Are you a struggling vegan or vegetarian trying to find balance in your macronutrients? This is the post for you.
Usually, the most common difficulty vegan and vegetarians face is getting enough protein.
Protein is one of the essential macronutrients that is required to help maintain fluid and pH balance, and enhance immunity by producing antibodies. As well as producing enzymes that act as catalysts to speed up chemical reactions of digestion.
There are 2 classes of proteins
- Complete protein: Contains all 9 essential amino acids.
- Incomplete protein: Doesn’t contain all 9 essential amino acids.
What we really need to teach people is mutual supplementation and complementary protein in order to have an adequate intake of protein.
Mutual Supplementation is combining 2 or more incomplete protein sources to make a complete protein. Foods that are consumed during mutual supplementation are called complementary proteins which when combined provide all essential amino acids such as isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. All are examples of essential amino acids that are consumed via diet because our bodies can’t synthesize them as opposed to non-essential amino acids However, complementary protein doesn’t need to be consumed in the same meal, but it is advised to be consumed in the same day to have most of the benefit.
Here is what a typical meal looks like when you use mutual supplementation and complementary protein: legumes and grains like red beans and rice make up all essential amino acids with rice containing methionine and cysteine which legumes lack. There are many combinations that include vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds like tofu and broccoli with an almond spinach salad with pine nuts and kidney beans.
Don’t be scared of consuming protein because without sufficient intake of protein your body will not be capable of utilizing fats and carbohydrates to its best abilities. The recommended dietary allowance of protein is 0.8g/kg of body weight which equates to 12- 20% of your energy intake as for vegans and vegetarians you’ll find a table attached with the RDA as they differ from the people who consume animal protein.
The most common sources of plant protein include tofu, tempeh, lentils, beans, hemp seeds, chia seeds, seitan, mycoprotein, sprouted bread, and grains.
- Whitney, Eleanor Noss author. (2016). Understanding nutrition. Stamford, CT : Cengage Learning,