The biggest misconception about a raw vegan diet is that it lacks sufficient sources of protein. Here’s why that’s a myth.
What is Protein?
Let’s start with what protein is. You’ve probably heard about “Macros,” or macronutrients, which are the primary components of our diet. The prefix “macro” comes from the Greek word, “makros,” meaning long or large. Fittingly, our bodies require large quantities of macronutrients to function properly. The three main categories of macronutrients are carbohydrates, fat, and protein. In this article, we’ll be focusing on the latter.
Protein is made up of organic compounds called amino acids. Without getting too deep into biochemistry, suffice it to say that amino acids make up the structure and control the function and regulation of most of our body’s tissues and organs.
So yeah, pretty important. There are 20 amino acids in total, both essential and nonessential. Nonessential amino acids are sufficiently synthesized within our own bodies, but 9 of these 20 amino acids – the essential amino acids – must be derived from our diet. Foods containing all 9 of these essential amino acids are referred to as, “complete proteins.” It doesn’t matter where your essential amino acids come from, whether you eat them all at once, or get them from several different foods. As long as you’re eating a good variety of foods, you should have no problem getting all the protein you need.
Now that we have a better understanding of proteins, we can look at some plant based sources. All fruits and vegetables contain at least small amounts of protein, but some stand out above the rest. Nutritional information from the USDA.
Raw vegan complete proteins:
1. Nutritional Yeast – 46g protein per 100g
2. Hemp Seeds – 32g protein per 100g
3. Pumpkin Seeds – 18g protein per 100g
4. Chia – 16.5g protein per 100g
5. Quinoa – 15g protein per 100g
6. Amaranth – 14g protein per 100g
7. Buckwheat – 13.25g protein per 100g
8. Edamame – 11g protein per 100g
Raw vegan foods high in protein:
1. spirulina – 57g protein per 100g
2. peanuts – 25.8g protein per 100g
3. beans – 21g protein per 100g
4. almonds – 21g protein per 100g
5. spelt – 15g protein per 100g
6. wild rice – 15g protein per 100g
7. chickpeas – 10g protein per 100g
8. lentils – 9g protein per 100g
9. peas – 5g protein per 100g
10. dark leafy greens – 3g protein per 100g
11. brussels sprouts – 3.4g protein per 100g
12. artichokes – 3.3g protein per 100g
13. coconuts – 3.3g protein per 100g
14. corn – 3g protein per 100g
15. broccoli – 2.8g protein per 100g
16. guava – 2.6g protein per 100g
17. asparagus – 2.2g protein per 100g
18. sweet potatoes – 1.6g protein per 100g
19. mulberries – 1.4g protein per 100g
20. blackberries – 1.4g protein per 100g
21. nectarines – 1.1g protein per 100g
22. bananas – 1.1g protein per 100g