I love to cook, I love to eat, I love all things purple and I just happen to be vegan!
"Where do you get your protein from?" Every vegan alive has had this question asked at least 10 times. I personally can't count the number of times I have had it asked from not only non-vegans but vegans too. Many parents, peers, teachers, and coworkers will insist that without meat, vegans are certainly protein deficient. We have been programmed to think that getting enough protein is absolutely essential to living a healthy life when in fact it is not. If you like to do the research on the great protein debate a really good book to start with is Proteinaholic by Garth Davis, M.D.
In the book Proteinaholic Davis says he was shocked to find out during his research that none of the "Protein Gospels" you may have heard were even a little bit true. He goes on to list:
● Protein is not the key to weight loss—in fact, animal protein is one of the biggest factors behind the obesity epidemic, and, in virtually every study, animal protein is correlated with weight gain.
● Animal protein is not one of the healthiest foods around—rather, it is strongly associated with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and cancer, the primary killers of our time.
● Plant-based protein not only exists—it’s much better for you than animal protein and all plants contain more than enough to support every one of your health needs.
● A lower-protein (and low-fat) diet is the most effective way to lose weight, improve your health, and prevent future disease.
● Carbs, far from being the enemy, are (in their natural state) the source of human health, vitality, and vigor.
*list taken fro the book Proteinaholic
So you want to know how I and others on a plant based diet get their protein? Here is a list of 10 of foods that are commonly eaten by those on a plant based diet that contain protein.
10 Common Ways That Vegans Consume Protein
As you can see from the list above, it’s quite easy for a vegan to consume the proper amount of daily protein. Let’s say for breakfast you have a cup of oatmeal and a guava, for lunch you have a veggie burger with soymilk, for a snack, you have some peanuts, and for dinner, you have lentil salad with spinach, half a cup of cooked tofu, and kidney beans. That’s 82 grams of protein! Plant proteins are different from meat proteins, vegans should aim to consume 0.41 grams of protein per pound each day. This amounts to almost 10% of daily calorie intake. Therefore, an average 180-pound male vegan should consume 74 grams of protein each day. So as you can see it is possible to get plenty of protein on a plant based diet. When was the last tie you heard of anyone being dying fro being protein deficient? I'll wait......
Are you considering a plant-based milk alternative? If so, you probably understand the dangers of dairy. Once upon a time (in the unfortunately not too distant past) you were told to get several servings of dairy each day. At least a couple of generations were raised on the "milk is good" nutrition attitude that has caused a lot of health problems for so many people.
We now know that dairy products like milk don't necessarily lead to improved bone health. That was one of the big selling points of milk. A Swedish study showed that when women drink more than 3 glasses of milk a day, they increased their rate of dying over 20 years by 100%. Multiple studies have shown an increased risk of contracting type I diabetes, several cancers, high cholesterol, acne and pro-inflammatory conditions on a diet which includes dairy milk.
Which Plant-Based Milk Alternative Should I Use?
If you're reading this short article, you are looking for answers. You understand that dairy milk can be replaced by milks made from a plant base. The problem is, you see these types of products everywhere. So, should you try soy milk or almond milk? What is the difference? Are there any other plant-based alternatives? Let's take a look. (The following numbers are averages, and depend on the brand and flavor you purchase.)
Soy milk – This plant-based milk alternative delivers about 110 cal per serving, against just 4 or 5 g of fat. You receive 8 g of protein, 30% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin D, and 45% RDA of calcium. Additional benefits include magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin B 12.
Almond milk – You can count on just 30 to 35 cal and 2.5 g of fat per serving. You also receive 45% of your calcium RDA, and 25% of your vitamin D RDA. Extras include magnesium and vitamin E.
Rice milk – Expect about 120 cal, 2.5 g of fat, 1 g of sugar and 30% of your calcium RDA per serving. You also receive 25% of your vitamin D RDA, as well as phosphorus and vitamins A and B 12.
Coconut milk – You get 10% of your calcium RDA and 30% of your daily vitamin D allowance. You receive zero protein, 7 g of sugar, healthy fatty acids, vitamins B12 and A, and magnesium as well.
Cashew, hemp and kefir milks are also available, but the 4 milks just covered are the most popular.
My personal favorite is unsweetened almond milk. I don't use plant- based milk often but when it comes to an occasional bowl of cereal, oatmeal or making mashed potatoes unsweetened almond milk for me delivers the mildest flavor and the best consistency.
Remember, most plant-based milk alternatives have less protein than dairy milk. The exception is soy milk. Coconut milk delivers more saturated fat than whole dairy milk, but research has shown that particular type of fat is healthy. Also, look for versions with added protein, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and other wonderfully healthy nutrients. With more than 50 new milk substitute products, you have a lot of choices. Just make sure to read the nutrition label on any type of milk product you buy, and try to steer clear of whole dairy milk whenever possible.
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