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Vegan Protein Sources

By Thomas Stearns Lee, NMD

Plant foods contain the same eight amino acids as animal foods do, only in differing amounts.  As long as you are getting enough calories from a healthy diet, plant foods give you all the amino acids you need, by themselves or in combination with one another.

Foods listed below are considered complete proteins, meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids:

  • Nuts

  • Soy foods, such as tofu, tempeh, miso, and soy milk

  • Sprouted seeds -- each type of sprout has differing proportions of nutrients, so it's best to eat a variety of them

  • Grains, especially amaranth and quinoa, are highest in protein and are high-quality proteins

  • Beans and legumes, especially when eaten raw

  • Spirulina and chorella (blue-green algae), which are over 60 percent protein

Common Sources of Essential Amino Acids

Histidine:  Apple, pomogranates, alfalfa, beets, carrots, celery, cucumber, dandelion, endive, garlic, radish, spinach, turnip greens.

Arginine:  Alfalfa, beets, carrots, celery, cucumbers, green vegetables, leeks, lettuce, potatoes, radishes, parsnips, nutritional yeast.

Valine:  Apples, almonds, pomegranates, beets, carrots, celery, dandelion greens, lettuce, okra, parsley, parsnips, squash, tomatoes, turnips, nutritional yeast.

Tryptophan:  Alfalfa, brussel sprouts, carrots, celery, chives, dandelion greens, endive, fennel, snap beans, spinach, turnips, nutritional yeast.

Threnoine:  Papayas, alfalfa sprouts, carrots, green leafy vegetables such as celery, collards, kale, and lettuce (especially iceberg), lima beans, laver (Nori -- a sea vegetable).

Phenylalanine:  Apples, pineapples, beets, carrots, parsley, spinach, tomatoes, nutritional yeast.

Methionine:  Apples, pineapples, Brazil nuts, filberts, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chives, dock (sorrel), garlic, horseradish, kale, watercress.

Lysine:  Apples, apricots, grapes, papayas, pears, alfalfa, beets, carrots, celery, cucumber, dandelion greens, parsley, spinach, turnip greens.

Leucine:  Avocados, papayas, olives, coconut, sunflower seeds.

Isoleucine:  Avocados, papayas, olives, coconut, sunflower seeds.

Further Information

A vegan protein calculator is available here at the Healthy Vegan Recipes website, which helps you to easily determine your individual protein needs based on height, weight, age, gender, and activity level.

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Yeast Balance Complex

These products greatly help in the effective digestion of dietary protein.  They are not available in retail stores, so save time and money by ordering them online today!

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