"WOW, you are a vegan? Where do you get protein from?" 

This is by far the number one question I get when I tell someone I am Vegan. For some reason our culture is extremely caught up in the idea that Vegans don’t get enough protein. I have a sneaking suspicion that the meat marketing people may have something to do with this. The truth is that North Americans get more than twice the protein they

 need everyday leading to obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and all kinds of nasty diseases.

Let’s really break it down, biology lesson style. First of all, protein is required for the building, maintenance, and repair of tissues in the body. Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, can be synthesized by the body or ingested from food. So where do we get the amino acids that are not synthesized in the body? Let’s start by looking to the sun, all energy starts with the sun. The sun’s rays through photosynthesis converts carbon dioxide into plant compounds especially sugars. These plants are full of all the amino acids humans and non-human animals need to make protein in their own bodies and thrive.

In our conventional food systems we organize animals like cows to eat those plants so they can create protein and grow. Then humans come along and eat the cow’s flesh and milk so they can get the energy back from the plants. For us to get that energy back we have to use a bunch of our own energy to break the meat back down to the original plant amino acids so we can convert that to build the protein we need for our bodies.

Is it just me or does it seem like we are doing a bit of extra work here. Why would we waste all that energy breaking down the protein from beef and dairy back into plant protein when we could simply eat the plants directly in the first place and get everything we need? The crazy part is that in order to get the cows to grow and make this protein we waste unfathomable amounts of water, and fossil fuels and create more global warming gases than any other industry on the planet. And an evil side effect of eating animal protein is the saturated fat and cholesterol we put into our bodies which leads to obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other horrible diseases.

Why not cut out the sickening middle man and get the goods directly from the source – plants. Plants don’t just provide us with all the protein we need, they have some healthy baggage as well. They are a good sources of fiber, beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, folate, iron, magnesium and calcium, and they can lower blood cholesterol, as well as reduce the risk of certain diseases.

Research has shown that all plants have at least 14% protein and in fact broccoli has more protein per calorie than steak does. Of course, you’ll need to eat a lot more broccoli to get the same amount of calories that you do from the meat. This is where legumes come in. Legumes are packed with dense amounts of protein. Consuming a whole foods Vegan diet with lots of plant variety will guarantee you clean, easily absorbed abundant protein.

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Thank you for posting this Xiao :)! Actually I just got done with a 3-day nutritional analysis of myself, and I was very surprised that without tofu or even beans besides a few chickpeas, my protein is meeting my daily recommended limit. Fear over protein is so misplaced, though of course it is very important :)!

you're welcome Lauren. 

Protein is not the issue. Us vegans need to watch out for B12 and Omega 3s importantly.

Unless you're trying to build muscle, you don't need a great deal of protein.

Just watch out for soy protein isolate. There have been some correlations with health issues. John Robbins cites this in his book No Happy Cows.

there has been a lot of issue with B12 for vegans. Any recommendation for it? I consume tempeh for my B12 source. how about you?

Supplements from the local pharmacy. Soluble sublingual are the best.

I believe wheat grass juice is a good source. And someone said walnuts once...though I'm not sure about that.

The juice company, Naked, has a drink called Green Machine: it has a good amount of B12. I guess look up the ingredients and make it at home--probably cheaper too.

thank you for your suggestion. I will try to find information about it. 

Eric gives great advice, also fortified cereals are very good sources for fortified B vitamins. Including 12 I believe they regularly add 4 in total, including Niacin.

Thanks!

Here's the drink I was talking about:

http://www.nakedjuice.com/our-products/juice/green-machine

I loved Naked juice so much that I actually began replacing it as my favorite store bought juice over Odwalla. Then I discovered that both Odwalla and Naked Juice's parent companies spent millions to oppose the passage of California Proposition 37, labeling of GMOs.

I've boycotted both and have decided to stick with juice drinks made in my own home. Besides that, the more I thought about the carbon footprint of packaging, labeling, distribution and bottles not being recycled made that decision even easier.

Food for thought ;)

Naked is a GMO company. It's owned by Pepsi.

mushrooms (champignons) and seaweed are great as well for vegans

Spirulina is a great source of B12 also nutritional yeast is high in all B vitamins.. High in b12 as well!

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