8 protein boosting sources for veggies and vegans

There is a lot of debate about whether or not an individual can get complete protein sources without eating meat, fish, dairy, and eggs. The most important component is getting the right amount of amino acids according to just about any nutritionist who talks on the subject, and they rarely agree completely. So what’s a vegetarian or vegan to do? Combining seems to be the right answer!

Plant foods contain varying amounts of amino acids, and you can manage to get enough of each essential amino acid throughout the day by eating a varied diet and combining complementary plant proteins.

For example, grains like rice are too low in lysine to be considered a complete source of protein. Yet, by also eating lentils or beans, which are higher in lysine, throughout the day, you can be sure to obtain all nine essential amino acids.

Want to get those coveted amino acids in one meal? Here are some foods you can add or combine to help you accomplish the protein levels you feel necessary for radiant health.

We have tried and loved the following foodstuffs. If you don’t want to cook with them, most can be added to your morning smoothie or sprinkled on your cereal.

You will be seeing this term a lot coming up.

Pseudocereal (def.) — A pseudocereal is one of any non-grasses that are used in much the same way as cereals. Their seed can be ground into flour and otherwise used as cereals. Examples of pseudocereals are amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat.

1. Quinoa

Pictured: QUINOA. Medical News Today.

Quinoa is an ancient grain that looks similar to couscous but has a crunchy texture and nutty flavor. As it doesn’t grow from grasses like other cereals and grains, it’s technically considered a pseudocereal and naturally gluten-free. One cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa provides approximately 8 grams of protein. We love this recipe for Mediterranean Quinoa Salad at Runtastic.com (none of are runners!).

Summary: Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that contains 8 grams of protein per 1 cooked cup (185 grams). It’s also a good source of several minerals, including magnesium, iron, and zinc.

2. Tofu, tempeh, and edamame

Tofu, tempeh, and edamame are all made from soybeans and make for excellent plant-based protein sources.

Tofu is made from coagulated soy milk that’s pressed into white blocks and comes in a variety of textures, including silken, firm, and extra-firm. As it’s quite bland, tofu tends to take on the flavor of the foods with which it’s cooked.

A 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of tofu provides approximately 8 grams of protein. It also offers 15% of the Daily Value (DV) for calcium, as well as smaller amounts of potassium and iron.

Tempeh is much chewier and nuttier than tofu and made from fermented soybeans, which are often combined with other seeds and grains to form a firm, dense cake.

Meanwhile, edamame beans are whole, immature soybeans that are green and have a slightly sweet, grassy flavor. They’re usually steamed or boiled and can be enjoyed on their own as a snack. Alternatively, they can be added to salads, soups, or grain bowls.

Three ounces (85 grams) of tempeh contain 11 grams of protein. This serving is also a good source of fiber and iron and contains potassium and calcium.

A 1/2 cup (85 grams) of whole edamame provides 8 grams of protein along with a good amount of fiber, calcium, iron, and vitamin C.

Summary: Tofu, tempeh, and edamame are all derived from whole soybeans and excellent sources of complete protein. A 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of edamame or tofu provides 8 grams of protein, while the same serving of tempeh has 11 grams.

3. Amaranth

Pictured: AMARANTH. Healthline.com.

Amaranth is another pseudocereal that’s a complete source of protein.

Once considered a staple food in Incan, Mayan, and Aztec cultures, it has become a popular gluten-free grain alternative.

Amaranth is a versatile grain that can be boiled for a side dish or porridge, or popped in a skillet to add texture to granola bars or salads. Similarly to quinoa, it has a delicate, nutty taste and retains its crunch even when cooked.

When ground into a flour, amaranth can also be used in gluten-free baking.

One cup (246 grams) of cooked amaranth provides approximately 9 grams of protein. It’s also an excellent source of manganese, magnesium phosphorus, and iron.

In fact, 1 cup (246 grams) of cooked amaranth provides more than 100% of the DV for manganese, an essential mineral that’s important for brain health.

