“Where do you get your protein?”
As any vegetarian/vegan/raw foodie will attest, this is the number one question people ask about the various types of plant-based diets. I get the protein question on a weekly basis, and each time I patiently and politely explain that veg diets can and do provide all the protein any person could ever need, an that it’s a myth that plant foods somehow don’t contain enough protein. In her book Becoming Vegan, dietician Brenda Davis (a vegan herself) says, “For vegans on predominantly whole foods diets, a figure of 0.9 g protein per kg body weight is suggested.” To put this another way, people should get around 10% of their calories from protein.
It’s unspeakably easy to consume this amount of protein on a daily basis, and virtually all of us do. Nearly all plant foods contain this much protein, so as long as you get enough calories, and not eating total crap, you’re safe. For anyone curious about the protein content of some common foods, check out this table by the Vegetarian Resource Group.
Most of the time, I don’t give a second thought to how much protein I consume and where it’s coming from. But during periods where I’m working out hard at the gym adding extra protein to my diet helps me put on muscle mass. Before becoming mostly raw, I used to eat soy foods and cooked legumes for extra protein. I mostly avoid these now, so I rely on other raw sources. Here are a few of my favourites:
- Greens. Kale is my first choice, with 6.6 g protein per 100 calories. Spinach and romaine lettuce are also packed with protein.
- Sprouts. I usually eat sprouted lentils, with 7 g protein/82 calories per cup. Sprouting is easy as pie, and saves me lots of money!
- Hemp seed. I add it to smoothies and salads, and I always make hemp milk as opposed to nut milk — it’s tastier. 5 g protein/82 calories per tablespoon.
- Sun Warrior Protein Powder. This raw vegan protein powder is made from brown rice, and has 16 g protein/70 calories per serving.
- Ruth’s Hemp Protein Power. Another protein powder that’s great in smoothies. 15 g protein/120 calories
- Raw Organic Food Bar. These are fabulous when I’m on the go, and have 10 g protein/200 calorie bar. I swear they’re just like eating a candy bar.
- Vega Vibrancy Bar. I could never stomach the other variety of Vega bars, but these new Vibrancy Bars are delish, and packed with sprouts and other healthy ingredients. Especially the Green Synergy one, with an extra boost of green goodness! Contains 9 g protein/200 calorie bar.
Today, I had my butt kicked by Jillian Michaels, via her Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism DVD. This is the first time I’ve tried a workout DVD, because I usually need to be at the gym before I can motivate myself. But it really was like having a trainer in my living room! After, I whipped out my Sun Warrior Protein Powder and made an amazing recovery smoothie. Here’s the recipe.
Tropical Power Smoothie
1 cup chopped pineapple
2 kiwis, flesh scooped from skin
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ice cubes
1 scoop Vanilla Sun Warrior Protein Powder
Toss all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
Some other raw bloggers have touched on this topic too, recently — check out this Pure2Raw post (from today, coincidentally!), Kristen’s post on raw vegan protein grenades, and a Choosing Raw post on vegan protein powders.