Are plant proteins really incomplete? Can your body actually tell the difference between amino acids from plants and amino acids from animals? If you are at all curious about whether you can get optimal protein on a plant-based diet – or if you’ve ever heard that plant protein is incomplete – this week’s episode of The Allsorts Podcast with Vesanto Melina RD is a must listen (or watch)!

vesanto melina rd on the allsorts podcast

There is a strong trend on social media right now that is trying to position plant-based protein as somehow inferior to animal protein which is showing up in a number of formerly vegan influencers remarking that they felt much better when they started putting animal protein back in their meals.

As a dietitian, I am thrilled when someone finds a way of eating that works for them. We are all unique and have to do what is right for us. But when someone implies that plant-based protein is somehow inferior…all I’ve got to say is, “where is your evidence for that?”

So I’m talking with Vesanto Melina, author of the brand new (and heavily researched) book Plant-powered Protein with Brenda Davis RD and Cory Davis. Vesanto is an iconic vegan dietitian who has been driving the evidence-based discussion on plant-based diets since before I was born. She and Brenda are the reason why all of us plant-based dietitians walk a much gentler path. They are both professional heroes of mine so I am deeply honoured to welcome Vesanto to this, the 50th (!!!) episode of The Allsorts Podcast

About Vesanto Melina RD:

Vesanto Melina, MS, Registered Dietitian is co-author of books that have won awards internationally and received a starred rating by the American Library Association as “the go-to books” on plant-based nutrition. Most recent are Plant-Powered Protein, Becoming Vegan (Comprehensive and Express Edition) and The Kick Diabetes Cookbook, (all with dietitian Brenda Davis RD). Their books are now in 10 languages. Vesanto has taught nutrition at Seattle’s Bastyr University and at the University of British Columbia and has been a government consultant for 22 years. She is lead author of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics latest Position Paper on Vegetarian Diets and an internationally known speaker.

On this episode we chat about: 

  • How a trip to India in the 1970s changed the way Vesanto thinks about food
  • How going plant-based was controversial in the nutrition community in the 90s
  • What protein is, and what it does in the body
  • Is plant-based protein lower quality than animal protein?
  • How much protein we need daily
  • How to eat enough protein without counting things
  • The historical context for associating protein with meat
  • Common (fixable!) reasons you might not be feeling great plant-based
  • How plant-based diets affect iron stores
  • The connection between plant-based diets and longevity
  • How protein needs change as we get older 

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Connect with Vesanto:

Get Vesanto’s new book Plant-powered Protein


Instagram: @vesanto.melina

Episode Links + Recommendations:

Thanks so much for listening to this episode of The Allsorts Podcast, which is produced by myself and edited by Brian McCalman. We are grateful to live and work and learn on the unceded and ancestral territory of the Squamish, Musqueum, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples.