People who adopt a vegan lifestyle often base their choices on preventing animal cruelty. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t want to build stronger muscles with a high-protein vegan diet.
To do so, they need a macronutrient many with this lifestyle lack. Here are nine foods to eat on a high-protein vegan diet that will fuel your weight room efforts.
Edamame is the fancy term for a type of soybean that you can eat as a snack. It also contains 20% of your recommended daily protein intake without requiring a single cow or chicken to suffer. The fiber in each seed helps to keep you full.
Soybeans contain natural phytoestrogens, which imitate the body’s natural hormones. It could help you prevent unpleasant menopause symptoms such as night sweats. Furthermore, eating sufficient soy products can help women prevent various reproductive system cancers.
Unlike sugar snap peas, you don’t eat the pods. You can find this snack already shelled or waiting for you to peel and eat.
Nuts contain oodles of protein. They also come chock-full of antioxidants, compounds that help your body defeat damaging free radicals. They do so by providing missing electrons, preventing free radicals from swiping these particles from living cells, creating damage and death.
Nuts have another distinct snacking advantage. They’re full of minerals like zinc, magnesium and selenium, all crucial for proper neurological function. As such, they can help stave off depression, which can hinder your weight loss efforts by making it more challenging to exercise.
Seeds are another food to include on your high-protein vegan diet. They’re a snap to incorporate into other dishes. For example, you can throw a handful of pepitas on a salad as an alternative to croutons or blend them into your morning smoothie.
Seeds might give women trying to lose weight the advantage of more well-balanced hormones. Seed-cycling refers to eating sesame, sunflower, pumpkin and flax seeds at various points in your menstrual cycle. The lignans these plant-based proteins contain help keep your estrogen and progesterone levels balanced.
Sometimes, you feel like a crunch — sometimes, you don’t. Nut butter offers the protein-packed goodness of the whole nut in a creamy, spreadable form. Your biggest challenge may be finding brands that eschew excess added sugars and instead possess only one or two ingredients.
Peanut butter is the apparent choice, although it comes from a type of legume. You can also find hazelnut, almond, cashew and walnut butter. Seeds offer even more flexibility, such as tahini, a dip made from ground sunflower seeds.
You can use nut butter to add protein to wraps. Slather some on a piece of whole-grain toast for goodness that will keep you full until lunch.
Nutritional yeast belongs on every vegan’s shopping list, even if they don’t strive for a high-protein diet. This substance offers your best plant-based source of vitamin B12. A lack of this nutrient creates pernicious anemia, a condition also affecting those who lack intrinsic factor for absorption.
You’ll find nutritional yeast in recipes for everything from smoothies to vegan pot roasts. Because it’s inactive, you don’t have to worry about it making your cruelty-free meatloaf rise.
All varieties of yogurt are high in protein. However, vegans want to stick to a non-dairy version so that their meal remains uncontaminated by animal products.
Even though non-dairy yogurt contains no milk, it’s still a rich source of probiotics. These substances may enhance your weight loss efforts by adding beneficial bacteria to your intestinal microbiota. These colonies of good “germs” perform many functions, including signaling your brain when you feel full.
No list of high-protein vegan diet foods is complete without mentioning beans. These legumes come in various shapes and sizes and can add substantial bulk to your diet for a relatively low number of calories.
Beans aren’t only for burritos. You can make a big pot of black bean soup to warm up your winter days. Chili isn’t the same without pinto beans.
Tofu and tempeh both come from soybeans, an excellent source of vegan protein. Tofu has little flavor, making it ideal for soaking up the taste of various sauces. Tempeh has a nutty flavor, making it a popular choice for vegan burgers.
You can find both products in natural food stores. If you avoid soy for hormonal reasons, you can find tofu and tempeh made with other kinds of beans, such as black beans or chickpeas.
Hemp hearts are the seed of the hemp plant. Don’t worry — these foods won’t get you high. They contain too little of the active ingredient, THC.
However, these seeds are high in protein and minerals. You can toss them in your morning granola with a few berries or mix them into a pesto.
People turn to veganism because they recognize animals as sentient beings that can feel pain. However, cutting out meat means it’s harder to get enough muscle-building macronutrients3. Try adding these nine foods to your high-protein vegan diet and reap the cruelty-free results.