MY Protein Choices!

A lot of you have been asking me about plant-based protein.. So let me give you a breakdown of all my protein choices:

1. ALL kinds of beans (black, kidney, great northern, chick peas, black eyed peas, green peas, lentils, pinto beans, lima beans)
2. Tempeh
3. Seitan
4. Tofu
5. Veggie burger
6. Quinoa
7. Oatmeal
8. Brown rice
9. Whole wheat bread
10. Nuts
11. Peanut butter
12. Soy milk
13. Hemp Protein
14. Green Pea Protein
15. Brown Rice Protein
16. Vegan Protein Powder
17. Chlorella
18. Plenty of rich green leafy vegetables

nicole November 15, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Thanks for posting this! I already knew this information, but i love that now people will know you don’t need meat to fulfill your protein needs. Also add Spirulina to the list ;)

Anni November 15, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Thanks for posting this. I’ve been a vegetarian for 10 years, and a vegan for about 6 months. I loved seeing some changes in how you and Jillian talk about nutrition on the Biggest Loser – is it just me, or are you both becoming more open about non-animal based options?

Also, one of my faves didn’t make the list! I love sauteeing a portobello mushroom in a little olive oil, sea salt, and garlic. It goes great over brown rice or on a toasted wheat bun.

Josephine November 15, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Oh i love beans :-) and meat hehe

jenny November 15, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Other good sources include seeds and pasta. Glad you included chlorella. Did you know it has more B12 than the beef liver. Beef liver is thought to be the highest source of B12, but it is actually chlorella- a vegan source! Pretty cool.

Melissa November 15, 2010 at 6:06 pm

I love seitan! I’ve been vegan for 2.5 years and this has got to be my favorite protein source. And quinoa is great too! People need to stop looking at meat as the only source of protein.

Kristine Sheehan November 15, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Yeah, it looks like every single one of these are on the ACIDIC list of foods…I just found out I have ulcers and IBS w/ constipation. So wow, I don’t know what I’m gonna do or eat or drink or take!!!!!!!!!!!!! :o (


Melinda November 15, 2010 at 6:55 pm

13 out of 18 isn’t too bad, I’ll have to try some of your other ideas. When I began eating vegan and high raw vegan, people used to ask all the time where my protein came from. Sprouted grains, nuts, and seeds are also a great way to get protein! Since my husband saw that you’re eating vegan, he’s eating two vegan and two vegetarian meals a week. That’s something I couldn’t get him to do in the 3 years I’ve been eating this way! Thanks!

Avi November 15, 2010 at 7:19 pm

All those are great sources and foods. Spirulina, buckwheat, edamame, flaxseeds, nutritional yeast, and textured vegetable protein are also great sources. What would you say is your favorite hemp protein and vegan protein powder?

Rev. Penny Dean November 15, 2010 at 9:17 pm

I was really surprised to see your list of protein based foods. I now have more selections. Thank you.

Tonya November 15, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Thanks for posting this. Just began my vegetarian lifestyle 3 days ago. This is very helpful.

Jamie Lynn November 15, 2010 at 10:59 pm

Great to know, but sadly i have never heard of several of those…2,3,6,13,14,17

losinglex November 16, 2010 at 9:12 am

I second the Nutritional Yest. It goes in almost all my food!

Cheryl November 16, 2010 at 8:13 pm

I love Quinoa pasta. Since it is a protein source I don’t have to put meat or cheese with it. Although I will say lean meat does taste wonderful with it. If I feel a little indulgent I will add a bit of pesto to it and a few pine nuts for a treat.

Monica November 16, 2010 at 8:42 pm

You mean I can eat bread and rice?!?! I’m so confused!!!

Laura November 17, 2010 at 1:03 am

Bob, When did you become a vegetarian???

Lindsay November 17, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Thank you so much Bob for sharing this! I’ve been vegan for two years and am so inspired by your dedication to share this wonderful diet with The Biggest Loser community!

