Now if you are a vegan or if you’ve even ever thought for a second about being vegan, someone somewhere has asked you, “so where do you get your protein?”  Today, I’m going to show you where i get mine.  Now during the video for this post, I show footage of me eating one of my most protein rich meals–lettuce and dates.  I’m not going to go into all the nuances and details of the vegan protein debate, just going to talk a little bit about it, show you where I get my protein from, and about how much I average daily.

There are so many vegan sources of protein, and vegan diets can vary as much in content as non-vegan diets.  First off, and this is something I’ll go into more detail later, we don’t really require as much protein as most of us think we do.  And in reality it’s virtually impossible to not get enough protein.  Unless of course you aren’t consuming enough calories at all, or you’re exclusively eating highly processed refined foods.  But in general, protein really isn’t something to fret about.

Just to satisfy the question, some vegan sources of protein include vegetables, specifically leafy greens, just see the rapid munching me as a reference, broccoli, zucchini, and other vegetables, all variety of beans, tofu, tempeh, nuts and nut butters, non-dairy milks, quinoa, lentils, sprouted bread products, and believe it or not, fruits have protein.  any whole food is actually made up of carbohydrates protein and fat, and contains a percentage of each of those categories.

Dr. Douglas Graham writes. “despite the advertising hype of the meat and dairy industries, humans require an extraordinarily low amount of protein in their diets.”  In a very basic way, protein is for growth and repair.  Now if you think about a time in our lives when we need to grow the very most, it’s when we are infants.  This is the time in our lives where we will experience our most rapid growth.  And thus have our highest need for protein per calorie ever.  So it follows that human breast milk would need to have the most amount of protein for calories of anything that we would ever need to eat.

And human breast milk is [drum roll]…6 percent protein.  Which is less than cherries, oranges, peaches, strawberries, watermelon, tomato, cucumbers, potatoes, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, and countless other fruits and vegetables!   The typical US recommended daily allowance is currently 46 grams per day for women and 56 grams of protein per day for men.  This is roughly 0.36 grams per pound of body weight or 0.8 gram per kilogram of body weight.  The world health organization recommends 0.66 gram per kilograms per day of protein, and states that this “can be accepted as the best estimate of a population average requirement for healthy adults.”

In all reality, the percentage of protein from our entire daily intake is more important than the grams of protein.  According to the longest nutritional study ever conducted, the China Study, which was based on over 40 years of research, we require only 5 to 6 percent of calories to come from protein.  The 9 to 10 percent that has been recommended for the past 50 years has been in order to assure that most people get their 5 to 6 percent.  This study also showed that animal derived protein is incredibly cancer-causing and detrimental to health in a number of ways.

It also showed that plant protein, even in amounts of excess of 10 percent, showed no ill health effects.  Think that you need more protein to build some muscle?  Think again of the infants growing extraordinarily on 6 percent protein.  But if you still want more protein, go for it.  Just keep it plant-based to avoid some serious health issues.

So let’s see how my diet measures up.  Well, during the video, I consumed all of my dates: 2.2% protein, adding 2.4 grams for me, and almost all of my lettuce, 5 pounds of it at least, at 17.4% protein which added a whopping 28 grams of protein for me.  My total protein intake for that day with my other fruit meals added in was 49.8 grams, which even trumps the US RDA requirements. my overall calonutrient ratio for the day was 88.5 percent carbs, 6.9 percent protein, and 4.6 percent fat.

So that’s where I get my protein from.  And check out my post about what I eat in a full day to watch me eat 10lbs of lettuce!

Now tell me…Where do you get YOUR protein? ;)

And for more on protein and other nutrients on a vegan diet, check out my free ebook!

see ya next nugget!

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Resources:

WHO Report on Protein
The 80/10/10 Diet by Dr. Douglas Graham
The China Study by Dr. Colin T. Campbell
Articles on Protein by Dr. Michael Greger’s Nutritionfacts.org

One comment on “A Word on Protein & Vegan Protein Sources

    Econdemocracy says:

    (To non-vegans considering going veg, see item #3!)

    Emily,
    1. Great, I learned something(s) new, despite having tried to follow this common question. I either didn’t know or forgot about that 6% versus 9%…To get a rough estimate I looked at 9% of 2000 calories..that would be 180 calories..which at 4 calories per gram for protein would be 45 grams of protein per day…about what I was aiming for or thought I was told, but if that 9% is just to make sure we get 6%, which is 2/3 of 9%, then we’d actually need only 30 grams per day (roughly)..that’s even more reassuring, even as a longtime vegan myself, about that famous vegan protein question (which I’m usually tempted to answer if online by showing the Dan Piraro cartoon witht eh gorilla!)

    2. I’d love to see a slow closeup of that chart, or augmented version, of chart of your meals which flashed by for a second…including the number of (not grams or pounds) of bananas, number of heads of lettuce number of dates, etc..

    Am not planning to go 100% raw but to be raw strong and slowly learn more about nutrient mix would be nice…not necessarily videos, maybe just a link to an html with a sample like that? The pause button solve the “too fast for my eyes” problem but the screen still didn’t say how many bananas, heads of lettuce, etc, per day..and grams of protein not just percent protein (percent protein is nice for replying to some omni myths but those of us not raw may not be used to eating so much bulk per day so in theory we might screw up and not get enough calories, despite high “percent of calories from protein” and might not get enough grams per day..any time we invite someone to expand diet, whether non-veg into veg, or medium-raw vegan looking to go higher-raw, more info helps us sometimes :-)

    3. To site visitors especially those considering going veg (yes we recruit, haha :-) if you’re really worried, or just wanting to be prudent, go ahead and count grams per day…One super high source is Westbrae’s organic Whole soy beans, one can has 3.5 servings of 11grams or 38.5 grams of protein with just 455 calories for the entire can..which tastes great by itself with some low sodium sauces or garlic powder etc..and has in those 455 more than that 30grams or close to that 45 grams for your whole day :-)

    4. Dr. Greger had a great video recently, study is largest ever, 97% of Americans go enough protein, only 3% got enough fiber, and the vegetarians got on average 170% (or was it 180%) of their protein needs.. Here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2m4p8s7xskQ

    he LARGEST such study ever (or largest to date) followed 30,000 non-vegegetarians, 20,000 vegetatarians, 5,000 vegans, some “pesco-vegetarians” etc..Wow!Along with your videos (which I’ve already forwarded to friends) this one from Greger is a great (I try to avoid militaristic language like “ammunition”..) is great what? is a great “convincer :o)

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