Although I have only been asked this in jest, a majority of plant-based eaters recount how random people will ask this question this IRL and online, shout it to them from mountain-tops, sign-it while scuba-diving, and while riding in the SpaceX convertible. Unbelievable, but true.
So, how do vegans get enough protein? This is a common question about plant-based nutrition and one that began after World War II. (Great article outlining the history of the ‘great protein fiasco’ here). If you eat a varied and balanced diet containing plenty of whole plant foods and adequate calories, you will be able to meet your body’s need for protein. Our west coast grocers and local markets are filled with plant-based products – both processed and natural state – so there isn’t anything to worry about when it comes to developing the ominous ‘protein-deficiency.’
A Dozen Locally Available Plant-based Proteins
Protein gives our bodies structure as part of our muscles and bones and it is also used for fighting infection, carrying oxygen, growth and repair. Protein is more than just a catchword for the body-conscious and while you shouldn’t fret about your intake, you should be conscious of what you eat and how often.
Sunrise Soya Foods (@sunrisesoyafoods)
Produced in Vancouver and shipped across the country, Sunrise offers tofu in its original block form – dessert, soft, firm, medium-firm, extra firm, deep-fried, smoked, and has introduced flavoured (sriracha chili, pepper garlic) in limited runs in the past.
TMRW Foods (@tmrwfoods)
Co-founder Dean Blignaut has a vision for plant-based and it is TMRW. Crafted from a protein blend of cooked kidney beans, yellow split peas, sunflower seed, quinoa, textured wheat proteins and more, the TMRW products are unique in this market for their texture and flavour. The brand introduced ‘Shreds‘ at Planted Expo in November via a tasty smoky meat taco, and we were hooked!
The Very Good Butchers (@theverygoodbutchers)
Known for their tag-line – We Butcher Beans – this Victoria-based brand ships across North America and now in the UK. This past holiday season they sold 45,000 Stuffed Beast Roasts! In 2021, The Very Good Butchers opened their second shop in Vancouver, launched a line of five plan-based cheeses, launched a gluten-free lineup of products, and is available in 1,400 stores! An incredible year for this Island upstart!
Upton’s Naturals (@uptonsnaturals)
This vegan-owned natural foods company specializes in meat alternatives and is known for its early market launches of flavour jackfruit products. Hitting the shelves is Upton‘s jackfruit shreds, original, chili lime, and bar-b-que. The range has expanded in recent years to include Seitan (hotdogs, ground, Italian, chorizo, chick, and bacon), vegan soups (chick, Italian wedding, and chick & noodle), and Ch’eesy Mac (Ch’eesy bacon mac, and original).
Beyond Meat (@beyondmeat)
Beyond are vegan meat pioneers who made it successfully into mainstream grocers’ freezer sections with their ‘better than meat’ burgers. Beyond Meat, with 1M followers on IG, have almost reached world domination with their range of products which includes burgers, hot dogs, breakfast sausage, ground, meatballs, sausage, crumbles, and chicken. Their ingredients are GMO-free and consist of proteins, fats, minerals, flavours and colours, and carbohydrates from plant-based sources like peas, beans, potatoes and brown rice.
Gardein has an extensive range of products that are represented by chick’n and turk’y, beefless and porkless, fishless, meals, soups & chilis, and plant-based jerky. It’s made from soy, wheat and pea proteins, vegetables and ancient grains (quinoa, amaranth, millet and kamut) and is easy to digest and free of cholesterol, trans and saturated fats. No worries about eating the same product over and over given their chick’n section have 19 different products including mandarin orange crispy chick’n, spicy gochujan style wing, chipotle georgia style wings, and crispy chick’n sliders!
Plantbase Foods (@plantbasefood)
Owned and operated by two twenty-year vegan advocates and activists, Plantbase is committed to supporting and advancing plant-based living for the betterment of ourselves and our world. All items are made in Vancouver and sold at Farmer’s Markets, deli’s, grocery stores, dispensaries, and served in multiple plant-based restaurants.
Big Mountain (@bigmountainfoods)
Women-owned and family-operated in the heart of Vancouver, Big Mountain is one of the few products available that is gluten-free, soy-free, non-GMO, free from common allergens, and does not taste or feel like meat. Ingredients include pea protein, veggies (peppers, mushrooms, carrots, hemp, seaweed, and more), coconut oil, spices, and sea salt.
Yves Veggie Cuisine (@yvesveggiecuisine)
Founded in Canada in 1985, Yves Veggie Cuisine was probably one of the first ‘fake’ products that most of us bought. Their line of appetizers are awesome – falafel balls, kale and quinoa bites, sweet potato and chia – offer a lighter and versatile way to enjoy plant-based without mimicking meat.
With a quirky brand and a broad selection of plant-based deli slices, grounds, chick’n, burgers, sausages, roasts, pockets, tempeh, and a new line of plant-based shredded cheeses and desserts (Moocho), Tofurky has decades of experience in the alternatives market.
Field Roast (@fieldroast)
We love Field Roast and its bold products which have a real spicy kick! Their artisan flavoured sausages (Italian Garlic & Fennel, Smoked Apple & Sage, Spicy Mexican Chipotle, and Carmelized Onions & Beer) will get you hooked and from there you will naturally roll into their Chao cheezes that are so melty and delicious, it will be hard to turn back. Available nationwide from Whole Foods to Target.
Lightlife Foods (@lightlifefoods)
Available at a majority of big box stores, Lightlife is a convenient alternative that is easily accessible and affordable. With products – breakfast, burgers, chicken, deli, hot dogs, ground, sausage, and tempeh – they have a solution for subbing in plant-based no matter what you are preparing!
Feature Image: An incredible and delicious Tofurky Roast dinner | @tofurky
- Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Marketing & Communications Inc and publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine and digital women's lifestyle magazine EcoLuxLifestyle.co. She is a prolific content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist within the ecoluxury lifestyle niche. Post-pandemic, she has worked with many small to mid-sized plant-based/vegan brands to build their digital foundations and strategize content creation and business development. Helen is the west coast correspondent to Canada’s top-read industry magazine Retail-Insider, holds a vast freelance portfolio, and consults with many of the world’s luxury heritage brands. Always seeking new opportunities and challenges, you can email her at email@example.com.
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