Words by Laurie Newman

Veganism always sparks a few questions in conversation, it often starts with;  ‘why are you vegan’ followed shortly by their concern for where I get my protein from. Veganism is quite commonly referred to as an ‘unhealthy diet’ because of the lack of the vital vitamin, B12. B12 is essential for keeping our nervous system and blood cells healthy. The highest dosage is found in meat and fish, which are absent from a vegan diet.

The other key concern is protein. We are surrounded with messages reiterating the importance of protein in our diets but the problem is where we are sourcing our protein from: animals. As surfers we understand the importance of protecting our oceans from sewage and the creatures that inhabit it, but we should be equally as concerned about the land. Producing slightly more than 2 pounds of beef causes more greenhouse emissions than driving a car for three hours a day. We often forget that there are protein choices that offer a more sustainable, healthy and ethical option to animal protein. One of the main benefits of being vegan is the experience of experimenting with new foods that you wouldn’t usually try.

So why not try some of these alternatives to meat which are equally as tasty and full of goodness.

Here are the top 10 vegan, protein rich foods that will benefit you in and out of the water:

Made from soya beans, tofu is one of the highest protein sources available to vegetarians/vegans and it tastes delicious too! The texture may take a bit of getting used to but marinated it can be great when thrown into homemade Thai curries and even on the BBQ.
Cooked Tofu with Seasoning

Incredibly versatile and come in variety of different types including red, green and mung lentils. These legumes are also packed full of fibre and iron reducing the risk of heart disease and increasing energy levels pre or post surf.

Soya milk
Tastes equally as good in tea as cows milk with one cup equalling to at least 8g of protein per glass.

Like hummus? That’s good news because chickpeas form as the main ingredient for hummus and crammed with protein. Want an even healthier alternative, why not try making some yourself?

Peanut butter and Almond
Who said toast had to be boring, slather these spreads on for a protein rich breakfast.

Quinoa is a great replacement to starchy pasta and rice and is filled with essential amino acids the body needs.
Cooked Quinoa

Chia seed
A spoonful whizzed up with your morning smoothie for to kick start your mornings.
Chia Seeds

Who would of thought these little green pods could pack so much protein? Peas are a wonderful accompaniment to most summer dishes.

Also made from soy, tempeh is a great meat-free option- it even contains anti-cancer properties.

Not as common as the likes of Tofu but can be bought from most health food shops. In 100g of the stuff it packs 75g of protein!