Can someone help with a high protein Vegetarian diet?

As a male Indian who is vegetarian there are many restrictions to my diet that I believe do not let me achieve my goals and hit the desired amount of daily protein. I can’t eat eggs and I don’t wish to consume much of soya due to the ambiguity around it affecting the oestrogen levels in males.

In India I don’t see many options available that are high in protein and lower in carbs and fats. Most food that people say are high in protein are also high in carbs and fat.

For example, I currently weigh around 70kgs. I need at least 2 grams of protein per kilo of body weight, so that’s 140 grams of protein a day.

My maintenance is around 1800 and in order to lose fat I would need to at least cut to 1500 calories per day.

So 140 grams x 4 calories per gram = 560 calories out of my daily calorie intake has to be protein.

When I try to have 140 grams of protein a day I always fail to do so because I am unable to intake that much protein within the 1500 calories mark. I take 1 scoop of protein a day and that helps but other than that everything available is too high in carbs and fats so I can never seem to achieve my desired goals of 140 grams of protein and eating around 1500 calories, it just seems impossible.

Once again, I can’t have any non vegetarian foods including eggs (eggs are considered non vegetarian for us) and as a male I wish to avoid soya due to the ambiguity around oestrogen.

Can someone please help me plan or suggest a diet or some few foods in my diet that are available in India, are vegetarian and don’t have soya in them but are still high in protein and low in fats and carbs to help me achieve my goals?

Thank you so much.


  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 9,382 Member
    Dairy is out of the question as well, right? Do you follow a jain diet or can you have underground root vegetables? Pulses seem to be your best bet, really. Don't really contain fats, but at least some protein. phew, this is difficult...
  • carley_marie83
    carley_marie83 Posts: 59 Member
    Soy Does Not Raise Estrogen or Lower Testosterone Levels in Men. It is a huge myth that it does.
  • sollyn23l2
    sollyn23l2 Posts: 1,577 Member
    Soy Does Not Raise Estrogen or Lower Testosterone Levels in Men. It is a huge myth that it does.

  • neanderthin
    neanderthin Posts: 9,869 Member
    edited February 10
    Soy Does Not Raise Estrogen or Lower Testosterone Levels in Men. It is a huge myth that it does.

    "Huge myth" is rather overstating, effectively saying it never happens or there's no science so therefore a myth. I personally don't believe it's a contributing factor for the vast majority but there's enough studies that are in conflict with each other to basically conclude that it's a non factor, but it does show up and where dosage matters, so not exactly a myth. :)
  • sands117
    sands117 Posts: 1 Member
    Lentils are a great option. Also, there are a number of plant based high-protein, low carb replacements for common carb sources like tortillas and pasta that can be found in the grocery if you look for them. I often you need to do the fiber math yourself but it's important to subtract fiber from your net carbs.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 31,953 Member
    Seitan is high in protein, and isn't soy. I don't know whether you can get it pre-made in India, but you can make it yourself. A web search will give you recipes. Unlike soy, it's not a complete protein (in terms of essential amino acids, EAAs). It lacks lysine predominantly, so needs complements with lysine (some beans, seeds, nuts).

    Do you eat dairy? If so, that's part of the answer, paneer is a reasonably calorie-efficient cheese, there's yogurt (especially strained yogurt like labneh, Greek yogurt, etc.), and more. If reduced-fat options are available, those are useful.

    Other than that, beans/pulses, defatted peanut or almond powder, nutritional yeast. Vary your sources to balance EAAs. You might also get some useful tips from this site:

    The other thing I'd suggest, as a long-term vegetarian myself (ovo-lacto), is to try to get small bits of protein from almost everything you eat. They add up through the day. Often, those kinds of sources are less EAA-complete or bioavailable, but varying them through the day somewhat compensates for that. If you're logging your food, you can look for foods that are giving you relatively many calories, but very lit

    There are breads with relatively more protein, grains with more protein, veggies with more protein, beverages with protein, seasonings with protein, even some fruits with protein. The thread suggested above (by Corina) can help you identify some of those. You'll need to scroll past the mostly meaty/fishy things at the top of the linked spreadsheet, but you'll find vegetarian sources further down.

    Subbing quinoa (if you can get that) for rice is an example of this kind of thinking. Quinoa's not a world-beater protein source, but it has roughly twice as much protein as rice (8g per cup vs. 4g per cup of cooked, roughly) for similar calories.

    I'd suggest you read more direct research about soy phytoestrogens for men, not take the popular coverage as necessarily accurate or up to date.

    It's not a thing I've researched, though I have paid pretty close attention to phytoestrogen research when it comes to breast cancer (because I had a type of cancer fed by estrogen). I've changed my view on soy as the research has evolved, and now eat some. The funny thing about soy phytoestrogens is that in some contexts they behave like estrogen, and in other contexts as a sort of anti-estrogen (blocking estrogen-like effects).

    (Obviously I'm oversimplifying here. Read the research. I'm also not saying that because soy's now seen as OK in a case like mine, it's non-problematic for men. All I'm saying is that "it's plant estrogen, so it's bad for men" is too simplistic a view overall given what I know about soy phytoestrogen.)

    Best wishes!