge batch of something on Sundays too. I love leftovers so this works well for us both.

  6. Yves products are so good but most of them are so pricey where I live ever since gas prices went up! 🙁 Stores irritate me. I get mine from soy milk, mock meat, nuts.I would love to eat a variety of beans but the ones I like are soy and it doesn’t bother stomache(I have a disgestive disorder) like other beans do.

  7. I found your blog through the “I am vegan” application on facebook. How did you get your blog postings to post at I Am Vegan?

    The protein question has got to be the most annoying question I get as a vegan. I don’t see meat eaters counting their intake of other vital nutrients. Most people don’t count their intake of animal fat, cholesterol, processed sugars etc. But the minute they find out you don’t eat meat or dairy it’s like panic! OMG! Where do you get your protein!

  8. Hi Jim,
    I poked around my facebook page to see if I could remember what I did. Sorry, it was a long time ago. I’d suggest contacting the moderator.

    As for the protein question… I used to get frustrated too, by that and by the other ubiquitous question, “You don’t eat animals, so what do you eat then?” (my response, “EVERYTHING else”) But now I look at it from this perspective, most of us (Jane and I are included in this group) were brought up to have meat at most meals. And meat was your protein. No one considered the protein in spinach or kale or quinoa (etc), protein came from animal products. That was the food group. Basic 4, I think? No, people don’t usually consider where they get their nutrients, but they’re brought up to think the standard diet will meet all their needs, so they don’t have to consider nutrition.

    When we first switched over to vegan eating, Jane spent a significant amount of time reading up on what we could/should eat. We also like to point out that we went to our doctor before hand and our bloodwork is improved over what it was then, and we were healthy “before.”

  9. Thanks Lane, I’ll check with the moderator. It’s funny you mentioned the other ubiquitous question. My wife has dubbed her blog “So what do you eat?” it’s at

    We basically switched over for health reasons (although we love animals too!!). My wife has a long family history of high blood pressure and cancer and we read that a vegan diet was the way to go to prevent those diseases. I did it to be in solidarity with her and I love the lifestyle.

    Keep up the blogging!!

  10. Hi Jim,
    Gotta love those wives, eh? In case you haven’t read on the blog, Jane has bad family genes too, and we went vegan 7/7/7, after she read Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes, which she was reading b/c of strong family history, and a cousin had been recently diagnosed. I don’t expect I would have gone vegan if it hadn’t been for her, but I feel like we’re on the right path for better health into old age.

  11. It is an established fact that protein from animal products contains all the necessary amino acids that are required for the body. However, I believe that only people who don’t eat enough or have digestive disorders are at risk of protein deficiencies. The rest of us can easily consume enough protein to support an active lifestyle by eating a balanced diet entirely comprised of plant derived foods. Therefore, it is important to know that you can get sufficient amounts of protein without eating meat.

  12. Because so many important vitamins and minerals are missing from the foods we eat, supplements are very beneficial.

    Casein takes longer for your body to break down and use to repair.
    For example, a dietary supplement manufacturer does not have to prove a product’s safety and effectiveness before it is marketed.

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