If you can’t find amaranth locally, you can buy it online.

Amaranth is a gluten-free pseudocereal that provides 9 grams of protein per 1 cooked cup (246 grams). It also provides more than 100% of the DV for manganese.

4. Buckwheat 

While it’s not as high in protein as quinoa or amaranth, buckwheat is another pseudocereal that’s a plant-based source of complete protein.

Nutty in flavor, the hulled kernels, or groats, can be cooked similarly to oatmeal or ground into a flour and used in baking. In Japanese cooking, buckwheat is most commonly consumed in the form of noodles, which are called soba.

One cup (168 grams) of cooked buckwheat groats provides approximately 6 grams of protein.

This pseudocereal is also a good source of many essential minerals, including phosphorus, manganese, copper, magnesium, and iron.

You can buy buckwheat in specialty stores or online.

Summary: Buckwheat is another gluten-free grain that’s a source of complete protein, with 6 grams of protein per 1 cooked cup (168 grams).

5. Spirulina 

Pictured: SPIRULINA. Longevity super food. Pep up your smoothies with spirulina. Especially beneficial to runners. RunnersWorld.com.

Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that’s a popular supplement among those on vegan and vegetarian diets.

While it can be purchased as tablets, the powdered form of spirulina can be easily added to smoothies, granola bars, soups, and salads for a boost of nutrition.

Just 1 tablespoon (7 grams) of dried spirulina provides 4 grams of protein.

In addition to being a source of complete protein, spirulina is rich in antioxidants and a good source of several B vitamins, copper, and iron.

If you would like to give spirulina a try, you can find it in specialty stores or online.

Summary: Spirulina, a supplement made from blue-green algae, is a source of complete protein. One tablespoon (7 grams) provides 4 grams of protein, as well as good amounts of B vitamins, copper, and iron.

6. Hemp Seeds (or Hearts)

Coming from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa, hemp seeds are members of the same species as marijuana, but they contain only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of marijuana.

As a result, hemp seeds are unlikely to contain enough THC to cause a high feeling or any of the other psychoactive effects that are associated with marijuana.

However, there is concern that hemp seeds could become contaminated with TCH from other parts of the plant during harvesting or storing. Therefore, it’s important to purchase seeds from trusted brands that test for THC.

Technically a nut, the edible whites inside of hemp seeds are referred to as hemp hearts and incredibly nutritious.

In addition to being a source of complete protein, hemp hearts are particularly rich in the essential fatty acids linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3).

Three tablespoons (30 grams) of raw, hulled hemp seeds boast an impressive 10 grams of protein and 15% of the DV for iron. They’re also a good source of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and zinc.

Hemp hearts have a mild nutty flavor and can be sprinkled over yogurt or salads, added to smoothies, or included in homemade granola and energy bars.

These tasty seeds are widely available in stores and online.

Summary: Hemp seeds are often sold as hemp hearts and incredibly nutritious. In addition to providing 10 grams of protein in 3 tablespoons (30 grams), they’re a good source of essential fatty acids, iron, potassium, and several other essential minerals.

7. Chia seeds 

Chia seed pudding.
Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding. SimpleVeganista.com.

Chia seeds are tiny round seeds that are often black or white.

They’re unique in that they can absorb liquid and form a gel-like substance. As a result, they can be used to make puddings and pectin-free jams. They’re also commonly used as an egg substitute in vegan baking.

However, chia seeds can also be used raw as a topping for oatmeal or salads, mixed into baked goods, or added to smoothies.

Two tablespoons (28 grams) of chia seeds provide 4 grams of protein. They’re also a good source of omega-3s, iron, calcium, magnesium, and selenium.

If you would like to give chia seeds a try, stock up at your local supermarket or online.

Trust us. You will want to make this Vanilla Chia Pudding (pictured above). Easy +4 ingredients! Sooooooo good for you.

Summary: Chia seeds are tiny round seeds that contain all nine essential amino acids. Two tablespoons (28 grams) contain 4 grams of protein, as well as good amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and several essential minerals.