Rosemary November 18, 2010 at 1:46 am

I am happy for this information. But my husband has renal failure and has dialyisis 3 times a week. I know there are a few of these things he needs to stay away from because of potassium and phosporus, can you steer us in the right direction? Thank You for your help.

dannyray November 18, 2010 at 9:08 am

I have been incorporating more plant based protein in to my eating plan. I think it happens naturally as one becomes engaged in a more healthy lifestyle.

KatrinaDavis November 18, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Lovin’ this list Bob. Thanks!

Jeanette November 19, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Thanks for showing people how easy it is to get adequate protein, even for an active lifestyle, from a plant based diet!

Missy November 19, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Thank you for the info. I just became a vegetarian. This is very helpful. Some time you should put out a vegan/vegetarian cookbook. I would love that

Angie November 19, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Whey didn’t make the list?

Jean November 19, 2010 at 9:33 pm

I am vegan and I’m tired of people asking” but where do you get your protein ?” I posted this on Facebook. Thanks !

Christina November 19, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Bob, you are awesome. Thank you for speaking for the rest of we vegans out here by proudly and informatively proclaiming that you get your friggin protein even as a vegan! :D

Pete November 19, 2010 at 11:49 pm

You’ll need to eat rice with the beans to get all your amino acids though. Quinoa and Hemp are my favorite protein sources, though I don’t eat as much of them as a should :(

Andre Leisner November 20, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Interesting composition and alternative. thanks for the compilation.

Maria November 21, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Chia seeds and greens!!!!
And you don’t need to eat the rice and beans at the same time……fo Pete.
It can be time during the day.
LOVING YOU HARD BOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank you for doing so much to save OUR BODIES AND OUR PLANET!!!!!!!!!!!

Maria November 21, 2010 at 8:43 pm

You don’t have to eat the rice and beans at the same time.
Hemp and chia are both amazing.
Seaweed too.
Eating meat and dairy cause more global warming than driving a cat.
Still buy the hybrid, but the easiest thing to Incorporate into daily life is being vegan.
There is a quote by Gandhi that says something like man’s greatest cruelty is with his form.

Lori November 23, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Angie – whey is a milk product,it is not vegan.
Bob- do you use vegan skin care products? I can send you some samples
if you contact me :$

Lina Jaini November 24, 2010 at 8:55 am

Wow Bob! Tempeh…wonder how they make Tempeh there.

Paola Pecora December 1, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Soy beans are not mentioned on that list. Their protein content is twice than meat and 35% of soy beans is protein, higher than the meals that are mentioned on that list.

tfoxsail December 2, 2010 at 1:11 pm

I’m a meat eater (mostly chicken and fish…allow red meat once or twice a week though), and I would have to say that the main reason I have not gone vegan is beacause of the bean thing. Plain and simple….I HATE BEANS! Not sure why I do, but I don’t like the texture of them and no matter what way they are prepared I just don’t care for them. Any suggestions to alternatives?

rmh December 8, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Hi Everyone,

Just a note to say that you don’t have to TRY to incorporate protein sources into your meals. As long as you eat enough calories of plant-based WHOLE foods, your protein needs will be automatically taken care of, in the ratio that your body needs (usually around 80% of your calories from carbohydrates, 10% or less from fat, and 10% or less from protein). You don’t want to have more than 10% of your calories coming from protein anyway, as T. Colin Campbell (and others) point out in The China Study. So, it doesn’t matter what kind of whole plant-based foods you eat, or whether you combine them in some way, you essentially do not need to worry about getting ‘enough’ protein.

Maria December 15, 2010 at 10:02 am

Try the Indain Slow Cooker Book!!!! Although it has ruined my high raw diet, it is AMAZING!!!! when I resume my Daquan diet, it will be super easy for me to eat more raw and also cook for hubby. If ya love Indian! Ya gotta try it! And it uses spices like turmeric which apparently help inflammation and might help prevent Alzheimers and cayenne pepper which boosts metabolism.

Maria December 15, 2010 at 10:15 am

To the bean hater :)

Try Nuts, Nut cheeses, seeds, grains like quinoa, and flax crackers! If you want more processed foods, try tempeh, tofurkey slices, tofurkey brats, Match Meat products, or any multitude of the veg meat subs.

