How will I get enough protein?

~~By Esther T

Switching to a plant based diet can sometimes happen overnight, and sometimes it can take longer. My journey didn’t happen overnight, I’m still learning everyday. My husband and I have now been 100%vegan for almost 2 years. My cravings for previous eaten food items took anywhere from 2 weeks to 4 months to dwindle , until my mind and my body started to reject them, both physically, emotionally and mentally. So now I have absolutely no interest, and if I think I taste butter or something else in a food… I won’t be able to eat the rest of it. It’s just a really interesting thing, that happens.

This following compilation of information are some of the ways I use ingredients and how I view protein sources/texture variety. 


Check out this video—I don’t own this cookbook, but I love Ellen’s show, and it actually looks pretty good, on the show they review some of the recipes in the cookbook.


I only take one supplement fairly regularly which is vitamin B12, both vegans and non-vegans equally have deficiencies of this vitamin. Deficiencies can lead to serious issues, so although there is much debate around this vitamin, I just make sure to take it pretty regularly—a few times a week. 

Other than that, I get all of my minerals and nutrients from plants.  If I’m feeling worn down or needing extra lift – I’ll drink the juice of 2-3 lemons, eat salad, seaweeds, fruit – mangos—bright oranges and red colors and also dark greens – so making green juices is also a great energy booster and immunity strengthener—these foods can also help to curb unhealthy cravings.


Meat Substitutes:

In terms of protein, as long as you eat enough calories on a vegan diet, your body will have enough—especially if the bulk of every meal is veggies and/or dark greens (or fruit if it’s morning or even lunch sometimes) and a small portion of maybe grains, beans or soup, nuts, seeds or something else.  Something I will do is steam a big head of cabbage and eat it like Indians eat rice—and top it with lentil soup dishes or other sauces and stirfries.  You can also check out this document I made for those interested in transitioning to plant based foods — (this blog is full of stuff I’ve been eating – I haven’t updated it in a bit because I’ve been working too much lately.. but I hope soon to start adding more recipes)


The highest percentage of protein comes in things like leafy greens, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Veggie’s are also protein rich(eating a variety of colors is a great strategy as well!) and even fruit! Fruit is actually 2% protein which is the same amount as mother’s milk.  


It can sometimes take weeks for the body to transition, so don’t feel surprised if many physical or even emotional discomforts arise. Everyone is different, but 2 weeks can typically give some good results, and 21 days can build the basis of a habit.. and sometimes it can take years for some toxins to fully leave the body, and that’s okay.


The following is my favorite set of guidelines ( And I would add to the ‘avoid section’—dairy, eggs and meat – there is actually nothing that is essential, nutritionally speaking that we cannot obtain from plants—this can be a difficult concept to grasp as we’ve been brainwashed by society since we all were kids to believe that something was so special about animal products – many traditional societies actually subsisted largely on plant materials – as it’s much more available—with very few exceptions –such as indigenous ppl in the far north who subsist off of commuting whales.  We have the opportunity today, of multiple options year round, that really make it easy no matter the location to subsist on a fresh abundant variety of plants, it’s quite a blessing actually) :


Best guidelines from Dr. Joel Fuhrman:::

1. Eat a large salad every day.
2. Eat at least a half cup serving of beans/legumes in soup,salad or another dish once daily. 
3. Eat at least three fresh fruits a day, especially berries, pomegranate seeds, cherries, plums, oranges.
4. Eat at least one ounce of raw nuts and seeds a day.
5. Eat at least one large (double size) serving of green vegetables daily, either raw, steamed or in soups and stews.

— Consider these guidelines as thou holy protein sources, and holy calcium, mineral and vitamin sources 

Avoid these five deadliest foods:
1. Barbecued meat, processed meat, and commercial red meat
2. Fried foods
3. Full-fat dairy (cheese, ice cream, butter, whole milk) and trans fats (margarine)
4. Soft drinks, sugar and artificial sweeteners
5. White flour products.



My biggest go-to meat substitute would be beans and seeds.  If I am having a salad I’ll throw a can of beans or a handful of nuts or both in there.  If I am making a stir fry I’ll throw some beans in, burrito same thing or a sandwich I will use hummus or peanutbutter or almond butter.  For breakfast I often have chia seeds.

