Protein- Can we get enough from plants? How Much Do We Really Need?

Published by Kickin' Vegan on

Protein- Can we get enough from plants? How Much Do We Really Need?

Protein! How much is enough? I want to take a moment to talk you through some common concerns and misconceptions that have most people afraid to leave meat and all its nutritional providings behind. Let’s deconstruct some myths. What is meat providing that makes us think we need it to survive? Where else can we get it? Today, we will tackle the big elephant in the room: Protein.


How will I possibly get my daily requirements of protein without red meat?

First of all, I want you to think about all of the people you know who are suffering from protein deficiency. Have you visited them in the protein deficiency ward? Hmm, empty beds, huh? Seems like they could use some of the beds for the overspill from the cardio unit. 

Ok, enough of the fear visual, but there is a point in there. 

Our daily protein requirements are not as huge as you think.

As a matter of fact, too much animal protein may have ill effects on our health. Gout, arthritis, kidney stones, it has even been associated with increased activity in cancer cells. Hey! No thanks! 

Animal meat, eggs, and dairy also come along with the unwanted addition of saturated fats and cholesterol, which are the largest contributors to heart disease and obesity, as well as being shown to exacerbate and be the real problematic piece of the diabetes puzzle. 

In a thorough full report on protein by the WHO (World Health Organization) There was 

“no immediate or associable detriment found for protein deficiency due to the fact that all populations who suffered below the protein allowance were detrimentally poor in all nutrients.” 

So they were starving, and suffered from lack of all nutrients. Protein could not be singled out as a cause for any illness. Pay attention there. If you are eating enough food to stay alive, you will automatically be getting enough protein. 

In a plant based diet, all three of your macro nutrients are present in plant foods. Protein, Carbs, Fats. None are evil, none are superior, they are all just the basic components of food. When we are eating plants, and eating enough food to sustain life, we are automatically getting enough of all three without doing any math. 

If you really, really want to do math- it’s pretty complicated to estimate the amount of protein required for a human, as it is dependant on so many versatile factors, such as height, weight, sex, age, activity level, altitude, I mean, it is a bit mindblowing. But what has been found, is that as long as you are eating enough food and getting your nutrients in, the protein is automatically ok, it is not the problem indicator and really doesn’t require tracking at all. Here is the math for those of you who gotta have it.

Adults require no more than 0.8 or 0.9 grams of protein per healthy kilogram of body weight per day, on the high end of the scale. 

Basic needs are really only about .66 grams per kilo, but has been rounded up to .9 to ensure all body types and activities are being accounted for. 

This translates empirically to your ideal weight in pounds multiplied by four and then divided by ten

Ideal Weight x 4 / 10 = daily grams of protein requirement

So, for every 100 pounds, a human may require up to 40 grams of protein a day. On average, they probably only need about 30 daily grams of protein, which is 0.66 grams per kilogram, but we round it up to 0.8 or 0.9 grams because everyone’s different and we want to capture most of the bell curve. 

Let’s do math! Remember, this is based on IDEAL body weight, so if you are 20 pounds overweight, you calculate your needs based on where your weight SHOULD be. We will take a 150 pound person for our calculations.

150 x 4 = 600 / 10 = 60 grams.

Now it’s important to remember that the basic need has been rounded up to ensure all body types and activities are being accounted for. So this is enough for any amount of activity level, age, and sex at weight of 150. The actual need may be as low as 45 grams. 
If you google “how much protein do I need” you will find massively exaggerated claims for your daily requirement from a variety of sources.  The one above follows actual scientific data from studies of the human body’s needs over the history of mankind, according to the World Health Organization, and a recent compilation by Dr. Michael Greger at that assessed the grand sum of all nutritional data from all sources of studies to date on the optimal healthy diet. He does all the work and cites all the references and has no ties or agendas, other than the desire to provide the clear facts to help people live as long and healthfully as possible. In all of my years of research, I have found these sources to be the most thorough and all encompassing, including all studies and points of views. Aren’t we glad someone is out there doing the tough work for us? 

So in summary: Protein. Don’t worry about it. At all. If it’s off, you already know because you have long been suffering from Hashimoto’s or scurvy or something else from massive nutrient deficiencies first. 

Protein Worry? Let it go, nod and smile when someone talks passionately about it (and they will) and put it out of your head. Period. 

Although all plants contain protein, which is where all the meat gets it from, I’ve compiled a list of your best plant sources for protein:

  • seitan
  • tofu, tempeh, edamame
  • lentils
  • chickpeas and other beans
  • nutritional yeast
  • spelt and teff
  • hempseed
  • green peas
  • spirulina
  • amaranth and quinoa
  • sprouted grain breads
  • soy milk
  • oats and oatmeal
  • wild rice
  • chia seeds
  • nuts, nut butters, and seeds
  • veggies: broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts


So knock yourselves out, eat plants to your heart’s content (and relief!) and put aside your worries about protein deficiency. It’s really not a thing! 

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it with your friends! Be sure to click the link below to get a free meal prep guide as a thank you for joining the Kickin’ Vegan weekly newsletter!

Yours Truly,

Britt, The Kickin’ Vegan

Kickin' Vegan

Britt Taylor is a Vegan and a 2nd degree blackbelt. She is a wife, mother, and businesswoman. Currently living in bliss with a healthy vegan pregnancy on the lake in South Carolina. A runner (well, mostly a walker these days!) and a personal development director of opportunity. Once she retired in 2019, she has made the free lancing and self made woman world her passion and joy! All she really cares about is helping people transition to a Plant Based lifestyle in the easiest, most painless way and helping them to see that is is easy, fun, sexy and adventurous! She is passionate that it is the truest way that we can live in the peak of health for ourselves, and bonus! The Planet! Britt has an undergrad in both Theatre Arts and Nutrition and decided against pursuing her Master's in order to focus on a truer path in the health paradigm, so she got her online certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University. A lifetime studier of health and nutrition has led her on this 30 year journey to be of assistance with those who are trying to navigate this often confusing and contradictory world of nutrition information. She is here to help those who are ready to transition be able to do so with a clarity of purpose and understanding.


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