Can I Get Enough Protein on a Plant-Based Diet?

When you decided to try a plant-based diet were you concerned about getting enough protein?  I was too busy being sick and wanting to be healthy, so this was not really a concern for me, but it was for my husband.

It’s normal to wonder if you can make such a big change and see the results you want. Maybe you were blown away by the support of friends and family…

Or maybe not.

Can I get enough protein on a plant-based diet? YES!

I’m willing to bet that when you were eating burgers and pizza from your local fast food establishments no one had anything to say about your food choices.

Many of us who have adopted a plant-based diet quickly realize that everyone around us is concerned about our protein intake.

Can I get enough protein on a plant-based diet?

That is a great question but first let’s talk about protein deficiency.

There are two terms that describe protein deficiency and neither come up in casual conversation, which is good because I probably can’t pronounce them.

  • Marasmus – This type of protein deficiency is often seen in third world countries with starving populations where they aren’t receiving enough calories in any form. Without adequate treatment, i.e. more food, sufferers will die from starvation. This type is even rarer than kwashiorkor.
  • Kwashiorkor – This type of protein deficiency can occur rarely, in individuals who are ingesting enough calories but aren’t getting enough protein. This type was often seen in the depression era where people often had to eat only bread and gravy. The solution for this sector is to eat more nutritionally dense calories.

Most people haven’t heard of either of these terms because, at least in the modern world it is very rare. There are illnesses than can cause the body not to be able to process protein, and illnesses like anorexia that can lead to it. There are also problems world-wide with human starvation that also leads to these issues. But in first world countries this really isn’t an issue.

The main cause of protein deficiency is malnutrition.

People who eat an abundant, whole-food, plant-based diet containing the right caloric amounts for their body size and weight will not suffer from any sort of protein deficiency. The reason is simple. All plant foods have protein. In fact, it’s super hard not to get enough protein if you’re eating enough food, plain and simple.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

There is some disagreement in the community about how much protein a body needs. Let’s assume every one’s body is different in terms of how much protein they need depending on what stage they are in life, what sex they are, how much they exercise, and what they’re trying to achieve. Many plant-based doctors like Dr. McDougall, Dr. Esselstyn both believe (and research supports) as low as 5 percent of your daily caloric intake needs come from protein.

The RDA recommends that you need 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has their own recommendations, as does the American Dietetic Association. But in general it’s accepted by these organizations that between 10 and 35 percent of your daily caloric intake needs, should be from protein. For a moderately active 130 pound female that translates into 50 to 176 grams of protein per day. Getting this amount from a plant-based diet is not only easy it’s practically impossible not to do it.

Plant Foods Rich in Protein

  • Lentils – Packing 9 grams of protein per half cup serving, lentils are also rich in fiber and are a naturally low fat food. They provide most of your iron and magnesium for the day too. Plus they are simply delicious, especially as Lentil Tacos.
  • Black Beans – One of my favorites, black beans are great in soups, bean burgers, salads and more. They have 8 grams of protein per half cup serving, healthy antioxidants, and potassium. They’re also a good source of calcium and an outstanding source of iron.
  • Quinoa – A fabulous source of protein, at 8 grams per cup, you also fill your body with magnesium, fiber and cancer fighting antioxidants. It’s also a good source of iron, copper, thiamin and vitamin B6 and more. Try it in this wrap or for breakfast.
  • Green Peas – You probably didn’t know that green peas are full of protein and fiber. Plus they taste so good in soups and salads. They’re good in the pod and out of the pod and have 8 grams of protein per cup. What’s more they have an amino acid called leucine which helps with weight loss.
  • Artichokes – Want a high protein addition to your vegan pizza? Instead of high calorie fake meat add this delightful veggie for 8 grams of protein per cup and less than 100 calories. Plus it has potassium, calcium, iron, B-6 and magnesium. You can also try them in this Spinach Artichoke Dip.
  • Hemp Seeds – This seed packs a punch with more than 4 grams of protein per tablespoon. Add to smoothies, salad, and make hemp milk to pour over delicious steel cut oats for a protein packed breakfast of champions. I regularly sprinkle them on toast as well.
  • Oatmeal — Many people don’t realize how much protein a cup of steal cut oats has, but it’s chock full with 28 grams and who doesn’t like big bowl of oats on a cold day with some nuts, fruit and hemp milk? Check out my Ultimate Oatmeal Guide for inspiration.