But ya might want to read up about protein too, because we don’t really need massive amounts. In one of John Robbin’s books he mentions the name of the disease of protein deficiency, and we have never even heard of it because it isn’t really present in our country. Even if you only ate WHITE potatoes, you would get enough protein, just not a good variety of amino acids. Of course you don’t want to eat white potatoes, but basically if you are not only eating fruit, and you are eating real food, your protein needs should be covered. If you are freaked out by it and do exercise, check out Brendon Brazier”s THRIVE book. He is triathlete and has lots of recipes for SIMPLE food that that has lots of protein. It also has homemade sports gel recipes, etc….What to eat before and after working out but everything homemade with no sugar or food dyes (so present in store bought) athletic beverages and gels.

Try hemp seeds, hemp protein, chia seeds which make an AWESOME pudding, and green smoothies. Kale and Collards are great! And if you put them in blender with bananas then you can get a lot more of them a lot easier. I eat massive amount of raw nuts and avocados which may not be awesome, but I don’t eat any junk and it doesn’t make me fat. They both have so much fiber.

Oh, you can even make raw cheesecakes out of nuts which are OUT OF THIS WORLD yummy!!!! Even better than normal cheesecakes. I usually do a lot of raw, so I don’t include beans normally. Try sprouting at home. Sprouts, seaweed and greens are powerhouses of food for serious nutrition people. But if you aren’t there yet, and most of the time I am not, then try raw cheesecakes an hemp smoothies. Bananas and dates will hide the greens tast if you add kale or collard. Google chia seed pudding too……

Paquita December 19, 2010 at 11:59 am

Always carry around bags of raw nuts with you! Nuts, greens, sprouts and seaweed are great sources of protein. Even veggies have protein! Join the pack the includes Bill Clinton, Daphne Oz, John Salley, and Alicia Silverstone. The wonderful thing about being vegan is that is is uber easy to not eat the chocolate cake, the cand, the cheese. Because you just can’t eat something that has caused so much pain and suffering to another living being. It’s not discipline, it is truly changing your perception about the definition of food. I do not have a lot of willpower in this area, but everyone thinks I do just because I won’t eat this common “trap” foods. Being vegan automatically eliminates a LOT of bad choices! Sure there is vegan junk food now, but that isn’t usually what is sitting out at the work buffet or potluck! If you are truly repulsed by the idea of causing pain and killing other creatures, you are often rewarded with a nicer butt and a skinnier waistline. Like a karmic kiss! Since I have been vegan, I NEVER worry about my weight. Even back on the good old days when I actually ate flour and soy dream ice cream! Now I eat very simple foods, but my point is, eating ethically has major benefits and many of them make you more hot!!

sunnyrowe December 31, 2010 at 4:50 pm

I’ve been vegan for 4 years and had my first baby 6 months ago. I thought the pregnancy weight would just fall right off. I’ve been holding onto the last 10 lbs for months. Hopefully this website will help me to really work to get the last ten off ……..and maybe lose an additional 10 after that.

ciecie January 1, 2011 at 9:59 pm

i will have to try some of the protein sources listed. love most of the rest that are listed.

Courtney January 5, 2011 at 1:26 am

What if we cant really afford some of these things and my boyfriend doesn’t like any kind of beans what so ever

ksdyno January 9, 2011 at 8:41 pm

I am just starting out, what do you suggest for beginners to eat. I like beans,rice, nuts but I don’t know anything else. I’ve been reading all the comments and it seems very confusing to me. Can anyone help? Thanks so much. I have alot of weight to lose, 100+.

Julie January 13, 2011 at 11:16 am


Thanks for sharing. I’ve been a vegetarian almost my whole life (20+ years and was vegan for ~4 more years). I’m studying to become a Registered Dietitian because I was tired of people asking me how I get all the nutrients I need. Well, I always thought it was easy and my health assessments always show that I am healthy as well. I’m glad you’ve brought awareness to the public that you can still be healthy while consuming a vegetarian or vegan diet or just pointing out how to add more fruits, vegetables, and legumes, etc to the typical diet. I look forward to following along.


yellowcrystals1 January 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Thanks for posting! As a vegan and someone studying nutrition in school, this is great to see. This food is very easily accessible where I live (Oregon) but might not be so easy for other people to find, so I would recommend going to a local health food store, requesting these foods at your local grocery store, or ordering bulk online.

