Posts tagged with protein:
Just can’t resist posting these photos of some beautifully built vegans who I’m blessed to call my friends, during their recent participation in the Tough Mudder, which, according to its website, is “not your average lame-ass mud run or spirit crushing ‘endurance’ race.”
You may recognize Earthlings director Shaun Monson on the far right- also pictured (on the far left) is the incredibly inspirational animal advocate Alec Pedersen.
Shaun with Melissa, his gorgeous business partner (and Mommy to one of my favorite 5-year-olds)
In conclusion, if anyone ever doubts your ability to get protein from plant-based foods, feel free to whip out these photos. Or a picture of a brontosaurus, that works too.
Ah, every vegetarian’s (and especially vegan’s) favorite question. I probably hear this question once a week, mostly condescendingly from people who must assume that after 16 years without meat, my body must be minutes away from disintegrating. However, I’ve also been receiving a lot of protein-related emails/questions from curious followers who are new to the vegan lifestyle, so I want to address the protein situation. The reason I don’t post more frequently about nutrition is simply that I’m not a nutritionist. While I’ve spent a lot of time reading books/articles/blogs about vegan nutrition, it’s not what I’m most passionate about, so it’s not what I’m most knowledgable about. I have, however, picked up some useful information over the years which I’ll be happy to share with you.
First, calm down. Have you ever heard of someone sick from protein deficiency? Aside from people dying of starvation (who are probably suffering from every deficiency), I can’t think of a single instance of it in a developed country. While protein is very important (not only for building muscles, but also for healing the body, producing blood cells, building enzymes, etc etc), it’s not the be all end all. Because of the emphasis on protein in our culture, most omnivores are actually consuming far too much. Too much protein can lead to just as many (if not more) issues than lack of protein. My point being- if you keep protein in mind but don’t obsess over it, you’ll probably end up with close to the right amount.
For those of you still concerned, understandably so, here are some protein-packed foods that you should stock up on:
- Nuts (raw! almonds and cashews are especially great)
- Beans (a big pot of chili is always a good idea)
- Seeds (especially sunflower)
- Soy products (obviously don’t rely only on these, but in moderation soy can be a beautiful thing) such as tofu, tempeh, most faux meats. Soybeans have TWICE the protein content as red meat and cheese.
- Seitan (wheat based protein, consistency of poultry)- you can buy it in health stores or Whole, Foods but if you’re brave try to make it at home!
- Spirulina (if you want to be fancy- this is a high-protein algae that also contains B12, a very important vitamin)
- These grains: amarnath, oats, teff, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, sorghum, barley
- Almond butter (or peanut butter, if you must)
As long as you mix some of these foods into your daily diet, you should be fine. Most of my meals involve at least one thing on this list- but not because I’m trying, rather because these are things I like to eat! I highly recommend keeping a bag of raw cashews or almonds around for a quick snack.
Still worried? Here are some well known vegans/vegetarians who are definitely not suffering from a protein deficiency: John Salley (four time NBA champion), Brendon Brazier (Ironman triathlete), Forest Whitaker, Paavo Nurmi (nine time Olympic gold medalist), Joaquin Phoenix, Mike Tyson, Carl Lewis (Olympic track star), Robert Cheeke (international body builder), Shaun Monson (super fit director of “Earthlings”), Russell Simmons, Art Still (Hall of Fame NFL player), Prince Fielder (MLB player), and Dave Scott (Ironman winner).
Hope that helps some of you out! Next time someone asks where YOU get your protein, first answer the question, then ask what they’re doing to prevent obesity, heart disease, alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, and the numerous cancers all associated with a meat and cheese filled diet.
Edit: I just received an email from a concerned reader who thought I was perhaps underemphasizing the importance of protein by saying you rarely hear of a protein deficiency. What I meant to say with that is that protein deficiencies are hard to come by because protein is so abundant in every food group. Protein is definitely something to keep in mind, I am just of the opinion that it doesn’t have to be everyone’s primary nutrition concern with veganism.
This is truly, truly exciting. Perfected Foods, a company co-owned by my friend Dustin Coury, just launched an amazing program called TOGETHER WE FEED. For only $2.50, you can provide FIVE full vegan meals to the hungry/homeless/needy. You even get to pick which city your donation goes to. I personally picked Denver, CO- my hometown. This is the perfect way to help humans AND animals with a very manageable contribution.
As you can tell, I’m thrilled about this idea. Perfected Foods has already been extremely innovate in their mission to provide vegan meals for prison inmates. Please share this information with anyone who might be interested.
Which city will you be donating to?