The question I get asked most often about a primarily plant-based diet is: “Where do you get your protein?” I hope that you find the answer interesting and that it sets your mind at ease that no matter what diet you choose you’ll be able to attain your best health…
Which has more protein- 100 calories of spinach or 100 calories of beef? One hundred calories of sirloin steak contains 9g of protein… that’s a fair amount for a 100 calorie serving considering that most women would be healthy consuming about 50g of protein (plus or minus) each day. Average sized men could shoot for about 65g per day. Well, guess how much protein the spinach has? A whopping 12 grams! And one hundred calories of broccoli has 7.5 grams. Sprouted grain bread has 5g of protein per hundred calories. Almonds have 4 grams, black beans have 6 grams and edamame have 9 grams per 100 calories. So, you see that lots of different foods contain plenty of protein. So, if you are eating a variety of healthy foods, you will easily get plenty of protein without needing to consume any animal products.
Protein deficiency is not a big medical problem in our country. In fact, as a Dietitian I have analyzed diets for many people and I have never come across anyone who is eating enough calories who was deficient in their average daily protein intake! And, I work at a hospital and I don’t see healthy people who eat enough food admitted for dietary protein deficiency… apparently this isn’t as significant a problem as most people seem to think it is. Studies also show that vegetarian and vegan diets are likely to decrease your risk of some of our country’s top killers: Heart Disease, Diabetes and Cancer. I’m not saying that you have to become vegan, but if you are leaning towards a more plant-based diet you probably don’t have to be too concerned about whether or not you are getting enough protein.
If you are actually considering becoming vegan or vegetarian permanently, I would recommend that you meet with a Registered Dietitian to help you learn to balance your protein sources in a healthy way. A good RD can ensure that you are getting optimal nutrition to maximize your health and vitality and that is always a good thing,