Protein: The number one question vegans get nearly every day of their lives is; ‘so, where do vegans get their protein from?’
Let me tell you that there is NO problem getting enough protein from plant foods and that this allows you to eat much of your proteins raw. Raw proteins will give you far less denatured proteins that can cause cancer and other health challenges in the body.
Animal proteins are the only dietary source of cholesterol’s that are known to clog your arteries and cause death.
So, the reasons to go vegan under this subject are;
Your proteins and the associated fats aren’t attempting to kill you. That may be a bit blunt, but, you do have to admit, it’s a darn good reason.
There is no need for a sentient being to have to die so that you can eat when it’s not what your body was designed for and you can get your protein elsewhere.
Here Are 4 Plant Foods With More Protein Per Calorie Than Beef!
To establish the baseline the most common beef consumed in America is 70% lean ground beef. This has 332 calories per 100 grams while providing 14 grams of protein that must be cooked and denatured.
A). Spinach: has 5 grams of protein per cup and one cup only has 30 calories. So, 3 cups have 15 grams of protein and only 90 calories.
B). Broccoli: has 4.5 grams of protein per 30 calories. One cup chopped has around 25 calories.
C). Spirulina: 4 grams of protein per one teaspoon and that amount only has 30 calories.
D). Tempeh: about 31 grams of protein per 1 cup with 320 calories.
So, as you can see, beef can’t even come close to the vegan protein sources listed above as far as protein per calorie. The reason only these 4 were chosen is that you can eat each of these raw. Some of the ones below could be eaten raw, but most people won’t.
As you’ll see, becoming vegan and getting your protein is not all that difficult and is really pretty easy.
A). Kidney beans: 2 cups of boiled kidney beans have 30 grams of protein and 450 calories.
B). Lentils: 2 cups of boiled lentils have 36 grams of protein and 460 calories.
C). Tofu: here you’re looking at about 40 grams of protein and 376 calories per 2 cup depending on the manufacturer.
D). Chia seeds: 100 grams = 17 grams of protein and 486 calories.
E). Quinoa: 2 cups have 16 grams of protein and 444 calories.
F). Nutritional yeast: 2 tablespoons have 8 grams of protein and only 45 calories.
G). Hummus: 1cup has 19 grams of protein and 409 calories.
How Much Protein Do You Really Need?
Well, the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight or 0.36 grams per pound of body weight. This comes out to 56 grams for the average sedentary male and 46 grams for the average sedentary female.
So, as you can see becoming vegan and getting enough protein is absolutely no problem.
However, this begs to ask the question; are you sedentary?
If you get even an hour’s worth of exercise once per week your protein needs will go up to facilitate recovery and repair.
If you’re relatively active to very active then you may wish to consider getting 1 gram per kilogram of body weight each day.
If you’re a strength athlete or bodybuilder then you may want to up that to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight to ensure you’re getting adequate amounts for lean tissue development.
I know there are people out there that are afraid of protein, saying that the 1.5 grams will cause organ damage etc.. But, there are NO studies that indicate anything remotely close to that espousal especially using plant derived proteins.
Studies show that moderate protein levels like the ones we are discussing (yes those are moderate) do not cause kidney or other organ damage in healthy people. So, unless you already have kidney disease you should be fine.
Plus, they weren’t using our low 1.5 grams per kilo of body weight. Some of the studies were using 2 or more grams per pound of body weight with animal proteins no less and still found no damage.
If you think about it the science makes sense. The Arctic peoples such as the Inuit and the African peoples such as Masai tribe ate and do eat massive amounts of protein. During some stretches of the year they may have little to no carbohydrate in their diet and they have no organ damage from the protein itself.
Yes, they DO have heart problems from the cholesterol, but, no damage from the protein and we are NOT advocating eating animal flesh here. We ARE advocating getting your protein from a vegan diet. So, the cholesterol is NOT an issue as it is for them.
There is no concern for safety and even at the 1.5 grams of protein level and you can still find it relatively easy to accomplish on a vegan diet.
I am ONLY saying that you may wish to up your protein levels to the ranges discussed IF you’re a vegan bodybuilder or strength athlete.
If you’re becoming vegan or already are vegan and not into extreme athletics then you may be able to do just fine on the RDI’s.
As a matter of fact, there are NO studies showing adverse affects from any level of PLANT proteins anywhere to be found. It would seem that our bodies know exactly what to do with plant proteins and don’t have any problems with them.
Here is an interesting point: The mountain gorilla (gorilla beringei beringei) live at altitudes where very few fruits grow, so around 86% of their diet is leaves and tender shoots. Then, around 7% will consist of roots and tubers, roughly 3% will be flowers, 2% will be fruits and 2% various snails – small lizards or insects.
They consume around 40 pounds of forage foods per day. Their foods are known to contain up to 30% of their calories from protein. This is NOT surprising since spinach has over 50% of its calories coming from protein and many tree leaves are equally as high, plus the bugs, lizards and snails etc…
So, 40 pounds of food at roughly 170 calories per pound X 30% protein = 2,040 calories from protein divided by 4 (calories per gram) = 510 grams of protein per day and they are just fine.
To summarize, there is nothing to worry about on a vegan diet.
If you eat sufficient calories from a variety of plant sources such as, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes and tubers etc.. Then you should be able to meet your minimum requirements while going vegan.
If you’re an athlete and need more protein to excel in your sport, there is no evidence anecdotal, empirical or otherwise that suggests a relatively small amount of plant protein at even 1.5 grams per kilo of body weight will give a healthy person any problems at all.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t be a high carb vegan. In fact it’s the ultimate lifestyle for health. I’m just saying that; if you want to excel in a sport that demands more lean body mass, then there is no reason to fear vegan proteins.
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