Contrary to the popular belief, there are many ways to ensure proper protein intake on a vegetarian or vegan diet. It is true that many plant based proteins are not complete proteins, as they lack some of the essential amino acids. Our body is capable of synthesizing some of the amino acids, however, nine of them have to be obtained via the food we eat. These nine amino acids are called essential amino acids. They are:
All these essential amino acids are present in animal proteins and so animal proteins are considered complete proteins. On the other hand, many plant based proteins are missing or too low in these essential acids and are usually not considered complete proteins. However, you will be able to get enough quantities of each of these essential amino acids by eating a varied diet.
For instance, grains are too low in the essential amino acid, lysine, but by also eating beans and lentils that are very high in lysine, you can ensure the availability of all the essential amino acids. Shared below are some of the nearly complete plant based sources of protein that you can include in your vegan meal plan.
It is a pseudocereal that is considered a complete protein source. Amaranth is a popular gluten-free grain alternative that can be boiled for a porridge or side dish. It has a nutty taste and can retain crunchiness even when cooked.
Buckwheat is another pseudocereal that you can add to your vegan diet to ensure proper protein intake. Buckwheat can be cooked like oatmeal or can be ground and added when baking. It is considered a source of complete plant based protein.
It is a variety of blue-green algae and is a popular protein supplement among vegans and vegetarians. Powdered spirulina can be added to soups, smoothies, salads, etc to have a protein boost. A single tablespoon of spirulina has about 4gms of protein.
The edible white portion inside hemp seeds (called hemp hearts) is very nutritious. Apart from being a complete protein source, hemp seeds are also rich in some of the essential fatty acids like linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. These fatty acids are commonly called omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
You can add these to your vegan diet to ensure proper protein intake.