Really, this list could go on and on, but you get the picture. It’s easy to get enough protein on a plant-based diet. What’s more, the protein comes packed with other nutritional benefits in a lower calorie package allowing you to eat even more while maintaining a healthy weight.

Finally, let’s get something clear about complete proteins. That idea is a myth that has been debunked many times. You can read about it in many places including Forks Over Knives. But what you need to know is that there is no such thing and if you eat an adequate amount of calories for your needs you will naturally get enough protein. Eating a plant-based diet you’ll also get enough of all the other nutrients as well.

Plant-Based Diet Starter Guide

Learn more about Plant-Based living with the Plant-Based Diet Starter Guide or the Plant-Based Basics eCourse!

Ultimate Oatmeal Guide

Breakfast maybe the most important meal of the day but it’s also the most chaotic. Please tell me I’m not the only one who struggles to eat healthy in the midst of a busy morning.

We have some quick and easy breakfast items like frozen waffles and cereal but we don’t feel as satisfied after eating them. Maybe because they are processed foods and not whole foods. I want a hot, filling breakfast.

My go to breakfast is Oatmeal.

Everything you need to know about oatmeal

You may be thinking, “oatmeal takes too long” or “it’s too complicated.” I want to share my tricks for easy, delicious oatmeal that everyone in your house will love. [Read more…]

New Year’s Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

What are your new year’s resolutions?

Do you hope to lose weight? Eat healthier? Start (and continue) exercising?

According to Google, only 8% of people keep their resolutions. You might as well give up now. Or you could rethink your resolutions.

New Year's Resolutions

Instead of choosing crazy out of reach resolutions I have some suggestions for you.

Help Others

Whether you choose to volunteer in your kids class, pick up extra food for the food bank or donate money to a charity choose something that will help others. You don’t have to do something through an organization. Do you know a busy family, volunteer to bring them a dinner or to baby sit so they can get a night out.

One Small Change

Instead of trying to change every bad habit choose something small and doable. Maybe you want to wash your face every night or floss twice a day. Do you want to get rid of clutter? Mark a time every Saturday to remove 2-3 things to donate or throw away. What ever it is make it something small.

For Your Health

January is the perfect time to make healthy changes. I’m not saying go out and join a gym but you can make lasting changes that will help you get healthier. If you’ve been wanting to make the move to a plant-based diet, now is the time.

Any time we want to make changes to the way we eat, it’s difficult but not impossible. I’ve made it my mission to help people make the move from the standard American diet to a plant-based diet.

That is the reason I developed the Plant-Based Basics eCourse! If you are struggling to eat a plant-based or don’t know where to start you really need this eCourse.

The Plant-Based Basics eCourse starts January 1st.

This eCourse is perfect for anyone wanting to make lasting changes and adopt a plant-based diet. (And you can get 50% off from now until January 1st using the code prebuy.)

The lessons will start with the basics and teach you what to eat, help you figure out how to shop, plan and answer those nagging questions about protein, supplements, and more. You’ll also get support and accountability to help you be successful.

You’ll actually be able to keep your resolutions because you will have support.

FAQs about the Plant-Based Basics eCourse

Is this the same eCourse as the 31 Day Plant-Based eCourse last year?

This eCourse has the same foundation but it has been reformatted for ease of use and has been enhanced to help keep you on track for the months to come.  The lessons are in a new order and have been updated.

Last year the lessons were in individual files for you to download each day. The new eCourse is in an ebook format. You’ll have the choice of downloading a printer-friendly PDF or an epub file to use on your phone or tablet. There is also a set of printables for those who use the epub files but want to print the meal plans.

What do I actually get?

You will get:

  • 17 lessons
  • 4 week work out guide
  • 3 week’s of meal plans
  • Meal Planning mini-course
  • 30+ Recipes
  • Adapting Recipes ebook
  • Daily emails for first three weeks, plus bonus emails after that
  • Private Facebook Group
  • and more.

How long is the eCourse?

