As a vegan, one of the first things I’m asked, often with dismay, is “Where do you get your protein from?” This usually leads to my turning away slightly so that I can roll my eyes, so that the person asking the question doesn’t see my exasperation. After all, my intent is not to make people feel foolish for believing something that they’ve heard over and over again – how we need so much protein per day, and if we don’t get it, we will suffer dire consequences.
According to WebMD, most Americans eat too much protein, mainly because the meat and dairy industries push as much protein as possible through commercials and advertisements in magazines, newspapers and billboards. Of course they are selling a “product” and want to make as much money as they can. http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-kitchen-11/how-much-protein WebMD also talks about how with proper planning, Vegans can get all the protein they need from their diets.
What we are actually eating when people eat meat, dairy or a plant-based diet of course, are amino acids. We are not eating “protein”, but the amino acids that our body basically turns into protein. In the article located here, http://nutritionstudies.org/mystique-of-protein-implications/ you can find excellent information regarding both how much protein you need per day, the RDA is 10% but as shown in the article, the typical American diet provides 17% per day. As a side note, this article also addresses the question of how much protein is exactly necessary in our diets. That question is up to debate within the scientific community and is most likely lower than the RDA quoted 10%. The article also goes on to say that we generally eat much too much protein, and when that is derived from meat/dairy sources we also leave ourselves open to the detrimental effects of consuming too much protein along with everything else that is added to or fed to the animals from which it is derived, which can in turn lead to cancer and heart disease. This does not happen when obtaining protein from a plant based diet.
So, to answer the question “Where do you get your protein from?” Here is my response. The following foods have amino acids that in turn become protein: legumes, soy, whole wheat, spinach, broccoli, seeds, nuts, quinoa, rice, etc. This is a large selection, and none of it is meat or dairy. In truth, as a vegan I don’t eat any soy with the exception of the occasional edamame. I haven’t eaten any processed foods since April, 2014, and am really trying to stay away from it. I’ve been finding some wonderful recipes from various sources (the Internet being the one I’ve used most), and have been trying new fruits and vegetables, too. Anyway, there is your answer. Plant-based protein is available, cheap and yummy!