Where do I get my protein?!

I was at a party Friday night and it happened again. Somehow when i talk about something enough I think everyone in the world has heard it and doesn’t need to ask it again, but truth is it’s probably the number one question we veg-heads get.

“So, where do you get your protein?”

I have several options here.

Education on what  the f’d up dairy, beef and poultry industry has convinced them of.

Simple, expected answer.  Beans.

Truthful answer.  Just about every whole food I eat.

 

I always try the education route, guess it’s the teacher in me, but I find a lot of people don’t want to be educated. 

Here is the deal anyway.

The World Health Organization has a very general recommendation of .66g protein/kg body weight for an average adult.  However if you look at the specific charts (in the 284 page report Protein and Amino Acid Requirements in Human Nutrition) you’ll find many of the requirements are much lower than that, and I would probably fall in the .46g/kg range.  To do all the math for you – that’s between 5-10 percent of your total daily calories from protein.

The US RDA protein is much higher, about .8g/kg.  And do I trust the US RDA?  No.  I know that animal agriculture has big business with the US government and dictates much of “my plate” (the old food pyramid) and has on obvious interest in everyone consuming animal protein.  Still, it’s only about 10-15% daily calories from protein.

 

So back to WHO’s recommendation, whom I trust a bit more.

It’s super easy to get 10% protein if you’re eating whole foods and protein, super duper easy to eat 5%.

A look at common produce and foods:

Banana – 4.9 %

Peach – 6.6 %

Brown rice – 7.3 %

Potato – 8.5 %

Orange – 9 %

Whole wheat pasta – 14 %

Mixed nuts – 19 %

Green peas – 26 %

Broccoli – 43 %

Spinach – 50 %

Beans – 58 %

So you can see, general protein for a vegan is not an issue. What we might want to look at is amino acids, but even that tends to be over-dramatized. There are 20 essential amino acids and only 9 that our bodies do not manufacture. While some non-animal protein source contains higher amounts of different amino acids than others, almost all vegan protein sources contain all of the amino acids.

For example, potatoes are higher in tryptophan than corn, but if you eat enough corn you’d eventually get enough.  Make sense?
However, in no way do I advocate eating only one source of protein, not for the protein itself but for all the other vitamins and minerals.

Thus – it all comes back around to – eat a varied diet of whole foods and you’ll get most all nutrients you need.  Exceptions? Yes, but b12, D, fatty acids are another discussion 🙂

So – “Where do you get your protein?”
“In  almost everything I eat “  (well….sugar and oil excepted!).

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Summer raw

Let me clear one thing up right off.  I’m not a healthy eater.  Admitting it is the first step, right? “Hi I’m Karen and I eat a lot of sugar”.

I do try to eat and live vegan, and succeed 99% of the time, but there are a LOT of vegan foods that aren’t healthy!

I look at veg eating a little like a grid

EAT ANIMAL PRODUCTS (A)

HEALTHY (H)

Whole grains, fresh, unprocessed

NO ANIMAL PRODUCTS (V)

HA

(impossible)

VH

UA

 

UH

 

 

UNHEALTHY (U)

Fats, sugars, refined products, processed foods

 

(I see the table didn’t work so well, hope you get the gist)

And you may notice, with my current nutrition education level and awareness, I don’t think you can be a healthy meat eater, I’ve just seen too much evidence that shows the body can’t always adequately handle the animal products.   I know our bodies have adapted very well, but I’ve found for optimal function it doesn’t want  animal flesh.  

So the animal part out of the way, that leaves healthy and unhealthy veganism.  Being a vegan is so easy these days, but that doesn’t make it healthy.  I can go buy a vegan replacement for just about anything – shrimp, crab, fish, beef, lamb, chicken, and praise god even marshmallows!  Every time I find a vegan baked good in the store I buy it.  And if you’ve looked for vegan goodies in the stores you’ll know that there are way too many to eat everytime you’re at the market!

So I want to eat healthier. Much healthier. Which means no processed “meat” products, no home cooked pies, cookies or cakes, no marshmallows (well maybe just one). 

In fact, I started wondering – just what is the healthiest way to eat?  A lot of people are on raw diets, but is that healthy? 

What did our bodies want to eat 20,000 years ago before we started herding animals for food, and before we discovered fire?  Kinda makes me think – probably raw is what we were designed for.

I’ve never dreamed I’d want to try a raw diet, but it might be the kick I need to stop so much sugar and oil (even vegan sugar and oil)!

So, I’m taking the challenge, I’ll do a 21 day raw diet.  Don’t have the exact date, but I’ll start as soon as I find a good guide to tell me what to eat. In the next few days I hope.

I’m very excited about the fact I’ve discovered how to make a travel friendly ranch dressing that is also raw quite by accident!  Since becoming vegan I’ve missed ranch dressing while on the road, I just can’t get used to vinaigrettes, I like the creamy, so I’ve been thinking and thinking about how to package something for the road. I think I got it!  A second trial batch is aging now, can’t wait to try it!

Bring on the raw veges, I’m ready!