The eCourse is designed so you can go at your own pace. You don’t have to complete the lessons in a certain amount of time. Those buying now will be part of the January 1st launch date.  You’ll get everything (except the Adapting Recipes ebook) on January 1st.

You can take as long as you want to go through all of the eCourse. I will be leading you through about 5 lessons a week plus bonus materials through email and the Facebook group.

I recommend you take 3-4 weeks to go through this eCourse.

I did the eCourse in 2015, can I do this one too?

Yes! Email me for options! You may be able to take the eCourse with no extra charge.

How much does the eCourse cost?

The eCourse is $49.99 but you can get it for 50% off through December 31, 2015. You must use the code “prebuy” to get the discount.

Still got questions? Leave them below and I’ll answer them as soon as possible! You can also learn more about the Plant-Based Basics eCourse and see what people are saying!

How to Eat More Veggies

This blog post is adapted from one of the lessons in the 31 Day Plant-Based eCourse. The eCourse is designed to walk beginners through everything they need to know to adopt a plant-based diet. 

Easy tips for everyone wondering how to eat more veggies.

Most of us could stand to eat more veggies. Personally, I have a tendency to fill up on beans and grains. Veggies just don’t “do it” for me but I know that they are important so they have to be prioritized or I’ll just skip them.

If you are new to plant-based eating or just trying to add more veggies to your diet these ideas will offer you a variety of options for adding more veggies.

How to Eat More Veggies

I’m not going to spend a lot of time explaining the various nutrients because I think most of us know we should eat them but struggle to actually do it.  Throughout this conversation keep in mind that many veggies can be eaten both raw and cooked and it’s a good idea to eat both.

Eat More Salads

You can easily get 2-3 servings of veggies in a really well made salad. If you use 2 cups of greens, ½ cup of carrots and ½ cup grape tomatoes you’re doing pretty well. You don’t have to make it that plain though.

Think about some of your favorite salads from restaurants. Most of the salads are beautiful with vibrant colors and have at least 5 ingredients. They consist of greens, two veggies, something crunchy like croutons or nuts/seeds along with dairy and a dressing. Why not use those salads for inspiration, just leave out the unhealthy ingredients. (In the 31 Day Plant-Based eCourse I have lessons about replacing meat and dairy in your favorite dishes.)

Need More Salad Help

When making a salad at home try to incorporate as many colors as possible. Here are some suggestions:

Reds: Tomatoes, Peppers, Radishes

Yellow: Bell and Banana Peppers, Squash, Corn

Greens: Lettuces/Greens, Cucumbers, Peppers, Broccoli

Purple: Red Onions, Beets, Olives, Cabbage

Orange: Carrots, Sweet Peppers

Remember, your salad isn’t limited to veggies, you can also add fruit, beans, grains, and nuts or seeds. Let your imagination run wild.


My favorite way to get lots of veggies is in soups. I can eat bowl after bowl of soup, each packed with fiber-filled veggies. In fact, soup is my favorite way to eat kale. You can find all of my soups on my Soup and Stew Page or visit my Plant-Based Soup Pinterest Board for inspiration from some of my favorite bloggers but be wary of creamy soups that may contain nuts (if you are trying to lose weight).

Side Dishes

I’m not a big “veggie on the side” kind of gal. If you’ve followed any of my meal plan you know I don’t usually have side dishes. I’d rather have everything mixed together but to each their own. Steamed broccoli is a favorite in our house because it goes well with pasta or baked potatoes.

Carrots, peas, green beans and corn are veggies that are typical side dishes at home-style restaurants. More often than not they are probably pushed to the side in favor of Mac and Cheese. Do yourself a favor and reintroduce a veggie side dish, it can even be a veggie-filled salad.

Starchy Vegetables

Don’t forget your starchy vegetable (yes, I’ve mentioned a few already) potatoes, squash, pumpkin, yams, etc. These veggies are filling, fibrous and low in fat. If you aren’t sure about starches read anything from Dr. John McDougall.

Starchy veggies are great as a side dish or as the main course. My family loves to eat giant baked sweet potatoes, some times I’ll add raisins and cinnamon for a slightly sweet meal. Starchy veggies are great roasted.