Adam Farino January 20, 2011 at 5:26 pm

It is a common misconception that vegetarians cannot consume the recommended amount of protein. This is a great list of foods that have the protein needed to keep muscles strong.

Farino Fitness

shygirl January 30, 2011 at 2:02 am

another great option you should list is chia. I have eaten the mila brand for almost 3 yrs. Its a complete protein. I eat it with everthing & love smoothies in the morning. Many health and wellness institutes now really promote Mila as the best source of complete protein and highest natural source of omega 3′s which will all need.

Katie February 3, 2011 at 1:19 am

I have a question for Bob or anybody. I’m vegetarian but my husband is lactose intolerant (something he ignored until recently) so now by default I’m vegan, which is fine. He is starting to flirt with “no meat” which I’m really proud of.

So I made some recipes incorporating Seitan (I’ve been veggie for a while but never cooked it) and he was repulsed (actually I did not like it much either-the recipes and I’m not the best cook). Does anybody have any good ideas or point me in the right direction on how to make yummy Seitan recipes? I would really appreciate.


marta March 4, 2011 at 7:40 pm

I am not a vegetarian, but I eat a 90% non-meat diet. I do enjoy fish on occasion, and the egg and cheese thing. My son who is 7 loves eggs! My husband is a total omnivore, when we met I was a pescetarian, had been for years, now I eat meat when traveling or on Family holiday get togethers..I digress.
For lent this year I am going Vegan, just me.
I am a personal trainer, and workout quite a bit. You are a great role model for me, it is hard not to fall into the old school way of thinking that those who want muscle need to eat animal protein.
It would be great if you could put together a vegetarian/vegan cookbook for us fitness buffs. I think if YOU put it out, some of my clients may consider a more plant based diet.
Anyway, thank you for standing up for a veg based diet. I am working more and more towards a vegetarian lifestyle again.

marta March 5, 2011 at 10:12 am

what’s your favorite post workout protein powder? I usually have a whey protein shake, but I’m going Vegan for lent.

wrknout2lose March 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Thank you, Bob this is so helpful!

Ellen June 3, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I have a friend who incorporates Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) into her diet…she uses it like ground beef for casseroles and such…is this a good source of protein? I am trying to incorporate more whole foods and vegetarian meals into our diet.

Susan September 22, 2011 at 4:33 am

Great choices Bob !! Thank you so much for choosing a compassionate , vegan diet ! You rock !!!

Keyprotein September 27, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Thanks for the post, great list of plant based proteins!

b c September 28, 2011 at 9:12 pm

I would pay a lot of money go get a pre-made scalable 2-week vegan meal plan with a grocery list full of easily obtainable low-time recipes. Such a thing doesn’t exist.

Kim @ The Family Practice September 30, 2011 at 6:18 pm

I love tempeh! I don’t think enough people know about it. I suppose its ugly appearance is a turn off for most people!

Brooke October 22, 2011 at 4:07 am

As a vegetarian, thank you for posting this list! So many people ask me “how do you get your protein?” and it always amazes me that the majority of americans don’t realize how many protein options are out there besides meat. I’ve been a vegetarian for over a year and a half and I won’t go back to eating meat for anything. I have seen the difference it can make in my body & health, and I believe in the change it can make in the treatment of animals and the impact on our environment.
P.S. I about died when they took you to the BBQ restaurant in Texas this week and you said “There’s nothing I can eat here”! I don’t know how many times I have said that living in Memphis, the BBQ capitol! But, I make it work :)

Vera October 28, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Hey I’m not a vegan or but looking for an alternative to fish/seafood; that seems to be such a big part of the biggest loser meal plan. I eat mostly chicken and turkey; don’t have to have red meat.

Jessie October 28, 2011 at 10:23 pm

I was just trying to figure out how to get more plant based protein!! Thank you so much for this info!!!

