You may already know that protein helps you build muscle and keeps you feeling full throughout the day—but it does so much more than most realize. Protein lives in every cell in your body, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. From your bones to your skin, protein is essential to keeping your body running effectively on all levels.

One of the mistakes people tend to make when they stop eating meat is they don’t replace the animal protein sources with plant-based sources of protein. This can then lead to inadequate protein intake. But it is a misconception that all vegans and vegetarians are have a protein deficiency. Check out the recommended needs and how to ensure you are getting what you need.

Three signs of mild protein deficiency

The main cause of protein deficiency is not eating enough protein-rich food sources. Diets deficient in protein often increase food consumption, body weight and fat mass which hinder your weightloss goals.

  • Protein cravings – If you’re not eating enough protein, in the short term, your body may tell you by literally craving it. So learn to listen to your body cues.
  • Sugar cravings. If you eat a meal that is made up of mostly carbohydrates with not enough protein, it will digest much more quickly and will cause your blood sugar to rise. The rise is followed by a drop— when blood sugar is constantly spiking and dropping, we crave more sugar.
  • Hunger. You’ve probably noticed that you tend to be hungrier throughout the day when you have a lack of protein in your meals. This will cause you to overeat and make bad food choices when eating to just fulfill your hunger.

Luckily, since the cause for low protein is simple, so is the solution: start eating a sufficient amount of protein-rich foods!

If you need help getting more protein into your diet, let’s chat – Click to Apply! It’s so important to understand how to plan your meals to include all essential nutrients, shop for the healthy items, and monitor yourself in order to be successful in reaching your healthy weight as a Vegan.

Carol Aguirre MS, RD/LDN