Where do vegans get protein?
I can’t tell you how many times people that eat meat and animal products have asked me that question. The truth is, the amount of protein you think you need probably is not accurate at all. The amount of protein a person needs does vary based on activity level and fitness goals. I personally enjoy lifting weights at least three days per week and I am usually fairly active even when not in the gym. Because of this, and my body type, I need more protein that most. When I first became a vegan this was a concern of mine as well, because I had the very same misconceptions as many others have about this subject.
The meat, egg and dairy industry would have you believe that you need astronomical amounts of protein, sometimes 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight is recommended. This is not only unnecessary, but it can actually cause harm to your body. To make matters worse, most Americans get that over-exaggerated amount of protein from animal proteins and products, which can cause serious health problems. I recommend you check out The China Study, one of the largest food related studies ever conducted. The China Study reveals the link between animals proteins and multiple types of cancer and disease.
When it comes down to it, every single body is different, because each body is reacting to different levels of activity. However, the actual levels of protein required to maintain a healthy diet are much lower than you might have been told. Below shows the suggested amount of daily protein based on the research and findings of the CDC (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention).
Below is the recommended Dietary Allowance for Protein, in grams needed per day, for each age group:
Children ages 1 to 3 – 13 g
Children ages 4 to 8 – 19 g
Children ages 9 to 13 – 34 g
Girls ages 14 to 18 – 46 g
Boys ages 14 to 18 – 52 g
Woman ages 19 to 70 and over – 46 g
Men ages 19 to 70 and over – 56 g
See, that’s not that much!
As you can see, we really do not require that much protein to be healthy, not nearly as much as you have been told by the meat and dairy industries. As a vegan, even if you want to be a competitive athlete, there is nothing to be concerned about. There have been many vegan athletes that have demonstrated the power and ability of the human body, and they have figured out how much protein the body needs to build new muscle growth, or to remain competitive in a race. I could never name all of the awesome vegan athletes out there, but here are just a few:
Korin Sutton – Click here to view bio.
Derek Tresize – Click here to view bio.
Melissa Hauser – Click here to view bio.
Robert Cheeke – Click here to view bio.
Still not convinced?
Even “Germany’s Strongest Man” of 2011 is vegan, and his name is Patrik Baboumian – Click here to find out more about him.
So if you were concerned with how much protein you need, or what you are capable of doing, as a vegan, I hope I have eased your mind. I hope you realize that being more compassionate, and making a healthier lifestyle commitment, will not impact your goals as an athlete. In many cases it can actually enchance your abilities as an athlete.
If for some reason you are STILL worried about where vegans get their protein, here are just a few sources:
Chickpeas – 1 cup contains around 15 g
Black Beans – 1 cup contains around 15 g
Lentils – 1 cup contains around 18 g
Quinoa – 1cup contains around 8 g
Peanut Butter – 2 Tbsp. contains around 8 g
Tofu – 4 oz. contains around 10 g
Almonds – ¼ cup contains around 8 g
Cashews – ¼ cup contains around 5 g
Seitan – 3 oz contains around 21 g
Veggie Burger – 1 patty contains around 13 g
Veggie Dog – 1 link contains around 8 g
Soy Milk – 1 cup contains around 7 g
Flickr – Creative Commons – Image by Honolulu Media
I could go on and on about sources of proteins for vegans, but the fact is, all plant-based foods contain protein, and your protein needs can be easily met on a vegan diet. I hope this brief article has helped prove that protein is readily available for vegans, and that our bodies really do not require that much to maintain proper health and nutrition. If you have any questions about what you have read feel free to contact me. I would love to hear from you.
Learn more about Shannon by clicking here or by visiting SharingVeganism.com.