I eat double or triple the amount of raw veggies when I have a dip. Raw veggies are just more appealing to me when I have something to dip them in. They same is true for my kids. I always recommend using dips for parents trying to win their kids over to veggies but there is no reason that adults can’t enjoy dips too.

Hummus is a favorite dip of mine but many store-bought dips contain tahini and oil; both are very high in fat. You can make hummus at home if you aren’t comfortable with what is offered in your local store. My favorite dips and salad dressings can be found here.

Mix It Up

Some people won’t go for it but you can always try mixing veggies into other things like puree them into pasta sauces or on top of pizza. I’ve made many a lentil loaf filled with random veggies and I’ll often create off-the-wall veggie pasta combinations. It doesn’t have to be about hiding veggies either Veggie Pot Pie and Vegan Shepherds Pie are great options loaded with veggies.


The most important thing is to keep trying new things. As you adapt to this healthier way of eating things your palate will change. Foods you once hated will become delicious (maybe not every food, but a lot of them will). You just have to keep trying.

What are your veggie eating tips and tricks?

31 Day Plant-Based eCourse

Next Plant-Based eCourse Starts May 1

Summer’s coming and it will be here before you know it. If you’ve been considering getting started on a plant-based diet now is the time to make the commitment and get ready for summer.

Many people are able to reverse disease and eliminate health problems on a plant-based diet. Others lose weight and clear up conditions like acne, asthma, and seasonal allergies. Whatever your reasons the 31 Day Plant-Based eCourse will lead you through a one-month journey that could ultimately change your life.

If you are new to the Plant-Based Diet or struggling to be successful in this new lifestyle you have come to the right place.

31 day plant-based ecourse 500x750

I created a 31 Day Plant-Based eCourse that will lead you through everything you need to know to start a plant-based diet.

There are two options:

  • Self-paced eCourse that you can start immediately, or
  • The group eCourse that starts May 1st

Susan took the January eCourse and says:

The simplicity yet thoroughness of the eCourse allowed even a novice Plant-Based person to educate themselves about why this lifestyle is better than the Standard American Diet and to implement steps to take to eat and be healthier. The meal plans were great and included a variety of recipes to suit many different sorts of tastes. I found many recipes that I can incorporate into my meal rotations and I would do this eCourse again, just to solidify my knowledge and share with others. The fact that there was a group of us all doing the same thing meant for a great camaraderie.

Jennifer says:

The eCourse helped me stay focused and gave me the encouragement to never bring anything non-Plant-Based into the house. The meal plans were wonderful ways to jump-start my shopping list and give me ideas of where I wanted to take my week in food and nutrition. The workout routines kept me motivated the first couple weeks when I was stuck in a hotel for 10 days. Overall it was a fun month and I really appreciate the hard work the design team put into the 31 Day Challenge eCourse.

Whether you decided to start on May 1st with the group or go at your own pace the 31 Day Plant-Based eCourse provides you with everything you need to be successful with the plant-based lifestyle. You’ll have the additional benefit of a private Facebook community for support.

This 31 day class is less than $1 a day!

You’ll get:

  • The Plant-Based Diet Starter Guide ebook
  • Weekly Meal Plans
  • optional Weekly Exercise Guides
  • Daily lessons that will teach you the basics of plant-based living
  • Group support in a private Facebook group

All of that for only $30!

Find out about the limited-time individual coaching opportunities!

Buy Now

Need Extra Help?

For those participating in the 31 Day eCourse that need a little extra help consider purchasing the 31 Day Coaching add-on!

The 31 Day Coaching add-on is an individualized coaching program that will:

  • Help you set and track goals
  • Assist in Meal Plan development (work together to customize a meal plan to meet your goals)
  • Daily accountability via email/messaging and a daily food log
  • Weekly 20 minute phone call/skype/google hangout (only one) to discuss progress and next steps.

Whether your goal is to lose weight, eliminate processed foods or finally go plant-based this 31 Day Coaching add-on can give you the individualized help that you need.

Space is limited!

Add this one-on-one coaching to your 31 Day eCourse experience for only $95 dollars. Email me at myplantbasedfamily @ (remove spaces) to purchase or inquire about the one-on-one coaching.

Buy Now

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