How To Get Enough Protein As A Vegan? :
It’s been a while since anyone asked me how to get enough protein as a vegan. But on our recent family trip, my kids’ cousins have asked them, or just bluntly asserted, “You don’t get enough protein.”
Where are they getting this idea?? In the classroom? From cartoons? From other kids? Given the amount of credible (and readily available!) information on the protein adequacy in a vegan diet, I’m surprised that anyone still buys into the old meat-industry lie.
In just a couple of the many informative videos, I found three points that should satisfy anyone confused about the matter.
- First, plants-based foods are loaded with protein — enough so that most vegans get more than enough to meet their needs!
In the video Do Vegetarians Get Enough Protein?, Dr. Greger reviews a study which found that the diets of more than 20 thousand vegetarians and 5 thousand vegans contained, on average, 70 percent more protein than their daily requirements!
- Second, the standard American diet (SAD) contains too much protein!
Dr. Greger presents the case for this claim in The Great Protein Fiasco.
Even when vegetarians and vegans go overboard on plant-based protein, they’re not risking the problems associated doing so on meat, eggs or dairy:
These problems, he says, may include:
“…disorders of bone and calcium balance, disorders of kidney function, increased cancer risk, disorders of the liver, and worsening of coronary artery disease.”
In Animal Protein Compared to Cigarette Smoking, Dr. Greger delves even more deeply into these dangers. One very long-term study presented particularly alarming statistics:
“Six thousand men and women over age 50 from across the U.S. were followed for 18 years, and those under age 65 with high protein intakes had a 75% increase in overall mortality, and a fourfold increase in the risk of dying from cancer.”
For the study’s plant-based participants, however, the news was far more encouraging:
“… these associations were either abolished or attenuated if the proteins were plant-derived.”
Think about it: eating too much high-protein meat, eggs or dairy is as deadly as smoking cigarettes! But plant proteins reduce the risk of dying for all causes — and of dying from cancer even more!
Why isn’t anyone passing this information along to our kids?
- Third, eating too much animal protein and not enough plants can lead to fiber deficiency.
Have you ever known anyone hospitalized for a protein deficiency? Some doctors I’ve read say they’ve never diagnosed one in their entire careers.
If you’re eating enough food, in other words, you’re eating enough protein (Only 3 percent of Americans aren’t.)
Fiber, however, comes only from plant-based foods — and 97 percent of Americans don’t get enough of it! Many of them do end up hospitalized, as Dr. Greger points out in Do Vegetarians Get Enough Protein:
“‘This deficit is stunning in that dietary fiber has been [protectively] associated… with the risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease…, obesity, and various cancers as well as… high cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood [sugars].’”
Maybe instead of vegans always being the ones answering the protein question, we should be asking the meat-eaters, “Where do you get your fiber?”
Because so few people in this country seems eager to teach our kids the truth about protein, maybe it’s time for me to write a children’s book.
As the first to enjoy my creation, my nieces and nephews will witness its parade of elephants, giraffes and gorillas. Hopefully, they’ll get the message that all the Earth’s biggest, strongest land animals manage to build and maintain their incredible muscles by eating plants.
And so do my vegan kids!