Or more simply, 1-2 tbsp of chia seeds(protein an omega 3 rich)  soaked in 1 cup water and cocoa powder (mineral rich, esp iron rich)—easy to go thing. Nithya likes this but with almond or rice milk instead of water.  And if I have time I’ll cut up mangos, apples or throw blueberries and raspberries in this J


For a larger picture here is a more extensive list of some go-to ‘meat’ substitutes in a sense. 

If you are interested in emphasizing amino acids-proteins in a dish you can include one or more of the following:

Mushrooms, beans, quinoa, nuts, seeds, sprouts, tofu, chickpea tofu( ), lentils, seitan, tempeh (fermented soy), dark leafy greens, seaweed (read more about tempeh, seitan and tofu here and watch here and for storebought products — )

— These are just a few examples of high protein foods.  So again, if you have a salad add some sunflower seeds, if you are making spaghetti add mushrooms, spinach and maybe some vegan ‘ground beef’ (available at health food stores- and usually made out of wheat).  Fake meats, aren’t necessary for health, though are high in protein and can help in the transition process, and can also add variety in texture and flavor to vegan meals—and can also make it an easy adjustment for men too.  But texture and flavor can be easily attained without resorting to processed foods.  Marinated and baked tofu, marinated and fried mushrooms or eggplant.  Eggplant will take on flavors very easily and I’ve used it to replace chicken in recipes—such as this one —


If you are more interested in meat alternatives for texture and recipe compatibility, try any of the following:

Eggplant, mushrooms, seitan, tempeh, spaghetti squash (, jackfruit – can resemble pork roast so closely that I honestly thought the people had lied to me that it was vegetarian.  (preparing a jackfruit ) also coconut meat can be used for things like a bacon or a salmon texture. 


Tempeh can have a bitter taste, I typically like to use it in ‘sour’ or ‘acidic’ recipes.. so for example I like it best in tomato sauce or lemony flavors.   


A great cookbook with easy dinners, is ‘quick fix vegan’ by  Robin Robertson. 

This author has tons of cookbooks!  I LOVE cookbooks.  And certainly got me started on the diet. 

I am also a very visual learner, and it was difficult to get used to a cookbook with no pictures.. however trying them out in the kitchen.. helped me put pictures to things.. even if it was just in my head… so it became easier over time to use recipes in cookbooks without a lot of pictures. 

Otherwise Ani Phyo—Raw foods cookbook – is definitely very aesthetically pleasing along with her Asian cookbook – these are raw foods.. so a bit different… but really wonderful at the same time.



Check out Happy Cow, to find vegan restaurants near you.

A simple google search can show you, what kind of local vegan happenings may be happening in your town.  

Or check out, meetupgroups — and type in vegan, see what pops up 🙂 




Whatever style of cooking you like the best, there will be definitely information regarding it online.  If not, comment below with your favorite recipe and I will figure out how to veganize it 🙂 

On amazon they have vegan indian cookbooks, thai vegan, italian vegan, global vegan… you name it 🙂 

Or google search it — you may find websites, blogs or videos with whatever you are looking for, for example here is a vegan persian recipe website 🙂 

Vegan Persian Recipes—


Check out replacement recipes: 

Vegan cheese recipes—

Dairy and egg replacers—





                                                      DAIRY SUBSTITUTES

Vegan Cheese

Raw (spreadable cream cheese like)


(meltable cheese)


Sour cream


Coconut Yogurt


Vegan butter


Almond milk

n  soaking almonds over night helps make it creamier J


                                                  EGG SUBSTITUTES

Chickpea omelet                  


Tofu scramble



                                                      MEAT SUBSTITUTES

Tempeh Burgers


Tempeh Tacos


Eggplant bacon


Youtube video on making seitan




Portobello burgers


Hot dogs and hamburgers


Meatloaf   — lol I’m not sure why, but he makes me laugh 




Jackfruit Carnitas


Pulled Pork  — uses canned jackfruit .. low quality video.. but atleast shows.. or






Vegan Fajitas


Reuben Sandwich and mango masala sandwich


Grilled ‘cheese’ and tomato soup


Pot pie


Enchilada casserole


Pizza roll


Shepherd’s pie — wow this guy


Chilli and cornbread


Clam chowder


Breakfast—pancakes—the chef also shows a few foods from his cookbook

“recipes for carnivores”— vegan cookbook looks like a great one!  –which I posted above aswell


Notice a lot of these recipes use pretty high end blenders, honestly a vitamix was the best investment my husband and I ever made.  We started out with the bullet – which was sufficient and had that for some years before we finally caved and bought a vitamix.. blendtec is also a good one! 


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