Plant-based diets are on the rise, with over 600,000 vegans now in the UK, the number of vegans quadrupled between 2014 and 2019. And the trend is set to continue further, with restaurants, food producers and manufacturers offering more plant-based options and vegan protein than ever before. Not only that but performance athletes such as Novac Djokovic, Lewis Hamilton, Lionel Messi and Serena Williams are all reporting massive improvements in energy, performance and stamina since moving over to a plant diet, proving it is not only good for the environment and animals but for your health too.
But for those on a plant-based diet (or wanting to start), it is important to ensure you are eating enough essential nutrients so as not to become deficient. Vegans need to pay particular attention to their sources of protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B12 as these can be harder to find when only eating plant foods.
So here are a few of our favourite plant-based protein sources to give you some inspiration.
Pea Protein (Vegan Protein Powder)
Pea protein is a staple protein source for those eating a plant-based diet. With 80% protein content, it is an easily digestible, hypoallergenic protein source that is a preferable alternative to whey or soya protein. Pea protein powder is also very low in fat but high in iron, making it a popular choice for athletes and gym-goers.
It has a very mild taste, making it ideal for adding to smoothies, shakes and protein snacks. Pea protein is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and low in carbs, meaning it is suitable for a range of dietary requirements.
To add to this pea protein is fantastic value for money. You get a lot of protein bang for your buck compared to alternative protein souces.
Pumpkin Protein (Vegan Protein Powder)
Pumpkin protein powder is made from the seeds of the pumpkin. Containing 60% protein it is a nutritionally dense addition to plant-based foods and drinks. Pumpkin protein is rich in omega 6 and 9, vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron, copper and plant sterols.
Pumpkin protein tastes amazing, similar in flavour to a delicious nut butter. It is perfect to add to energy balls, shakes, breakfast bowls and lots more.
Our pumpkin protein powder is grown in the EU and therefore has a lower carbon footprint than many other proteins.
Spirulina is perhaps the most well-known and popular of the ‘super greens’. Prized for its rich nutritional profile, spirulina actually contains more protein per 100g than beef, with 70% protein content.
Spirulina contains all 9 amino acids, a huge spectrum of vitamins including a number of B vitamins and is very bioavailable. Spirulina is known for being highly effective at boosting energy levels, supporting the immune system and regulating metabolism. Head to our website to check out the full nutritional profile (it’s a big list).
Despite its host of benefits, spirulina doesn’t have the best reputation for its taste. A little green and slimy it may be, but it’s easy to hide in green smoothies, juices and breakfast bowls. We have even spotted it being used in cakes and mains on Masterchef!
Nutritional yeast is best known as a source of B complex vitamins, in particular, B12. However, many plant-based people overlook the fact it is also a fantastic protein source. Containing 36.6g of protein per 100g, nutritional yeast is perhaps one of the easiest foods to add to a vegan diet for a protein boost. It has a wonderful, nutty, cheesy flavour that can be used in soups, stews, curries, raw cheese, sauces, home-made crackers, cauliflower ‘cheese’, or for topping pasta or salads.
Not only this, nutritional yeast is an excellent source of dietary fibre and trace minerals. zinc, selenium, manganese, molybdenum and magnesium. Our nutritional yeast is grown in the EU and is of the highest quality.
Hemp seeds are a nutritionally complete food source containing an abundant and easily digestible protein profile. It contains 5g of protein per tablespoon of hemp, comparable to that of soybeans. The hemp seed is nature’s best and most balanced source of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs).
One of the original ‘superfoods’, hemp contains the full spectrum of minerals including calcium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper and manganese. Along with a rich vitamin content, hemp seeds have been described as ‘“Natures most perfectly balanced oil” by Udo Erasmus.
This humble seed is gluten-free, vegan, raw, organic and non-GMO. It has a subtle nutty flavour and is very versatile. Use it to make your own hemp milk, sprinkle it on salads, use in smoothies, granola or breakfasts, mix with yoghurt or sweeteners to make puddings or combine with other nuts and seeds to make your own trail mix.