It’s the most common question I have been asked since I went vegan in 2012.
“Where do you get your protein?”
“How do you get enough protein?”
“Do you eat a lot of protein powder?”
“You need to eat more protein.”
First off, thank you for your concern.
There have been times when I did not eat enough protein.
But those were only times I was not eating enough calories.
When I restricted my calories down to 1200 or less, I was probably not getting enough protein.
On a very strict juice or coconut water cleanse, I was probably not getting enough protein, because I was not consuming enough calories.
When I was water fasting, I was not getting enough protein, again, because I was not eating any calories.
But when I’m eating plenty of calories–1800-2500 per day–of fresh raw fruits and vegetables, I am getting plenty of protein.
When you eat enough calories of plant-based food, you get enough protein.
I know, I know.
We’ve all been trained to believe that protein only comes from animal foods…
That you gotta eat meat, fish, dairy, and eggs to get protein.
Otherwise, you’re screwed.
Well, folks, that’s not true.
Where do you think the cows, chickens, pigs, turkeys, fish, and other sea life get their protein?
Where do horses, giraffes, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, gorillas, and other primates get their protein?
According to NutritionFacts.org, “Protein contains essential amino acids, meaning our bodies can’t make them so they’re essential to get from our diet. But, other animals don’t make them either. All essential amino acids originate from plants and microbes, and all plant proteins have all of the essential amino acids.“
It is possible to get enough protein from plants alone AS LONG AS YOU EAT ENOUGH PLANTS.
I’m not talking about drinking a 100 calorie smoothie with half a banana for breakfast and eating two wimpy salads a day.
I’m talking about having 3 solid plant-based meals a day.
You can get enough protein eating a cooked vegan diet, eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, beans, and cooked starches.
You can get enough protein eating how I eat: raw fruits, vegetables, and small amounts of nuts, seeds, and sprouted legumes.
That’s right: I recently started including sprouted legumes to boost my protein even more.
They taste AMAZING and digest really well.
And, I’m recreating many cooked bean dishes using sprouted legumes…recipes to come!
Do you believe that plant protein quality is inferior or that you need to combine certain plant proteins to get a complete protein?
Well, that’s been debunked too!
Some plant proteins are relatively low in certain essential amino acids.
But, it doesn’t matter!
Our bodies maintain pools of free amino acids that match themselves together as needed. And, our bodies efficiently recycle proteins every day.
Proteins are dumped into the digestive tract, broken back down, and reassembled. Our bodies mix and match amino acids to whatever proportions needed, whether we are eating clean, plant-based foods or the carnivore diet.
In fact, Dr. Michael Greger says, “It’s practically impossible to even design a diet of whole plant foods that’s sufficient in calories but deficient in protein. Thus, plant-based ‘consumers do not need to be at all concerned about amino acid imbalances…from the plant-food proteins that make up our usual diets.’”
Stay tuned for Part 2!
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