2 01, 2016

Your Vegan New Year’s Diet: Don’t Forget the Protein

By |2016-01-02T13:04:55-05:00January 2nd, 2016|Tags: , , , , |12 Comments

beans_usdaIt’s hard to resist the call of the New Year’s diet. There is something about the promise of new beginnings, especially after the season of indulgence.

If your goals for 2016 include weight loss, please make sure your vegan diet includes enough protein-rich foods. I’m not suggesting that you need to eat a high-protein diet. Nor am I saying that eating lots of carbs is bad. My concern is that some vegan weight loss plans are woefully short on legumes.  A menu that consists of oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, vegetable soup […]

25 03, 2015

Protein from Plants: A Primer for Vegans

By |2015-03-25T12:05:10-04:00March 25th, 2015|1 Comment

beans2Getting enough protein on a vegan diet is pretty easy. But it doesn’t mean that every single vegan meets protein needs. Eating too many junk foods, avoiding legumes, or skimping on calories can all cause protein to fall short of optimal intake.

My second nutrition primer is on plant protein and vegan protein requirements. It summarizes the most important issues that vegans need to be aware of. Here is the link to the primer. Let me know if you have questions about it.

24 03, 2015

Plant Protein: A Vegan Nutrition Primer

By |2021-06-09T08:14:26-04:00March 24th, 2015|3 Comments

a lentils and a bowlProtein is often a big worry for people contemplating a vegan diet. It’s important after all. We need it for muscles, bones, hormones, digestive enzymes, absorption of nutrients and to rebuild and replenish all kinds of cells. So knowing a little about sources of protein and recommendations for vegans can be helpful and reassuring.

Protein and Amino Acids

Proteins in foods and in the human body are composed of 20 amino acids. We humans can synthesize eleven of these as long as we get sufficient nitrogen from our diets. […]

6 11, 2014

Dietitian Perspectives on Protein, Calcium and Vegan Bone Health

By |2018-05-08T05:50:10-04:00November 6th, 2014|Tags: , , |12 Comments

Note: this article is co-authored by Jack Norris, RD and Ginny Messina, MPH, RD and appears on Jack’s blog as well as this one.

kale2Vegans typically have lower calcium intakes than other vegetarians and meat-eaters. But just how much does this matter?

The popular thinking has long been that it doesn’t matter much at all. According to the acid-ash hypothesis of osteoporosis, vegans experience smaller calcium losses since we don’t eat animal protein. The theory is that calcium is “leached” from bones to counter acidic conditions caused by animal protein.

It’s supported […]

10 02, 2014

Plant Protein: Why Vegan Diets Need Beans

By |2014-02-10T09:53:32-05:00February 10th, 2014|42 Comments

If you subscribe by email to this blog, you may have received a post about calcium and protein and bone health last week. I’m not sure why since that post was published last August. But it worked out to be okay that it popped up out of nowhere. It’s actually a reasonable segue to this post, which is a follow-up to my recent article about my diet.

In talking about my own eating habits, I noted that I tend to favor legumes over grains. A number of […]

19 08, 2013

Calcium and Protein and Bone Health in Vegans

By |2013-08-19T14:16:45-04:00August 19th, 2013|Tags: , , |76 Comments

There is good evidence that vegan diets can prevent heart disease and they are likely to lower risk for cancer as well. But does going vegan improve your bone health? I see some post or infographic in social media nearly every week claiming that a vegan diet protects against osteoporosis.

The theory is that animal protein, through its acidifying action, “leaches” calcium from bones, eventually weakening them and causing bone fractures. If that’s true, it means that those of us who eat no animal protein are likely to have better bone health.  And maybe even lower calcium needs.

Unfortunately, it’s not true. […]

22 05, 2013

Updated Speaking Schedule and Meeting Protein Needs (on Our Hen House)

By |2013-05-22T16:20:35-04:00May 22nd, 2013|Tags: |3 Comments

I have lots of travel to fun vegan events in the next couple of months (off to Vegan Paradise this week for Vida Vegan Con). I hope to see some blog readers as I trek around the continent (twice to beautiful Canada!) talking about the joys of healthy and compassionate eating. Please take a look at my updated schedule and stop by to say hello if you’re in the area.

And you also may want to take a peek at my latest article on Our Hen House about meeting protein needs on a […]

28 01, 2013

Staying Strong on a Vegan Diet: Protein and Muscles

By |2013-01-28T12:15:39-05:00January 28th, 2013|Tags: , , , , , |32 Comments

We all know that it’s easy to meet the protein RDA on a vegan diet. But what constitutes “enough protein” remains a topic of some debate among experts.

Among its other functions, protein protects bone health which may in part be due to its effects on muscle mass. Unfortunately, a decline in muscle mass over the years is more common than not. It’s driven to some extent by hormones, but diet and lifestyle clearly have an impact on this, too.

Although weight-training is the most important way to build and preserve muscle, it gets a little bit harder to bulk up as […]

13 03, 2011

Meeting Protein Needs on a Vegan Diet: The Calorie Connection

By |2019-11-11T09:59:52-05:00March 13th, 2011|Tags: , , |41 Comments

People often ask why any adult would need a diet providing more than 5 to 6 percent of calories from protein. After all, human breast milk is around 6 percent protein and it supports health during the fastest period of growth of the entire lifecycle. How could adults need a more protein dense diet than an infant?
Babies certainly have high protein needs for their size. They require almost 0.7 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. Vegan adults need far less—around 0.4 […]
24 01, 2011

Vegan Food Guide, Protein, and New Book

By |2011-01-24T11:05:24-05:00January 24th, 2011|Tags: , |69 Comments

Lots of stuff packed into this post. First, I’ve updated my food guide to create separate groups for legumes and nuts as a way to ensure adequate protein intake.
I’ve been thinking about protein a lot lately for a number of reasons. The main one is that I’ve been working on a book on vegan nutrition with dietitian Jack Norris. It’s called Vegan for Life, and will be published this summer by Da Capo Press.
We worked […]
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