When someone adopts a vegan diet, the first question they receive from family and friends is, invariably, “How are you going to get enough protein”? The myth that vegans are unable to receive sufficient protein from a meatless diet is perpetuated by animal farming industrialists. In reality, protein derived from plant based foods is equally effective as protein from animal sources.
Did you know that more than 40% of the calories in broccoli, spinach, and cauliflower come from protein and that more than 50% of the calories in all bean varieties come from protein? Every single whole food, whether it is a grain, legume, fruit, or vegetable, contains some protein. Vegans, like omnivores, receive enough protein as long as their daily calorie intake is sufficient.
If you need further proof that vegans are capable of consuming enough protein, consider research findings that protein derived from plants is significantly healthier than proteins taken from animal sources. According to the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, people who get the majority of their protein from animal products have an increased risk of suffering from osteoporosis.
The American Heart Association also urges consumers to consider the benefits of obtaining protein from plant based foods, saying that “You don’t need to eat animal products to have enough protein in your diet. Plant proteins alone can provide the essential and non-essential amino acids.” (http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4777)
The truth is that omnivores and herbivores alike are more likely to eat too much protein rather than too little. Too much protein, regardless of its origination, increases a person’s likelihood of developing cancer, kidney disease, and calcium stones. A recent article from Live Lean Today Magazine sums up the protein myth by stating that “The average American actually eats more protein than they need. American men consume twice as much protein as the Government recommends; women, nearly 1.5 times as much.” (http://www.liveleantoday.com/article.cfm?id=359)
The next time someone says that you are unable to obtain enough protein as a vegan, you will be able to correct their misinformation and dispel the protein myth!
Jennifer Clary is an owner of the vegan food company Gobble Green (http://www.gobblegreen.com) and a CEO of the national media corporation jenkev productions (http://www.jenkev.com). Gobble Green is an online marketplace offering a diverse and frequently updated selection of healthy, pre-packaged vegan meals. In addition to her corporate responsibilities, Jennifer is an award winning film director and a proud vegan.