The question vegans are commonly asked is, “Where do you get your protein from?” Since protein has become such an obsession in today’s world, it is of great concern among most people.
How could it not be when clever marketing campaigns have been implemented by the meat, dairy, and egg industries to convince the public that protein is vital to your “health”.
On the contrary, the body’s primary need is for calories, not protein.
Protein is essentially found in almost every food making it easy to acquire more than enough protein throughout the day. It is not necessary to focus on your protein intake but more so on your caloric intake. Calories are what fuels the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other vital organs while protein is primarily needed for building tissue.
Looking at it from a metaphoric point of view, calories are to your body what gasoline is to your car, and vice versa; protein is to your body what an engine is to your car.
When you drive at high speeds, do you need more engines? No. You need more gas (fuel) to go further, not more engines.
The only way you could possibly become protein deficient is to either starve or eat foods that contain zero protein. If you eat enough food to maintain your normal body weight with the consumption of various whole foods, a protein deficiency is impossible. True protein deficiency is rare, even in Third World countries.
Fueling your body with sufficient wholesome, raw, living, plant-based foods will provide your body with the necessary fuel it requires in order to thrive and reach optimal health.
10 essential raw vegan foods to easily supply your body with healthy, plant based protein are…
- HEMP SEEDS – These seeds pack a powerful nutritional punch. Not only are they rich in healthy fats including omega-3 and omega-6 fats but they also contain a whopping 11 grams of plant protein in only 2-3 tablespoons of hemp. Hemp seeds are highly nutritious and can easily be consumed in smoothies, made into dressings or sprinkled over salads.
- GOJI BERRIES – This is one superfood that packs a super-duper powerful punch right alongside hemp seeds. Goji berries are one of the most incredible sources for antioxidants and come jam packed with an array of health benefits. Only two tablespoons with give you a good 4 grams of plant protein. Goji berries can be added to desserts, used to sprinkle over salads, or smoothies. These berries are delicious and best of all, amazing for your health.
- CHIA SEEDS – These tiny black seeds are an excellent source for protein and a potent powerful superfood high in antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats. Two tablespoons of Chia seeds provide the body with 4 grams of plant protein. Chia seeds can be added to smoothies, puddings, or soaked in juice to name a few.
- FLAX SEEDS – Not only are these seeds abundantly high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, they are also a good source for protein. Two tablespoons of Flax seeds will supply the body with 4 grams of protein. Flax seeds can be added to smoothies or salad dressings.
- PUMPKIN SEEDS – These seeds are an excellent source for protein which provide the body with amazing health benefits. Only two tablespoons of pumpkin seeds supplies the body with a solid 5 grams of protein. These seeds are good eaten alone in their raw state (unprocessed), in smoothies, or in salads.
- NUTS – There are number of nuts that have the ability to provide the body with high, natural plant-protein and abundant health benefits. Some of which are raw almonds (1oz = 6gms), pistachios (1oz = 6gms), cashews (1oz = 5gms of protein), walnuts (1oz = 4.3gms) and brazil nuts (1oz = 4.1gms). Although nuts are an excellent source for protein and healthy fats, they are still high in fat and should be kept at a minimum. It’s easy to get carried away eating nuts; especially more than just 1oz.
- FRUIT – Although fruits are not a high source of plant protein, they still provide the body with sufficient amount of protein when consumed throughout the day in substantial amount. For example, eating 5-6 bananas (whole or in smoothies) will provide you with 5-6 grams of protein; add 2 cups of whole raw (pitted) cherries and you get an additional 3.2 grams. This is an addition to all the other foods consumed. Avocado is another fruit source providing 4 grams of protein per one whole avocado.
- At the end of the day, the consumption of protein is generally greater than the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein of about 50 grams. This includes a large safety margin. The true need for protein, as found by scientists, is actually closer to 25 grams.
- LEAFY GREENS – On the other hand, leafy greens supply the body with a higher amount of protein than fruits. Not only does consuming leafy greens provides the body with essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals among other key health benefits, they serve as an excellent source for plant protein. Eating 10oz of spinach will provide you with 6 grams of protein, 1 cup of Brussel sprouts will yield 4 grams, and just 1 cup of chopped broccoli offers 3 grams.
- SPIRULINA – This potent source of sea algae comes loaded with phytonutrients, B vitamins (specifically B12), essential amino acids and is amazingly rich in plant protein providing the body with abundant health benefits. Just 1 teaspoon of Spirulina supplies the body with 3 grams of protein. Spirulina is best consumed by adding it to green smoothies, soups, or dressings. It can also be added to juices.
- CHLORELLA – Alongside Spirulina, the sea algae of Chlorella is just as powerful. Chlorella is nutrient rich with amazing health benefits tied to it. Not only does this potent sea algae provide complete nourishment for the body, it is also an excellent source for protein. Consuming 1 teaspoon will provide the body with 2 grams of protein. Chlorella can be added to smoothies, soups, dressings or juices.
OTHER VEGAN PROTEIN SOURCES
- Sprouted mung beans, chick peas (garbanzo beans)
- Sprouted lentils
- Sprouted quinoa
- Mushrooms (crimini, shiitaki, portobello)
SUPPLEMENTAL PROTEIN POWDERS
As you transition into a raw vegan diet and you start adjusting to plant-protein foods, you might still be concerned with not getting a sufficient amount of protein. Resorting to using protein powder supplements will help ease your mind and help you adjust to new healthy eating habits. You can also keep protein powder on hand for when you are pressed for time and on the run right after a workout.
The Garden of Life Raw Protein and Sunwarrior Protein powders are both excellent protein supplements to keep on hand and use as needed. Both are organic, raw and use all natural, wholesome ingredients.
Stay tuned for next week’s article on Dubunking the Protein Myth.
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