This article is for vegetarians and their families who
want a list of high protein foods from vegetarian sources.
Healthy vegetarians must take care to meet protein
requirements adequately. Vegans need to be even more
sensitive to their body’s needs. I have raw vegan friends
who cured themselves of serious conditions, and years later
are still thriving on vegan foods. Many people feel
vegetarianism supports their emotional/spiritual wellbeing.
If you’re going to do it, do it well!
The list of high protein foods from vegetarian
A rare vegetarian ‘complete protein’ because it contains
all the essential amino acids. Spirulina is 85-95%
digestible and easy for the body to digest and assimilate.
Enjoy spirulina in a smoothie or dressing.
2) Bee pollen
Approximately 40% protein and packed with essential
minerals and vitamins. It is one of nature's most
completely nourishing super foods. Bee pollen is contains
more protein than any animal source; more amino acids than
beef, eggs, or cheese of equal weight.
3) Soy products
½ cup of cooked soybeans contain 10 grams of protein and
¼ cup of tofu contains 10 grams of protein. While soy
products have been a small part of some Asian diets for
hundreds of years, they are new to the west. In China and
Japan soy products were always made fresh, and often a
special treat, unlike highly processed varieties. The
verdict is not out on soy. Enjoy in moderation. Choose best
quality organic tofu and unsweetened natural soy milks.
Fermented soy products like tempeh are easier to
4) Beans and legumes
2/3 cup of cooked chickpeas equals about 10 grams of
protein each. Beans contain incomplete protein. This means
you need to combine them with other protein containing
vegetable foods. Eating beans and grains together is a
classic combination and provides complete protein.
Eggs are ‘eggcellent’ protein and a source of quality
monounsaturated fat. Go organic and free range because an
egg is only as good as the chicken that laid it.
A good form of protein but…
In an ideal world we would get our milk raw and straight
from the cow. Raw organic milk and fermented milk products
are much better for you than pasteurized and
Why? Homogenization breaks milk down into smaller
particles. These particles can be absorbed intact,
sometimes causing lactose intolerance. Pasteurization was
implemented to sanitize milk, but it kills the goodies too.
The enzymes in raw milk aid digestion, plus special lactic
acid producing bacteria protect against pathogens in the
If you can only get treated organic milk, no worries –
here are suggestions to make to make pasteurized
homogenized milk protein more digestible:
• Eat yoghurt (it has been re-enlivened with living
yoghurt cultures which help digestion)
• Warm the milk with digestive spices like cardamom,
cinnamon and ginger.
• Cottage cheese is more digestible when you add a
• Try goat and sheep products
There are networks in the US providing legal raw milk.
7) Protein powder
Whey protein powders are a processed protein option.
However a protein powder smoothie is fine as an occasional
snack or breakfast. Quality is the key for total
• ‘Ultra-filtered’. If you have lactose intolerance choose
the even finer ‘micro-filtered’ as this process removes
• No artificial flavours and sweeteners
• About 70-80% protein
How to stay healthy eating only vegetarian
• Be tuned in to your bodies needs. Eat more spirulina,
bee pollen and legumes if you feel you need more
• Are you free from food cravings? For example sugar
cravings can be a sign of protein deficiency.
• Take blood tests for serum albumin, iron deficiency
and vitamin B12 deficiency a couple of times a year.
• Be aware of these other symptoms of protein
deficiency: brittle unhealthy hair, overly ‘moon-shaped’
face, thinking a lot about eating, weight and hunger,
shrinkage of muscle tissue, oedema, and slow growth (in
• Check if your dietary choices spring from
self-kindness or from a sense that you ‘should’ eat that
way. Being a healthy vegetarian over years needs to feel
intrinsically right for you on all levels. Then go for