Protein can be a great concern when considering a vegan diet. Where do you get it? How much is enough?With the help of Dr. Michael Greger, we’ll address this most common nutritional concern for a vegan diet.
If you’re a vegan, they you most certainly know why I chose to phrase the title of this video post as I did. It’s the timeless question we vegans so often get: “So…where do you get your protein?” Rather than a witty retort dripping with sarcasm, as you may normally expect from me, I’m excited to bring to you the first video of a new series covering all the major nutrients of concern on a vegan diet, with the incredible Dr. Michael Greger of NutritionFacts.org. It’s time to bring in some series science, ya’ll.
If you’re not familiar with Dr. Greger, he’s a medical doctor, an author, and an internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. He’s a licensed general practitioner specializing in clinical nutrition. He provides the invaluable public service of NutritionFact.org, a totally free website and repository of videos and articles on the most current issues in the field of nutrition. And, since he provides these free updates as his site says, “via bite-sized videos.” I’m obviously a fan!
So, I wanted to be able to provide new vegans, the vegan-curious, and even established vegans with a series of videos addressing the most common nutritional worries surrounding a vegan diet. And we’re starting with the one every vegan hears more than we can count: protein.
To hear Dr. Greger’s answers in full, be sure to check out the video above, but here are some select (nutritionally-sound) nuggets:
“[It’s] surprising there’s so much fuss [about protein]…the average requirement is about 42 grams and meat eaters get about 75 grams, and so do vegans, and so do vegetarians. everybody gets about 70% more protein than they need. They only need about…0.8 grams per kilogram [of] healthy body weight. … [A]bout 3 percent of people in the nation, in a study of about 13,000 people … are not getting enough protein, but that’s just because they’re typically not eating a lot. If you don’t eat enough food, you don’t eat enough protein. [tweet this]
“The ironic thing is there actually is a nutrient for which 97 percent aren’t sufficient–but actually deficient–and that’s fiber. The question isn’t, ‘Where do you get your protein?’, the question should be, ‘Where do you get your fiber?’, because fiber is the one that 97 percent don’t even reach the recommended daily minimum. And that’s the one that actually has consequences. … [Getting enough fiber is] tied to … lower rates of cancer and heart disease, and diabetes, and obesity, and hypertension. And so, I mean, these are the nutrients we have to think about getting enough of, living basically anywhere in the industrialized world. [tweet this]
“So, where do you get protein from? The protein super-stars of the plant kingdom are the legumes. … Beans, peas, you know, chickpeas, split peas, lentils. … [You also] get proteins from whole grains and nuts, and seeds.”
I hope you enjoyed hearing from Dr. Greger on the issue of protein in a vegan diet. Be sure to watch the video for all his nutritional wisdom. If you want to see my personal protein numbers after a day of consuming serious plant matter, check out my word on protein video post and my what I eat in a day video: I even show you the breakdown of my nutritional intake.
Now I’ve had more inquiries than I can count about what software I used in those videos to track my nutrients, and it’s a fantastic free service called Cronometer. If you want to go vegan and have sound nutrition, Cronometer is a great way to stay on track.
And remember, a vegan diet can be as varied as you want and can come in countless forms. So if the way I eat or any other individual vegan eats, doesn’t work for you, don’t swear off being vegan. You can eat any type of cuisine under the sun in a vegan version. Even monolithic masterpieces like this.
I’d love to hear from you on this: Where do you get your protein? (Seriously. Where do you?)
If you’re vegan, how do you answer this question? If you’re not vegan but thinking of making your way there, is protein a concern for you? Let me know in the comments!
— Emily Moran Barwick