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  • Writer's pictureYimin Xu

Why achieving a high protein, plant-based diet is actually really easy

"I won't get enough protein eating plant-based"

"Plant proteins are 'incomplete'"

"I can only eat so many chickpeas in a day"

One of the biggest concerns people have about a plant-based diet is getting sufficient protein that meets their individual needs. In fact, this is an issue that I get asked by people from nearly all backgrounds and attributes.

However, when I ask them "how much protein do you need", the overwhelming majority of people overestimate their requirement. While most of us are not bodybuilders, we are inclined to think that our protein needs are as high. This is quite curious because I rarely come across someone who tries to eat like a marathon runner (i.e. high-carb) when they are not trying a marathon.

Before we dive deeper, it is worth noting that the largest animals on earth, like elephants, do not eat meat yet clearly enjoy sufficient protein. "But we are not elephants and hippos". Okay, okay, I hear you. However, if we take a look at many of the world’s best athletes today, such as Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, and Lewis Hamilton, we find that they follow a mostly plant-based diet while achieving their world titles. Many of them are very vocal about how the change in their diets has helped them progress more quickly. In fact, the latest Wimbledon Men's Final was played between two exceptional athletes (Djokovic and Kyrgios) who both enjoy a primarily plant-based diet.

Now let's dive in!

What exactly is protein?

Protein is in every cell of the body. It makes up the enzymes, membranes, and haemoglobin that make the body function. While there are around 20,000 different proteins throughout the body, each protein is made up of a unique sequence of 20 different building blocks called amino acids. When we consume protein, whether it’s from a plant or an animal, the body breaks it down into amino acids. The amino acids are then resequenced into a new protein when required. Of the 20 amino acids, there are 9 essential amino acids that our body cannot make and must come from food.

How much does one need?

The amount of protein a person needs depends on their body weight. The Reference Intake is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day for adults under the age of 65. This is actually not a minimum level, but a level sufficient for 98% of the population. For a person of 55kg, the protein needed is just 44 grams. This in turn translates to only about 10-15% of their daily calories.

The World Resources Institute finds that the average person in more than 90% of the world’s countries consumed more protein than they require. In the US, Canada, and Europe, thanks to a meat-heavy Western diet, people are on average consuming 80% more than their requirement. Once we hit our required level, the body has no use for extra protein but to expend it as energy or store it as fat.

Here is the good news

The good news is that sufficient protein is actually easily achievable on a plant-based diet. Whole grains, beans, tofu, lentils, nuts, and seeds are all great sources of protein. As long as you are enough calories, it is in fact very difficult to be deficient.

In fact, the British Heart Foundation highlights that plant-based proteins are preferable to animal-based proteins (such as meat and dairy) for longevity. We have also written an article on our 10 favourite plant-based, whole-food protein sources that you could read further.

How could Plantwise help?

Plantwise helps you achieve your protein goal by layering culinary techniques with the power of technology.

At the fundamental level, we offer specialist recipes that are protein-rich and only use natural whole foods which are easily found in local supermarkets. This means no fake meats or highly processed ingredients. You could reach your protein targets even if you choose to be in a calorie deficit for weight loss.

The results are not just healthier foods to power our bodies, but also cheaper ingredients. For example, if you cooked just one meal a day using the Plantwise recipes, you could save £120 a month compared with meal-kit delivery boxes. Now, we are talking about tangibly saving for a nice new holiday abroad next year.

Then comes our software technology. Our meal planner app by default takes your physical attributes and sets your goals according to daily recommended allowances. This is a balanced carb/ protein/ fat diet - everything in moderation. However, you can personalise your goals according to your individual needs - whether that means more protein or fewer carbs.

By adding your chosen meals, you could track these goals effortlessly every day. The most commonly focused goals are protein, cost, iron, and calories, but it is completely up to you which ones you want to keep an eye on. Our budgeting component is especially popular among our customers. For every meal, we help you check price comparisons of the ingredients from the UK's biggest supermarkets.

Finally, you can now enjoy a holistic view of your weekly progress, checking how consistently you are hitting these goals in the past 7 days. This way, you can have peace of mind and feel confident about your food choices.

Check out Plantwise on Apple App Store

Plantwise is on Apple App Store today. Lately, we have added a lot of lentil recipes at our customers' request. If there is anything you would like to see specifically, either a recipe or an app feature, simply reach out to us at any time. We also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you don't feel healthier or save more money than the subscription price immediately in the first 30 days, we will refund you the money hassle-free.


Plan a healthy plant-based diet that works for you

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The easy way to cook tasty, nutritious meals while saving money!

The Plantwise App is a Fridi Technologies brand.

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