I'm sure everyone who eats any sort of vegan diet has been asked how they get enough protein. Now, I spend a lot of time of forums; fitness forums, vegan forums, vegan fitness forums, diet forums, etc (also a moderator on a military girlfriend's forum, but that's a story for another day), and there is always this "debate" about protein. How much do we need? What kind is the best? Is there such a thing as too much? Can you really get enough protein to build muscle on a vegan diet? Is vegetable protein inferior to animal protein?
Almost all of these questions are debatable. But I do know that it's possible to get plenty of protein on a vegan diet. Some of my favorite whole foods sources are seitan, seeds (pepitas in particular), tofu, beans, soynuts, nut butters, whole grains, and tempeh. But personally, I'm also a big fan of the protein shake. I wouldn't suggest it if you don't work out, lifting or otherwise, since we all know that whole foods are way better for us, and if you are only eating 1200 calories a day, it would be hard to get all the nutrients and vitamins you need if one of your meals is a protein shake. But I am burning a lot of calories, eating a lot of calories, trying to increase my body's muscle, and a protein shake is easy, fast, and completely convenient when I come home wiped from the gym. My favorite protein powder is a custom True Protein mix of 50% gemma (pea), and 50% rice protein. I avoid the soy protein isolate because I figure I get enough other soy in my diet.
My go to post-workout shake is a scoop mixed with OJ. I'm not going to bother with a picture because it doesn't look pretty and it isn't the most delicious thing, but it is fast protein and fast carbohydrates. However, on my non-workout days, I still like to have a protein shake, and it is delicious.
Chocolate Banana Protein Shake
1 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk
1 scoop protein powder
I know, this is ridiculously easy and it sounds silly, but most vegan proteins get a bad rap for being gross and chalky (because...most of them are), but this masks the chalkiness and is yummy chocolate deliciousness.
So, if I'm not home, like I know I won't be tonight, I do resort to protein bars. One of my favorites is the Odwalla Super Protein bar.
As far as the calorie to protein content ratio..it can't compare to many of the non-vegan bars out there. But...they're non-vegan, so who cares? I don't know if you can see, but I think this one is pretty good, 230 calories, 16g protein. The protein is soy, the sweeteners are grape juice concentrate, brown rice syrup, and date puree. I know that Clif Bars and Larabars, and some Luna Bars are vegan, but Clif Bars are more energy bars, the calorie to protein ratio isn't high enough for me, Larabars are essentially cookies in a bar shape, and Luna Bars aren't enough calories for me to have as a meal. The calorie count of this bar allows for some fruit or veg to be added to the meal too, which I thoroughly enjoy.
For anyone who is curious, I average 100g of protein a day right now. I'm also eating between 1700 and 2000 calories.
So, that is how I feel about protein. It's important, and it is NOT hard to get enough of it.