So....Where Do You Get Your Protein?
The vegan diet has created a huge buzz. Celebrities endorse it, doctors approve of it, and challenges like ‘Veganuary’ are popping up everywhere. But what is a vegan anyway?
Being “vegan” means you do not consume any animal products of any kind. Some vegans even abstain from wearing clothing made with animal products i.e. leather, feathers, wool and silk. And the vegan diet is comprised of fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, and nuts. As this lifestyle continues to gain popularity and everyone wants to know what veganism is all about, still the most common questions we are asked is: “Where do you get your protein? I will happily answer that question so that you can enter your vegan lifestyle without any doubts.
Contrary to common misconceptions, being vegan does not mean you lack an adequate supply of protein. If you are vegan, you’ve probably had this conversation more than few times. Most people on the plant-based diet have had to pull out research journals to justify their diet provides all the nutrients needed by humans. The idea that protein is only present in animal products (eggs, meat, milk, etc.) is misguided. It crops up from thousands of years of depending on meat as a source of proteins. It is now perpetuated by an industry that thrives on this outdated an inaccurate ideology.
Veganism Is Too Expensive
The vegan diet is not as difficulty or as expensive as you may think. Plants are easily accessible, nutritious, and delicious (if cooked correctly). Furthermore, foods like beans, rice and pasta are very affordable. Although fresh is best and frozen is great, canned vegetables are extremely affordable and will easily become pantry staples.
How Much Protein Do We Need Anyway?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stipulates on average, every American should eat a minimum of 50 grams of proteins per day. The average person consuming the Standard American Diet eats twice this amount, while someone eating a vegan diet consumes anywhere from 60-80 grams of protein. Yes, the average person eating a vegan diet consumes more than the recommended daily amount of protein daily. Wow, a vegan who eats more protein than is recommended? Is this really possible? Do they really exist? Yes, my dear, myth 1 debunked.
When you are on a plant-based diet, it is important to consume a form of protein in every meal. This increases your daily protein quota significantly. By carefully choosing your food, you will be able to get all the protein you need to remain healthy as the FDA recommends. Complicated right? Here is a list of high protein plant-based foods:
· Quinoa 8g per cup.
· Chickpeas 7.25g per ½ a cup.
· Chia seeds 2g per tablespoon.
· Lentils 8.8g per ½ cup.
· Peanuts 20.5g per ½ cup.
· Almonds 16.5g per ½ a cup.
· Seitan 21g per 1/3 of a cup.
· Edamame 8.5g per ½ a cup.
· Tempeh 15g per ½ a cup.
· Tofu 10g per ½ a cup.
· Kale 2g per cup.
· Hemp seeds 11g per 3 Tbsp
You Gave Me A List Now What?
With these foods, along with the various other fruits and vegetable in the plant kingdom, you can create a completely satisfying meal that is rich in protein. Eat tofu for breakfast in a scramble. Sprinkle hemp seeds on your kale salad or buddah bowl at lunch. Finally, for dinner, eat a lentil patty melt or quinoa burger. The options are endless.
Although viewed by many as an extreme diet, veganism is quite simple, thus debunking yet another myth. It is rewarding, not only to the environment but one’s health as well. It does not curb essential nutrients from your daily meals, and it offers health-related benefits that are otherwise hard to acquire without the use of supplements.
Bottom line… with some simple research, you can easily see being vegan does not equate protein deficiency. It doesn’t mean a boring diet of the same foods. Nor is it a life sentence of constant hunger and deprivation.