Protein Sources for Vegetarians Trying to Lose Body Fat

As a personal trainer and fitness coach, there are a wide variety of clients with different cultural eating habits and choice habits that we come into contact with. I have a fair bit of Indian clients and due to certain religious practices, many are vegetarian; Not only that, but often times eggs are even ruled out as a part of the diet. So what do I recommend as a source of protein to this type of personal training client when they’ve just taken on an exercise regimen that has food limitations or restrictions?

There are many sources of protein available for vegetarians who do not consume eggs if you know where to look. A few Good sources of protein for vegetarians are nuts and seeds, pulses, natural soy products (tofu and edamame), and some dairy products (milk, cheese and yoghurt). Although Soya products are recommended often, I tend to lean away from Soy for many reasons. According to an article by highly esteemed fitness guru Charles Poliqin, soy products have many negative attributes that should be considered before consuming in large quantities. Refer to his article “Soy is For Dorks.

Delve deeper and you can find even more sources of quality protein in foods such as Quinoa and Spirulina. Quinoa is a grainy substance that when cooked absorbs water in a similar manner to rice. It can be used with stir fried veggies, mixed in oats for a breakfast kick or for awesome healthy chili recipes. It’s very versatile and packs a whopping 14g of protein per 100g serving. Not only that, but it includes a variety of different vitamins and minerals in varying amounts depending on whether you’re using the red, white or black variety.

Spirulina is a great source of protein also and according to studies can be a better protein source than beef and soybeans. It’s a blue-green algae that occurs naturally in nature. It contains a variety of vitamins and minerals as well as health enhancing amino acids that fight heart disease. Studies show that it also boosts the immune system. Add spirulina to a morning glass of water or to a mid day shake to give that extra kick of protein needed in your diet.

So there’s no excuse for the vegetarian. Protein is available in many forms and with a little effort you can make sure that your life and eating habits are healthy and support your active lifestyle.

Feel free to leave your comments, questions or your own personal input in the comments section below.

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By Rich Thurman, B.Sc., MA, CSCS, CPT

Health & Performance Coach

Active Lifestyle Co. Ltd

With a degree in Physiology from UCLA and a Masters Degree in Sports & Fitness Management, Rich combines his knowledge of rehabilitation and sports performance as well as nutritional studies to provide a complete and holistic approach to training clients. The focus is on lifestyle change which creates long term health.


About Rich Thurman III B.Sc, MA, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Rich has a Bachelors of Science in Physiological Science from UCLA and a Masters of Sports Management from USF. He is certified by the National Strength & Conditioning Association, (NSCA) as a Personal Trainer (CPT) and Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He is primary author of The Fitness Library and writes for various other publications, including the San Francisco Police Officer's Association. Rich is the founder of Xodus Fitness, which offers Fitness Consulting & Personal Training, Urban Body Transformation Bootcamps, Corporate Wellness. Rich also conducts Workshops and an annual lecture at the San Francisco State University Kinesiology Department. Please feel free to contact through any of the links below to inquire about professional services or opportunities.

4 Responses to Protein Sources for Vegetarians Trying to Lose Body Fat

  1. keva says:


    I love the blog. Thank you for sending this helpful information. Your diet is the way that Himani has to eat due to all of her food allergies. So.. what form of Spirulina do you use? I have never seen it in it’s whole form, only powdered. Am I missing something.

    Thanks cousin. Keep educating us. We are listening.

    • Rich Thurman says:

      It’s hard for me to come by Spirulina in powder form here in Thailand although I prefer it. Most of the pharmacies only have capsule and I don’t want to take too many capsules as they can be hard on the stomach and digestion. I usually tend to bloat in the lower abs when I take capsules. (pay close attention to your body and how it responds to foods). So I use powdered form. I managed to get some from a friend traveling. The nearest place to Bangkok to get most decent holistic food items is Singapore or Hong Kong. There are some local sources but things are limited. I think you will definitely have more options in California.

      As far as foods and food allergies I tend to steer clear of things that will irritate the intestines, e.g. capsules (as much as possible), wheat, rice (very rare occasion and brown if I can), breads, pastas and I’ve even cut down on oats to maybe once or twice per week at most.

      Let me know more about Himani’s situation either via Email or if you’re looking for input from others we can continue the dialogue here. Discussion is welcome and this way we all learn and grow stronger and healthier.

  2. Pingback: I’m Vegetarian; How Can I Get More Protein in My Life « Bangkok Personal Trainer

  3. Pingback: Rich’s Morrocan Mint Quinoa Salad « Bangkok Personal Trainer

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