(I would add Nutritional Yeast, Kale, Sunflower seeds, Romaine Lettuce, Sprouted Seeds & Beans, Mushrooms and Corn to that last)
The truth is, it is extremely difficult in Western society to be deficient in protein.
You don’t even need thick steaks if you’re a bodybuilder or any other kind of meat or dairy product if you’re a top-notch athlete: there are many top bodybuilders, ironmen, ultra-marathon runners and other sports people who are vegans.
Several members of the US Rio Olympic team are on a plantbased diet. Champion tennis players Serena and Venus Williams are on plantbased diets and Novak Djokovic recently opened his own vegan restaurant. Arnold Schwarzanegger is advocating transitioning to a plantbased diet! Former President Bill Clinton changed to a vegan diet when he had bypass surgery. Carl Lewis, champion athlete, also competed on a vegan diet.
Almost all wholefoods contain some protein to varying amounts, so all you need to do is eat a wide variety of *real* foods, as opposed to processed, chemical-laden sugary ‘foods’ that call themselves vegan and you will get all the quality protein and nutrients you need.
Excessive protein intake can overload the kidneys, make them work harder and cause dehydration.
Research from Australia and the US shows that a varied vegan diet is healthy for both children and adults. Even the the latest US eating guidelines advise more plantbased foods.
I had a meat-eating pregnancy and a vegetarian pregnancy, guess which was healthiest and easiest? The vegetarian one by far. My children were brought up vegetarian, one has always been a keen sports enthusiast and an on-again-off-again vegan, athlete, orienteer, climber and cyclist, while the other has done gymnastics, horse-riding, running, become a lifeguard and gym enthusiast, but nowadays mostly enjoys yoga, swimming and cycling.
One family member has to have a low protein diet for medical reasons and has been plantbased all his life, he’s an outdoor activities leader and specialises in canoeing and climbing.
The babies and toddlers in our family are initially brought up vegan, until they want to choose foods for themselves. Even the ones who choose to occasionally include meat still have a mostly vegetable and fruit content to their diet and all are active, with the older ones being keen cyclists, swimmers, basketball players and Kung fu exponents!
Vegan food is not all brown and boring!* (see below for links to recipes).
It’s mostly about educating yourself and cooking from scratch as much as possible, but you can still find quality vegan convenience food and snacks. And you don’t have to spend hours creating special meals. That certainly wouldn’t work in our household! There are recipes in the blog menu for both savoury, sweet and raw vegan meals as well as some healthy snacks. Instagram is also a great place to find vegan accounts and websites for advice and recipes.
Resources: Vegan Family TV a YouTube channel run by a couple with two young children, it’s fun and informative about their everday lives as vegans. They regulalry try out new products and the girls do their own broadcasts.
The Vegan Society has an article which includes protein requirements and protein sources.
PS Here is a link to a short, informative article about the current trend for protein shakes, protein-added products, the possible overdosing on protein and its feared health repercussions in 10-15 years’ time, especially on teenage boys and men:
Copyright: Chris McGowan