But where do you get your protein?
Any vegan will tell you that they’ve lost count at how many times they have been asked this question.
I have been vegan for 5+ years now and during this time I have not had any problem getting enough protein.
If I am asked this question and am in an argumentative mood I will generally throw back a question such as, “Where do the animals you eat get their protein?” or “Where do elephants and gorillas, some of the strongest animals in the world get their protein?”
I often get perplexed faces staring back at me as the person who asked ponders that question.
The protein myth was created years ago by the extremely influential meat and dairy industries in the West. They needed a way to get people to consume more of their products every single day of the year for the rest of their (continually shortened) lives.
And they needed a way that no one would question.
Protein builds muscle, protein is essential for muscle repair and recovery. Protein is essential for living.
So when we are continuously bombarded with the messages that the more protein we eat the better it is for our bodies and health, as a society we literally take this information on board and start consuming animal protein at an incredible rate. Because of course, animal protein is the only complete protein available, and complete protein is essential for health.
(Not so) FUN FACT:
Meat consumption in industrialised countries has increased from 64kg in the 1960s to 96kg per person in 2015 (source: http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/y4252e/y4252e05b.htm).
The meat industry has done an incredible job at getting people to increase their meat consumption.
Consequently, we have seen the effects of this, and not in the way of increased health among Western civilisation.
We have seen an increase in obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.
The China Study by Dr T Colin Campbell demonstrates the correlation between animal protein and disease through extensive studies in the West and rural China.
As humans, we don’t need animal protein to be healthy, to gain muscle and to have strong healthy bodies.
We do need protein, approximately 10-15% of our total daily calorie consumption.
Protein sources among plants are limitless.
Beans, legumes, organic soy products, leafy green vegetables are just to name a few sources of protein.
Organic Hawaiian spirulina, maca powder and hemp protein are some superfood sources of plant protein, but we don’t need these to thrive.
My favourite plant protein at the moment is quinoa. Every day I have a kale and quinoa salad for lunch and not only does it keep me full but tastes delicious.
Amy’s quinoa kale salad
1 cup of cooked quinoa (cook with curry powder & chili flakes for extra flavour)
2 cups of chopped kale
12 cherry tomatoes
1 large chopped carrot
2 sliced baby cucumbers
Tossed in a large spoon of Dijon mustard and a dash of apple cider vinegar
Top salad with fresh coriander/cilantro
The good news is, if we eat enough calories through a variety of fruit, vegetables and whole grains we will get enough protein to meet our bodies protein requirements.
Here are a few other funny questions I have been asked related to my plant-based lifestyle.
“Where do you get your calcium and iron?”
A: kale, fortified plant-milks, tofu, beans
“How many vitamins do you have to take?”
A: Only B-12
“How do you have enough energy to run marathons?”
A: I have had more energy and quicker recovery since going plant-based
“Won’t eating that many bananas cause a potassium overdose?”
A: Simply, no. But this question made me laugh
“Isn’t all the sugars in fruit bad for you?”
A: Naturally occurring sugars in plants are not bad for you, especially with all the fiber and nutrients you get from eating fruit.
“But eggs are good for you right?”
A: Full of saturated fat and cholesterol – you can answer that one yourself.
Isn’t it funny how one on the strongest fictional characters said no to beef, chicken and eggs?
Popeye relied on spinach for his strength!
Proteinaholic by Dr Garth Davis
The Protein Myth
The China Study by T Colin Campbell
Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by T Colin Campbell