Is protein combining necessary on a vegan diet?
What are proteins?
Proteins are essential and perform many functions in the body. They build and maintain muscle and bone mass, regulate tissues and organs, and keep your immune system strong. They also maintain pH and fluid balance and help prevent fatigue. Humans cannot survive without them.
Proteins are composed of amino acids, small molecules that form a long chain. The body creates the amino acids needed for proteins except nine that are essential. Whether you eat an animal-based diet, are plant-based, or vegan, you will need to eat foods that contain these missing amino acids.
As complex molecules, proteins are found abundantly in plants. Fruit, vegetables, leafy greens, grains, pulses, seeds, and nuts contain various amounts of protein. All plant-based food contains all nine needed amino acids, but only one - lysine - is found in smaller amounts. To feed your body this amino acid, it is necessary to eat lysine-rich foods.
What should vegans eat for adequate protein intake and is it necessary to combine proteins?
Eating 3 to 4 servings or 0.75g of high-protein foods per day will ensure healthy protein levels on a vegan diet. This is easy because most vegans include protein with each meal. But, even if you should skip protein for lunch or dinner, do not sweat it! You will be okay.
Adding protein-rich plant-based food that includes the amino acid lysine to your plate is important. Healthy sources of lysine are lentils, tempeh, soy milk, edamame, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, pistachios, and all beans, especially black, navy, kidney, and garbanzo.
Combine these proteins with nuts, seeds, or grains like quinoa, and you will meet your protein and lysine requirements. These foods are also highly nutritious and satisfying.
You can get creative in the kitchen with many food combinations! Here are some easy snack or meal ideas:
- A beans and rice dish
- Peanut butter on whole-wheat toast
- Vegan chili. Check out our Tortilla Chili.
- A salad with walnuts and garbanzo beans
Whole foods, vegan diets contain an abundance of proteins that are essential for proper body functioning and good health. By eating a variety of plant-based proteins, and especially adding lysine-rich foods to your meals, you will meet your protein requirements and be on your way to better health.
Whether you are a seasoned vegan or just starting your plant-based journey, Veestro has got you covered with a variety of fully-prepared, plant-based meals. Take a peek at our A La Carte options or our 5-day or 7-day weight-loss plans to get started!