If you ask the average person on the street about the vegan diet, they will likely believe a vegan or vegetarian diet is deficient in protein. This is not true. Protein deficiency is very low, even among vegans or vegetarians. We require a minimum of 42 grams of protein per day, and vegans and vegetarians on average get 70% more protein than required (1). There should not be too much fuss about protein deficiency when 97% of Americans are deficient in fiber (2) and 98% of Americans are deficient in potassium (3).
That being said, although I don’t worry too much about death from protein deficiency, I go to the gym about two or three times a week to lift weights, build muscle, stretch, and cycle. I am keen on preserving my muscles by drinking vegan protein shakes. On a day I go to the gym, I drink protein shakes three times: in the morning, after a workout, and before going to bed. Each serving of protein shake contains about 20 grams of protein.
From what I’ve read, the need to drink protein at certain times during the day is a myth because the body can efficiently store protein throughout the day (4). If you have enough protein for the day in one sitting, you are fine. You don’t need to eat protein in every single meal (although just about all food contains some protein).
That being said, often when I have not gone without food for some time (e.g. in the morning) I can feel a slight ache in my muscles, which I am wildly guessing is my body craving protein after being deprived of food for so long. This is when a protein shake can help.
I don’t have too much time to spend on cooking, so I like to keep my food and drinks simple. For a quick dose of protein, I normally just mix protein powder in water and drink it. I often do this in place of breakfast when I need to rush out.
When I am home and have slightly more time on my hands, I have lately been making vegan hot chocolate with protein powder mixed in.
Vegan drinking chocolate powder (I use Du Chocolat or 100% pure cocoa)
Vegan protein powder (I use chocolate-flavoured Earth Protein)
Coconut milk (e.g. Pureharvest Coco Quench Coconut Milk)
Mix half a cup of boiling water and drinking chocolate powder (or pure cocoa) into a mug.
Fill the remaining half of the mug with coconut milk.
Add two teaspoons of protein powder and mix.
It is important that the protein is added after the milk to ensure that protein is added to a warm solution rather than a boiling solution. This helps to mitigate any denaturation of protein due to extreme heat.
The commercial drinking chocolate brand I use contains natural sweeteners including stevia. However, if pure cocoa is used, the hot chocolate will not taste sweet. This is why I recommend using coconut milk rather than rice milk, oat milk, or almond milk. Coconut has a natural sweetness that complements with the cocoa powder to give the hot chocolate a sweet taste.