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Must-Have Foods To Eat: High Protein on Vegan Diet!

Must-Have Foods To Eat: High Protein on Vegan Diet!
By Ryback Reeves


How many times have you heard you can’t build muscle on a vegan or plant-based diet? It is one of the reasons I never looked into it being a pro wrestler and someone who calls himself “The Big Guy” at 290 lbs. That was until I came to a point in my life health wise that something inside of me was screaming to look into it. I have been full vegan for 23 weeks now and guess what, I still weigh 290 lbs and actually look and feel better than when I started! There will be more blogs on that, but for today I want to share the must-haves for your kitchen cabinets and fridge if you want to hit high protein numbers on the vegan diet. This is a simple and straightforward blog where I will list the foods with a brief summary on them and all you have to do is get them and incorporate them into your diet. It’s that simple.

Nutritional Yeast Flakes

This is at the top for me with 8 grams of complete protein per serving and is perfect for adding onto vegetables or anything for that matter. I often time out 4-6 tbsp on my meals and get an additional 16-24 grams of protein from this alone. It’s not overly expensive and it tastes great, giving food a better texture, I find, and it’s low in carbs with a good amount of fiber. It may be the perfect vegan food for someone trying to build muscle. Oh, and it’s packed with B vitamins for energy!

Seitan

Seitan also known as “Wheat meat" has been around for centuries, although the name "seitan" (pronounced SAY-tan) is a much more recent development. Although it is made from wheat, seitan has little in common with flour or bread. Seitan becomes surprisingly similar to the look and texture of meat when it's cooked, making it a popular meat substitute for vegetarians and vegans alike. While high in protein (23 grams per serving), it doesn’t contain the amino acid lysine, so it isn’t a complete protein. Proteins are made of building blocks known as amino acids, nine of which are essential, meaning our bodies can’t produce them on their own and we must get them from the food we eat. It’s these essential amino acids that differentiate complete proteins from incomplete proteins. Having a diverse diet helps assure that you complete this protein with lysine and adding things like legumes, quinoa, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, soy, or what I often do is have 1-2 servings of our Feed Me More Nutrition Finish It BCAAs, which are vegan-friendly and I never have to worry about it. You also don’t need to eat the lysine right at the same time for the proteins to complete later, and again eating a diverse diet ensures this is never an issue. I typically add 1-2 servings of Seitan a day for 23-46 grams of added protein and this is also low-carb!

Hemp Hearts

With 10 grams of protein per serving and low carbs along with high omega 3 and 6 fats, hemp hearts are another great way to get added protein to your diet. Technically a nut, hemp seeds are very nutritious. They have a mild, nutty flavor and I simply just sprinkle them onto my meals. Hemp hearts provide similar amounts of protein as beef and lamb — 30 grams of hemp seeds, or 2–3 tbsp, provide about 10 grams of protein and are a complete protein!

Plant-Based Meats

I absolutely love these and there are many different brands, but the two that are my go-tos are Beyond Meat and the No Kill brand. I laugh when I see people talk about how these are so bad and evil when they are simply plant-based foods that are Non-GMO and Non-Soy, although soy isn’t bad at all and the majority of the negative press it’s ever gotten is speculated to be funded by the meat industry. I love the No Kill chicken and a package of it contains 100 grams of protein and only 8 grams of fat for 4 servings! Adding this into 1-2 meals a day makes hitting my 300+ grams of protein per day a breeze, and I’m a big advocate of using it. You don’t need this though to eat high protein on a vegan diet, but I find it makes it much more convenient and fun.

Plant Protein Powders

Alright, this is where I’m going to be biased because personally I have yet to have a plant-based protein shake that wasn’t ridiculously thick and/or just flat out tasted like garbage. Most of these are made with pea and/or rice protein or with hemp protein and despite the taste, etc., they do make it easier getting your protein in on a plant-based diet. As the owner of Feed Me More Nutrition, I always have had vegan-friendly supplements because as a business owner, I want to appeal to everyone, and while it costs a bit more, it always just made sense to me. The only thing that wasn’t vegan was our Grass-fed Whey Protein, but after becoming vegan and learning about the dairy industry, I chose to discontinue them and have replaced them with our new ISO Hungry Plant Powered Protein. I can say that there isn’t another plant protein out there anywhere close to this, as it mixes like whey and tastes like a whey protein shake. This isn’t a blog to promote it, but I consume 60-80 grams a day and it plays a big part in making it easier to consume high protein. Find a brand you like and it will make your life easier convenience wise!

Tofu

As I mentioned above, soy gets a bad rap, but I just don’t buy into it. I consume a decent amount of it and my lab work has not shown any elevation of estrogen. Tofu is a good source of protein and contains all nine essential amino acids. I usually buy a package or two of high protein tofu from the store and add it to one meal during the day. Often times a lot of the awesome dishes you can get eating out use soy in their foods and it tastes amazing to me. It is considered a super food and if you have concerns of estrogen, then I would say just avoid it, but ultimately, I would say consume it for 4-6 weeks and get your estrogen levels checked prior and after, so you can see what I already know about a lot of the negative press it gets.