“How do you get your protein?” and other things you always wanted to know about vegan nutrition

April 15, 2023

We know that most people considering a vegan diet have one main concern: nutrition. Specifically, protein.

Just last week I once again had someone ask me how I get enough protein. You’ve probably thought this or heard this as well. Well, worry not—it’s easy to get enough protein on a plant-based diet. We have been brainwashed by our society that only a big slab of meat with each meal will do the trick. But that is not the case at all.

The secret to healthy nutrition for any diet is to eat whole foods based meals. Especially ones that are mostly vegetables, fruits and legumes. Read this great article from our recent issue of Minnesota Veg Living. In it, registered dietitian Suzy Sorensen, spells it out for you. And if you’d like a good visual of what to eat, see this plant-plate. There are now lots of vegan options that don’t fit this model—which is great. But you don’t want that to be the bulk of your diet. Save them for tasty treats.

You may be saying to yourself that you prefer the junk food—I get ya! But, the trick to enjoying the healthy options is to find good recipes, the right spices and quality ingredients. And to learn how to cook them well.  We have got you covered!

Later this week we will post a blog focused on recipes and cookbook recommendations. There are also a lot of them on our website. We also have a cooking class and a vegan recipe club as part of  VegWeek—and every month

And to help you answer when your friend asks you about protein, come to our potluck on Sunday.  At the potluck, we’ll exchange effective ways to answer such common questions. Including how to reframe the conversation about plant-based nutrition (“Where do you get your fiber?”)!

We hope these tips alleviate any concerns you may have had. You should be all set for a healthy and happy experience. If you have any questions or concerns you can reach out to your doctor or a registered dietitian. Or email us and we can refer you to some additional information. 

Check out these community quotes: 

  • “I’ve been eating this way for a long time now so I’ve developed a pretty good sense for meal planning and have gathered some of my favorite sources for good recipes. I also try to stay up-to-date with my resources for plant-based nutrition (anything by Michael Greger is great) and make sure I’m communicating annually (or more often) with my doctor and having blood tests done to check levels of vitamin B/B12, vitamin D, iron/ferritin, etc.” Cari Lombardi
  • “I don’t really think about it anymore, but I did a *lot* of research when I first went vegan. I drink a lot of soymilk to get calcium and B12, and tofu for calcium. try to concentrate on whole grains when they’re an option, there’s nutrients beyond fiber that get cut out.” Abbey Feola
  • “Eat lots of natural, unprocessed food… fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. You’ll be good.” Trent Nelson
  • “I recommend lots of beans, veggies, and fruit. It’s important to plan for that when shopping. Lately, for veggies, I’ve been getting baby bok choy and carrots, which keep well throughout the week, and a good vegan dip, like Bitchin’ Sauce, to help me snack healthily.” Laura Matanah 
  • “I eat mostly WFPB diet and take a B12 when I remember.” Stephanie Paquin
  • “I drink Green smoothies and take other supplements.” Jill Schonteich

Thanks for our community members who shared their tips and inspiration.

Much of this information was also shared in email form during April 2023 Veg Week.

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