8. Rice and Beans

Rice and beans are a classic pairing that’s a source of complete protein.

Both brown and white rice are low in lysine but high in methionine. In contrast, beans are high in lysine but low in methionine. As such, combining them allows you to get enough of each, as well as the remaining seven essential amino acids, to count as a complete protein. Hooray!

Related Reading

The Vegan Pantry: Protein »

Advocate From Your Plate »

Horses Are Not “Its” »

Fund for Horses Logo

Richard Branson: ‘Animals will no longer need to be killed en masse for food’

Stem cells. Image from Drug Target View.

by Charlotte Pointing | 4 November 19

“A future where animals are no longer killed en masse for food is on the horizon, says Richard Branson.”

The British founder of Virgin believes that, in the not-to-distant future, meat will be slaughter-free and grown in a lab.

He made the comments in a blog post after tasting clean meat developed by Memphis Meats. The California-based food technology company served Branson and his guests sustainable, cultured chicken at a dinner party.

Dr. Uma Valeti — the co-founder and CEO of Memphis Meats — was also in attendance at the meal. After Branson and his guests finished eating, they were told the chicken was grown directly from animal cells.

According to Branson, Valeti worked in stem cell research before turning his hand to growing meat in a lab. Together with Branson, American business magnate Bill Gates is an investor in his company. Meat giants Tyson Foods and Cargill are also investors.

So, what do you think? Would you eat this sort of “meat”?

I dunno. I have never trusted Tysons or Cargills who are responsible for so much of the factory farming that goes on right now.

I am no scientist, so correct me if I am wrong, but animals would still be used, but just for their “cells” right? What would collecting stem cells from them for something on a giant scale like this entail? How many animals would they need to take “cells” from to feed masses of people meat made this way?

I searched the internet to find out how stem cells are collected from humans for stem cell therapy thinking it might give me a clue when it comes to animals. I found this:

Adult stem cells can be isolated from the body in different ways, depending on the tissue. Blood stem cells, for example, can be taken from a donor’s bone marrow, from blood in the umbilical cord when a baby is born, or from a person’s circulating blood.

It all sounds icky to me, but then I faint at the sight of blood. I think I’ll stick to fruit, veg, nuts and grains.

In the meantime, I bet Jane can shed light on this for us, whether or not this is a good idea or not regarding the animals.

The Vegan Pantry: Protein

Grocery cart with fruit and veg.

Hey there. It’s Saturday. Hooray!

I’ve been getting lots of requests to talk about creating a vegan pantry. There are loads of resources on the internet, but if you are newly vegan or still just thinking about it, most of what you see listed probably sounds foreign. So let’s talk day-to-day eating, with what you are already pretty much used to.

But first, here’s my main tip. Dining a’la vegan, and cooking for it, need not turn your world upside down making you eat things you would never dream of otherwise.

Basically what you are cutting out is meat and dairy. Some people like meat replacements. I never did except for veggie burgers (if they qualify).

In this post, I am going to talk about where to get your protein from, so you can figure out how to stock your kitchen.


Getting enough protein is what many folks worry about the most when changing over to a vegan diet, because they’ve believed their whole lives that you must have meat on your plate to do it.

Edamame is a young soy bean that is harvested early. It contains complete protein, calcium, vitamin C, and other key nutrients.Edamame is a young soy bean that is harvested early. It contains complete protein, calcium, vitamin C, and other key nutrients.
Edamame is a young soy bean that is harvested early. It contains complete protein, calcium, vitamin C, and other key nutrients.

VEGGIES. You can build a solid meal with loads of veggies and get plenty of protein, including these high octane choices — edamame[1], lentils, pinto beans, chickpeas[2] (what hummus is made from), mung beans, fava beans (starting to sound weird now right? wink!) lima beans, green peas, brussel sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, spinach and potatoes.

