Where Do You Get Your Protein?

I’m reading the book “Whole” by T. Colin Campbell. It is the follow up to his largely successful scientific book, the China Study in which he details his research in the link between animal product consumption and every disease known to affluent nations. I began reading this book because I felt like my vegan factoids were not as fresh in my mind as they had been.

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This is not surprising because I haven’t really read all that much to brush up on my information. Sure, I follow tons of resources on Twitter and do read many of the articles, but I take a general overview of the information rather than facts. However, facts are really effective in conveying the message in a short conversation. It’s a lot easier to tell someone that a cup of beans has 19 grams of protein among other vitamins and minerals necessary for health and longevity, rather than explaining my vegan story in a long way. People have short attention spans, I get it.

My coworkers have once again begun asking me questions (one of them is on the 31 day vegan challenge, inspired by ME!). The first one she asked was “what do you eat? I’m going to get tired of salad.” which then I asked “Have you ever seen me eat a salad?” and she said “no…well if it’s a bean and rice salad…hahaha” I dodged a bullet there because when I tell people to eat bread, sandwiches and wraps, they don’t know what to put in them. Most of the things I use as my “filler” they think as a “spread”. So when they make the sandwich, it looks a lot smaller than the ones I make. It’s an attitude shift to make a sandwich with a half a cup of hummus or avocado rather than a spread. It is different to put 4T of peanut butter on a sandwich than a spread. It’s better!

The second question she asked was “where do you get your protein?” which I responded not as coherently, but I made the attempt. Protein has been drilled into our minds as this be all, end all thing. I get it, protein is the building block of muscle etc etc etc. However, this myth is largely overstated. People really only need 0.8 grams per KILOGRAM of body weight. So if you weigh 100lbs, that’s about 50kilograms and so you need about 32 grams of protein. If you are eating enough calories, you will not have a protein deficiency because most things have protein.

I asked her this “How many people do you know are admitted to the hospital for protein deficiency? [silence] Ok, now how many people are admitted for heart disease and cancer? [silence] I don’t think you need to worry about protein.”

End of discussion.

People really need to reframe how they think about protein and focus on the whole meal. By incorporating variety into your diet, you will end up will all the nutrients and amino acids you need. Eating too much protein is silly because the human body can only use so much at a time so the rest goes either to waste or can harm the body causing kidney failure and other problems. This is useful information, but her question was “where do you get your protein?” so, I’ll tell you:

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1.) Beans, specifically in the form of hummus. I eat hummus at least once a day, most times twice. When I say I eat hummus, I really EAT it. I make sure there is at least a half cup on my bread or wrap. Add some veggies and BBQ sauce and Mmmm! Lunch/dinner is served!

Lentils: 18gprotein per cup

Black beans: 16g per cup

Peas: 16g per cup

Chickpeas: 14g per cup

2.) Peanut butter: 8g per 2 T (so 16g for my sandwich)

3.) Tofu:10g per cup

4.) Grans (quinoa, amaranth, oatmeal): 7g per cup

5.) Vegetables

Spinach: 5g per cup

Artichokes: 4g per 1/2 cup

Broccoli, asparagus, green beans: 4g per cup

6.) Seeds:

Hemp: 13 per 3T

Pumpkin: 8g per 1/4 cup

Chia: 5g per 2T

7.) Tempeh: 12g per cup

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I could go on, but I think she’ll get the idea.

Where do you get your [plant-based] protein?

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14 comments

  1. Someone just asked me today where I get my protein. I told him about nuts/seeds/tofu, but also mentioned that quinoa is a complete protein. That’s one I like to keep in the holster 😉
    And like you said, protein is not the issue if you’re eating the right stuff.

  2. My main sources are beans, peas, nuts and seeds, and certain vegetables!! Nearly everything HAS protein, some just have more than others. I’ve been averaging 70g a day the last couple weeks (doctors orders) just fine without animal products.

  3. Like Brittany said, nearly everything has protein, so I really don’t worry about it much. Sometimes I’ll throw a little hemp in my morning smoothie, but it’s definitely not something I overthink, even while I’m running 70, 80 or 90 miles per week!

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