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Veganuary is a challenge that encourages people to adopt a vegan lifestyle for the entire month of January. If you’re interested in taking part, but have no idea where to start, we invite you to read this article to learn more about veganism, the myths surrounding it, and what foods to eat!

The myths surrounding veganism

I’ve been a vegan for several years now, even during my three pregnancies, and my children are all healthy; I can safely say that going vegan was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Today, I have more energy, a love for cooking, and a passion to inspire others to incorporate healthy vegan recipes into their daily lives.

A vegan diet is one where the individual does not eat foods that come from animals, meaning no meat, no fish, no dairy products, and no eggs.

There are many reasons why people might be hesitant to become vegan. They fear they’ll lack nutrients (especially protein), that it costs too much, or simply that preparing vegan dishes is too time consuming.

Let’s demystify all these preconceptions, shall we?

Myth #1

A vegan diet is expensive.

It’s true that if we compare with a more traditional diet, which includes lots of transformed products and fast food, a plant-based diet can be slightly more expensive.

There exist lots of vegan delicacies and transformed products (like plant-based “meats”) that are quite expensive, but if you opt for simple, whole foods you’ll get more bang for your buck. For example, legumes and whole grains bought in bulk are less expensive than meat and are full of protein, vitamins, and minerals!

Myth #2

Plants don’t contain complete proteins.

A protein is considered complete when it contains all nine essential amino acids. Contrary to popular belief, animal proteins are not the only source of complete proteins.

  • In large part, foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, and legumes contain all the essential amino acids.
  • Denatured and transformed foods do not contain complete proteins. It is important to incorporate complete proteins in your diet, even if you are vegan.
  • If you consume enough calories on a daily basis, you should be getting a sufficient amount of protein.

Some plant-based foods, including goji berries, sunflower sprouts, and quinoa, contain all the essential amino acids and are easy to digest.

Here are 10 plant-based foods that are a good source of protein and can be enjoyed without moderation.

  1. Kale

  2. Kale has always been one of my favourite foods. It’s a super-versatile vegetable that’s good in salads, smoothies, baked in the oven or dehydrator, in a pesto, or juiced. Cooked, it contains 5 g of protein per 500 ml (2 cups).

  3. Green peas

  4. This tiny veggie, yummy in rice, soups, or salads, contains 7.9 g of protein per 250 ml (1 cup).

  5. Quinoa

  6. This superfood is part of the grain family and contains 8 essential amino acids. It’s a grain that’s easy to cook and germinate. It contains 8 g of protein per 250 ml (1 cup).

  7. Nuts

  8. All nuts are a good source of healthy fat and protein. They contain approximately 5 to 6 g of protein per 30 ml (1 oz.) portion. I like using them to make milk, cheese, energy bars, and granola.

  9. Chickpeas

    Chickpeas are high in fibre and low in calories. They contain 7.3 g of protein per 125 ml (1/2 cup). I like using them to make hummus, falafels, and salads. They’re also delicious roasted in the oven with paprika and Cayenne pepper.

  10. Tempeh

    A fermented food made with soya and grains, tempeh is one of the vegan options with the most protein. We’re talking 15 g of protein in as little as 125 ml (1/2 cup)! It can be a bit of an acquired taste, but is delicious in a quinoa and veggie bowl.

  11. Broccoli

    My family loves broccoli as a snack or in our lunches! Sky and I often steam-cook a whole head of broccoli, then sprinkle it with nutritional yeast, olive oil, and lemon juice. So good! Cooked broccoli contains 5 g of protein per 250 ml (1 cup).

  12. Hemp

    Hemps seeds are an excellent source of omega, fibre, and protein. They contain 10 g of protein in just 45 ml (3 tbsp.). Here’s an easy way to make homemade hemp milk: blend together 45 ml (3 tbsp.) of hemp seeds, 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) of water, and 3 dates. That’s it!

  13. Chia seeds

    Chia seeds are one of my favourite superfoods. They contain 7 g of protein per 30 g (1 oz.). They don’t really taste like anything, so they can easily be added to a number of recipes, such as puddings and smoothies.

  14. Shoots and sprouts

Sprouts, especially sunflower sprouts, contain several essential amino acids. They’re also an excellent source of lecithin (which is good for the brain) and are rich in enzymes. A healthy option to incorporate into your daily menu! Sunflower seeds are great as a snack or in a salad.

Do vegetarians eat enough protein?
  • The recommended average amount is 42 grams of protein per day.
  • Non-vegetarians typically consume much more than that (close to 80 grams).
  • On average, vegetarians consume 70% more protein than the recommended daily average (more than 70 grams).
Shoots and sprouts

Myth #3

Vegan cuisine is time consuming

I think people are more intimidated by the new recipes and habits than they are about the time. Being vegan doesn’t mean you have to spend all day cooking. Here are a few tips:

  • Keep it simple! Steam-cook your veggies when you’re pressed for time; it takes 10 minutes and it’s the best way to preserve their flavour and nutrients.
  • Try a nutritious smoothie for breakfast or as a snack; nothing is as quick or as simple as throwing some ingredients in a blender! You can even make your smoothies ahead of time—simply prepare your mixture and freeze in an ice cube tray. When you’re ready for your smoothie, place some smoothie cubes in a glass with a bit of hot water and enjoy!
  • The slow cooker is your best friend: quinoa, soup, legumes . . . toss all your ingredients into the slow cooker in the morning and a hot meal will be waiting for you when you get home!

Myth #4

Vegans are always hungry!

A balanced vegan diet can be very satisfying. Fibre is what makes us feel full. If you eat whole foods that are rich in fibre, you won’t be hungry. Fibre stabilizes the sugar levels in the blood and helps curb unhealthy cravings. A vegan diet that contains whole foods helps with digestion and elimination, which is why you might feel the need to eat more frequently. But with good fibres and snacks that are rich in protein and carbohydrates, such as nuts, you’ll feel full and energetic all day long!