I am often asked, “Where do you get your protein? You can’t survive without protein.” This is a reasonable question — Especially coming from those who have been duped by the American food industry. For many years, companies that sell eggs and meat have been using this as a marketing strategy. They have conditioned us to believe that protein emanates exclusively from animal products, and that we need a lot of it. If you’ve ever noticed, most egg cartons have some mentioning of protein right on top of the packaging. The same goes for Eggbeaters. You won’t find Muscle Milk promoting their product with the help of a skinny little girl either. It’s always some bodybuilder looking guy, who appears to have been etched from stone. That’s the guy I wanted to look like. Those were the muscles I wanted. Well, here’s my story and what I have done to tackle the protein dilemma.
Little did I know, there is much more to protein than how many grams we take in. We need complete proteins; proteins that contain an adequate proportion of all nine of the essential amino acids. The essential amino acids include Tryptophan, Threonine, Isoleucine, Lucien, Lysine, Methionine+Cystine, Phenylalanine+Tyrosine, Valine, and Histidine. It is perfectly fine to get these aminos from separate sources to combine into one meal. You can even get these from several meals throughout the day. (Note: You should be getting the right proportions of these essential amino acids. Click here to see a list of the correct proportions and a list of usable proteins to aid in tissue protein synthesis.)
- Hemp Seed
- Salvia Hispanica (Chia)
- Spirulina (great in green smoothies)
Other ingredients to include for added protein: beans, lentils, tempeh, seitan, avocado, broccoli, spinach, kale, nuts, oatmeal, and non-dairy milk. You can also check out this site for a list of meal options that make up complete proteins.
The protein question will always come up. And that’s OK. People are entitled to believe what they wish. Continue to stay informed and be prepared to learn more and more. People tried to scare me away from my new found lifestyle when I was first starting. It wasn’t because they wanted me to fail, but because they cared about me. The truth of the matter is, that with a vegan diet there are not any cases of protein deficiency. That is, not without a calorie deficiency as well. All plant-based foods have protein. Some are higher than others and some are more complete than others. As long as we maintain a wide variety of plant-based proteins, include healthy fats (avocados, olives, nuts, etc.), observe our B12 intake, and get plenty of calories and carbohydrates, there is no reason why our bodies won’t flourish. You will find yourself with more energy than ever and able to heal quicker after strenuous workouts. Remember to include an array of colors in your meals. That is a good indication of a complete meal.
For a protein-packed vegan meal, check out this Four Bean Chili.