Emily October 29, 2011 at 5:28 am

I thought all you ate was Jennie O turkey. Just kidding.

What vegan protein powder do you recommend?

Christy November 3, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Thanks for posting this, Bob. As a vegetarian, it’s really hard to meet your protein needs, especially when most of the “lean” options on the BL are all MEAT.

It’s good to see there are ways to eat healthy AND vegetarian at the same time.

THANK YOU for being kind to the earth and kind to your body.

Ross November 10, 2011 at 5:08 pm

YOU DON’T NEED PROTEIN!!! The body does not need/use protein. The body has to break down everything you consume. Glucose is broken down into glycogen. Protein is broken down into amino acids which the body then reassembles into whatever it is building (hair, muscle, skin). It is MUCH more important to focus on making sure you are getting all the aminos that your body needs. Avoid the protein myth. Bob would tell you the same thing.

Vicki December 30, 2011 at 5:59 am

I am just wondering if Bob is vegetarian? Also, how much protein does a person need, I see recommendations out there for as little as 10% of calories and as much as 45%. I am trying to switch to a vegan diet, while building muscle, and I am very confused about how much protein I really need. I would trust Bob’s recommendation though if I could get it!

Stef February 8, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Sooo…now that you are into CrossFit, have you looked into the Paleo diet? Almost all of those items on the list are horrible…I thought I read it wrong and it said choices you shouldn’t be eating..beans?? You aren’t getting much protein from those, and soymilk, peanut butter, oatmeal?!!! AHHHH, Ahh eat fish, grass-fed beef, chicken, farm fresh eggs if you want to gain muscle! Start researching Paleo, you will see AMAZING results. I won’t get into the science, but at least get rid of soy and anti-nutrients like legumes.

Bea February 21, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Hi, Bob! Just thought you should know that I totally support the plant-based diet. Just before Thanksgiving last year, our church played a documentary called “Forks Over Knives”, which pointed out, from a clinical and medical standpoint, the benefits of a plant-based diet. Right then, I decided to go vegan. Due to problems with my feet, I’m unable to stand alot, so most of my exercising has been the rehab on my feet. Also, when I started the new eating habits, I was pre-diabetic, and had some other issues as well. Since I started this, without benefit of cardio/aerobics, I’ve already lost >14 lbs, am no longer at risk for diabetes, nor at risk for anything else. I just purchased an upright stationary bike/elliptical from my neighbor, so I’ve started riding that. So, my weight loss will only increase from here. Hooray for plant-based! I feel lots better, my head seems clearer, I sleep better at night — it’s a win/win all the way around!

Michelle March 13, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Hi Bob,
Thanks for this great list. Maybe with all the news about the things that are being put in our meat we might see that more people will be considering using other sources of protein more often. So this is a great list for anyone unsure of where they can get their protein needs fulfilled without eating meat. I plan to post soon about your list on My Biggest Loser Blog as I have been talking about the pink slime and what is in our meats and I think that my readers could really use this information.
Can’t wait to see Biggest Loser tonight!!! :-)

Kai May 22, 2012 at 1:13 am

I read your book in a single sitting & now I’m going back & highlighting stuff. I had already started a healthy eating plan with my housemate before I heard about your new book, but reading it has really motivated me & given me some new info that’s so helpful. Tempeh is a new thing for me & I went to the store & found some that ‘represents’ apple-smoked bacon. Awesome! I’ve long been a veggy burger fan so Tempeh is one more yummy choice. I’m on the hunt for barley this week! Have you tried kale chips? I buy a big bunch of kale, cut off the stems, wash & dry the leaves. Then I toss them in a VERY scant tbsp. of good olive oil (I like lemon flavored) and red pepper flakes. Lay them out on baking sheets in a 250 degree oven for about 30 minutes till they’re crisp, and remove. YUMMMMMY! No salt, just goodness! Anyway, I’m SO GLAD you wrote the book and I plan to utilize the heck out of it! THANK YOU!

Kylie August 6, 2012 at 9:49 pm

The peanut butter makes me particularly excited *sweet tooth* ;)