Potatoes get a bad rap, but potatoes are packed with protein and vitamins C and B-6, especially if you eat the skin. Then there’s the beloved avocado. A medium avocado will give you 4.02 grams of protein.

WILD RICE, NUTS AND SEEDS. These foods are mega good for you and add protein to your diet — wild rice (yum) and nuts such as almonds, pistachios (great for coating stuff), almonds (terrific for your complexion), pecans, and walnuts (any nut really). And how about chia seeds. Have you ever tried them? Oh, and sesame seeds! 1 Tbs will give you 1.6 grams of protein.

TOFU. Now we get to what most people turn their noses up at the thought of. Tofu. Tofu is made from bean curds pressed together in a process similar to cheesemaking.

Tofu doesn’t really taste like anything by itself. But it absorbs flavors wonderfully well. The trick is handling it right. It is stored in water so you’ve got to get rid of that or you’re doomed.

From "An Easy Method to Press Tofu and Remove Moisture", at TheSpruceEats.com.
From “An Easy Method to Press Tofu and Remove Moisture”, at TheSpruceEats.com.

For firm tofu, get yourself a tofu press. Or do what I do. Take it out of the package, rinse it well with cold water, put in on some paper towels on a flat plate, put some paper towels on top, and then put something heavy on top of that. I use my cookbooks because they are handy. Leave it a couple of hours at least, pat it dry and away you go.

Now we come to silken tofu. I found a great article on both types of tofu that explains it much better than I ever could. See it at [3].

TEMPEH. I haven’t eaten tempeh, not sure why, so can’t advise you on that, but it is very popular with vegan chefs. Tempeh also contains a good amount of probiotics, B vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus. Learn more at [4].

Tofu and tempeh are both iron rich foods, also containing calcium and of course protein. Because tofu, tempeh and edamame all come from soybeans, they are what is called a “complete source of protein”.


This is easy. Try out the rice milks but especially nut milks, salad dressings, ice creams etc. They are so delicious and nut based means loads of protein opportunities. I’ve always had an aversion to dairy so have never eaten much of it, and when I did it made me feel queasy and dizzy.

Rice milk is thinner in texture than nut milks. And as you read above about nuts, chockful of protein. I will talk about cheese and cheese substitutes in a separate post because we’ll need to get into the nutritional yeast debate.


Okay, I’ve already mentioned avocados in the veggie section but they are actually a fruit. Another protein packed fruit is apricots.


Next time I’ll talk about cheese and butter substitutes, and after that one of my favorite foods — bread. Following that a post on my favorite subject of all, vegan baking and how to stock your pantry. In between all of that we have Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I plan to do some vegan cocktail recipes for the festive season. Woo hoooo! We should have you in good shape by 2020.


So you see, entertaining the idea of a vegan diet is not so foreign after all is it?

It’s really a lot more about what you have to leave off your plate than what you have to put on it to be vegan. As you can see the variety in a vegan diet is virtually endless.

For the People. For the Animals.


[1] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/edamame-benefits
[2] https://www.liveeatlearn.com/chickpeas/
[3] https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/diet/tofu-how-its-made-its-good-you-how-prepare-it/; see also https://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/common-tofu-cooking-mistakes/
[4] https://www.americastestkitchen.com/guides/vegan/what-is-tempeh

Advocate From Your Plate by Vivian Farrell

Updated 4:30 pm 10/19/19

Henry Beston quote about animals

The Majestic American Mustang

Below is my favorite quote about animals. It is originally written as one long paragraph, but I have separated it out for ease of reading here.

by Henry Beston

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion.

“We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.

“They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”

 *   *   *

Source: http://www.henrybeston.com/quotes.html »

Henry Beston. Henry Beston (June 1, 1888 – April 15, 1968) was an American writer and naturalist, best known as the author of The Outermost House, written in 1928.


I also love this by Vivian. Please give it a read. It’s very thought provoking. “Horses are not ‘Its’ ” »

Have a superb rest of the weekend. Hugs, Patsy