Are You Eating Enough Protein? Plus Plant-Based Diet Tips

Many people are switching to a vegan or whole foods plant-based diet for health, environmental, animal rights, performance enhancement or additional reasons. As long time plant-based elite athletes for over 14 years and certified in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell plus an M.S. in Plant-Based Nutrition for Athletes, we wanted to share our tips on how to successfully become and stay plant-based.

Torre Washington Fruit_mini

Long term vegan and pro bodybuilder Torre Washington

This series of blogs will focus on the common mistakes people make on a diets with real solutions on how to thrive on a whole foods, plant-based vegan diet.

Mistake #1: “But Where Do I Get My Protein From?”

Whether you eat a vegan diet or not, you may worry about if you eat enough protein. In reality, most Americans consume too much protein. What’s the medical definition of protein deficiency? It’s called kwashiorkor and you probably never heard of it because it doesn’t happen very often. People do not fail on a vegan diet from a lack of protein. Instead, people sometimes fail on a vegan diet because they do not eat enough calories especially if they are very active.

From the Physican’s Committee for Responsible Medicine: “An average women needs about 46 grams of protein per day; the average man about 56. If a person were to eat nothing but broccoli for a day, a 2,000-calorie diet would provide a whopping 146 grams of protein. Yes, green vegetables are loaded with protein. A person eating only lentils would get even more—2,000 calories’ worth of lentils pack 157 grams. Of course, no one would eat only broccoli or only lentils, and it is much better to combine foods—beans, grains, vegetables, and fruits—to get complete nutrition. The point is that plant-based foods clearly provide abundant protein. The average American actually consumes too much protein, according to the CDC, with most people getting nearly double the amount they actually need.”

So, instead of focusing on eating enough protein on a plant-based diet, focus on eating lots of whole plant foods. Yes, you get to (and HAVE to) eat lots of food! What other ‘diet’ tells you to eat LOTS of food? Plants are nutrient dense and mostly low in calories which is super helpful for most Americans since they eat too many calories and then gain weight. If you are not consuming enough food and therefore calories on a plant-based diet, you will feel tired and weak in the long run. Instead, focus on eating LOTS of whole plant foods and you will get plenty of protein, macro & micro nutrients and feel amazing.

Concerned about going plant-based and not being strong enough as an athlete? Don’t worry. There are many professional bodybuilders, weightlifters and endurance athletes that are long time vegans.

Also, when you go plant-based, you do not need to worry about ‘complete proteins’ or ‘protein combining’ which are scientifically proven myths. There are many sources out there for plant-based recipes that are abundant in protein. A good place to start is Forks Over Knives which offer lots of 100% plant-based recipes.

If you are still concerned about getting enough protein, it’s easy to get additional plant-based protein from supplements such as Hammer Nutrition’s Vegan Protein which has 20 grams of protein per serving. Get Hammer Protein for 15% off HERE.

Finally, if you are interested in a plant-based nutrition coach, Lindsey Hintz , M.S. in Plant-Based Nutrition, is the best out there. If you are interested in a plant-based coach for sport, I’ve had tremendous success as a coach for over 7 years and love helping athletes of all levels succeed.

Look out for more blogs from us soon with more tips on how to lose weight, gain energy and thrive on a plant-based diet. Sign up for our newsletter HERE

Plants for the win,

Damian Stoy & Lindsey Hintz