One reason some people are apprehensive to follow a vegan diet is because of their concerns of “where they’ll get their protein” once they stop consuming animal products. But that’s just a lame excuse, because there are LOADS of plant based foods which are rich in protein!


Even Popeye knew he could get protein and whoop ass just from eating plants!

What is protein?

Protein is a ‘macronutrient’ which is essential in building muscle mass as the human body needs these macronutrients to live and function.

Protein is composed of amino acids which are organic compounds made of sulfur, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and carbon.  Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and proteins are the building blocks of muscle mass.

Why we need protein

When protein is broken down in the body, they help to fuel muscle mass and also helps the immune system stay strong.

Protein also helps with our metabolism and leaves us feeling fuller for longer thus aiding in healthy weight maintenance.

How much protein do we actually need?

The recommended amount of protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight or 0.36 grams per pound with different people needing more like pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Vegan sources of protein

We’ve been led to believe for many years that the only, or main source of protein, can only be obtained from eating animals and dairy, but this is not true.

Did you ever stop to think where the animals we once consumed get their protein from?  Most animals like elephants, rhinos, giraffes and gorillas are strong and fit and live long (without human interference of course) and only munch on plants – and they sure don’t look protein deficient to me!

So, wouldn’t it make more sense to mimic what these animals eat for protein (i.e plants), instead of eating them?


Quinoa is high in protein

Vegetable sources of protein

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Collard greens
  • Parsley
  • Broccoli
  • Bok Choi
  • Mustard Greens
  • Watercress
  • Cauliflower
  • Arugula aka Rocket
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Asparagus
  • Squash
  • Courgette/zucchini
  • Sprouted beans
  • Broccoli
  • Mange tout
  • Mushrooms
  • Sweetcorn (be careful with sweetcorn as it may be GMO)

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Apricots are high in protein

Fruits high in protein

  • Apricots
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Passion fruit
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Nectarines
  • Starfruit
  • Guava
  • Mulberries
  • Jackfruit
  • Pomegranate
  • Kumquat
  • Blackberries
  • Peaches
  • Cantaloupe
  • Currants
  • Dry coconut

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Chia seeds – protein, protein, protein!

Nuts and seeds high in protein

  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Almonds
  • Flaxseeds (aka linseeds)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Chesnuts
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pine nuts
  • Macadamia

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Darker grains of rice, and wild rice, contain high amounts of protein

Grains high in protein

  • Quinoa
  • Teff
  • Buckwheat groats
  • Bulgur
  • Amaranth
  • Kamut
  • Wild rice
  • Spelt
  • Millet
  • Couscous
  • Brown, red and black rice
  • Barley
  • Semolina

Other sources of protein

  • Edamame
  • Soy (tofu, tempeh)
  • Lentils
  • Soba noodles
  • Peanut butter
  • Navy beans
  • Peas
  • Lima beans
  • Sprirulina…to name a few!

Too much protein?

Most of us have heard the phrase “too much of anything isn’t always good”, and that also applies to the consumption of protein.

Too much protein consumption (especially low carb, high protein combos) can put added pressure on the kidneys due to the higher levels of nitrogen introduced into the body which the kidneys need to filter out of the blood.

The kidneys filter nitrogen which passes through urine, but too much nitrogen can lead to potential kidney damage.  The kidneys may be small, but you do not want to f*ck up their vitalfunction (and I speak from experience)!

As well as too much protein putting pressure on the kidneys as they struggle to break down the excess nitrogen levels, the nitrogen is broken down into ammonia – which is normally converted to urea by the liver –  which can often leave an unpleasant urine-like odour from sweat and can also affect brain function.


Flaxseeds aka linseeds are a great alternative to protein shakes/supplements

Protein supplements

People who work out and/or body build often consume extra protein in the form of protein supplements and shakes like whey, soy and casein with most vegans opting for the soy option. But as the name suggests, they are ‘supplements’ and often carry a long list of ingredients and many are highly processed.

As an alternative to protein shakes/supplements, add protein rich plants like hemp seeds and/or flax seeds (aka linseeds) to your smoothie instead.

So there you have it people! There are many sources where vegans can get their vegan, and can do so without killing a single animal! 

Published by Naija Vegan