In the past week since I started this vegan challenge I have gotten a lot of positive responses, as well as negative. Many of my family and friends are concerned, that by eating a vegan diet, I will not be able to get the protein and nutrients that I would from meat or dairy products. The go on and on about how meat is a “complete protein” with all nine amino acids. What they don’t know is that there are so many other delicious things they can eat which are considered a “complete protein”. You also do not need to get all eight amino acid from one food source. I recently found out that hummus with whole grain pita bread together create a “complete protein” (while is great since I have a tendency to consume it in mass quantities on a daily basis).
You don’t really need to worry about getting enough protein for as long as you are eating a variety of unrefined grains, seeds, nuts, and vegetables throughout the day you will more than exceed your daily protein requirement. For more information about how to find protein in a vegan or vegetarian diet check out the article "Protein in a Vegan Diet" by Reed Mangles, Ph.D., R.D. Too much protein can also be harmful rather than just help you gain more muscle after a day at the gym. Yes, you should have some protein 30 minutes after you exercise, but don’t overdo it for it will cause stress on your body which will result in excessive calcium loss, increased risk of dehydration, and possible kidney or liver damage.
Today after hitting the gym I had a blueberry smoothie with soy protein powder. I picked up this protein powder at Trader Joe’s for not only does it have 25g of protein but a long list of other vitamins such as B12, Iron, Calcium, and many other vitamins. If you look at the nutrition label on the back it will look similar to that of your daily multivitamin with a long list of he vitamins it contains.On days that I use the soy protein powder I treat it as a multivitamin for that is really what it is, a multivitamin with protein.
Blueberry Smoothie with Soy Protein Powder
1 cup of frozen blueberries
1 cup of soy milk
1/2 to 1 scoop of soy protein powder
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth, and serve.