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Home: Become Vegetarian: Vegetarian Protein

Vegetarian Protein:
Do you have enough?

Plant-based protein -- are you getting enough to meet the needs of you and your family? Some vegetarians have lingering doubts.

Dr. John McDougall, M.D., addresses this question in the following articles:

  • "Where do you get your protein?"

  • "Plant Foods Provide Nutritional Building Blocks to Optimum Health"

The average person's diet will have sufficient protein from legumes and beans, especially with the addition of dairy, however there's a world of wonderful plant protein out there - why not explore some other options?

Soy or not?

Soy has long been considered an excellent source of protein for vegetarians, but not without some controversy. It's best to be properly informed about using soy as a protein source in your vegetarian diet. Thyroid patients need to be particularly mindful of soy's effect on thyroid hormone levels. Fermented soy (tempeh) is considered a better alternative to unfermented soy products (i.e. tofu).

TVP - texturized vegetable protein

TVP is made from defatted soy flour, a by-product of making soybean oil. It is quick to cook, high in protein, and low in fat. The same health issues of soy also apply here.


An excellent source of vegetarian protein, Seitan is used widely in Asian vegetarian cooking as a meat substitute because of its texture and flavor. It is found on many menus as "Mock Duck", "Mock Chicken", etc. Seitan is pure wheat gluten and it is remarkably easy to prepare from flour if you have a little time. It can also be found in the refrigerated section of most health food stores or boxed in a powdered form (just add water!) You can read more here about Seitan. Those with an intolerance to gluten should experiment with eating smaller portions to see if it suits them.