Protein, one of the many debates vegans have to delegate, into a positive light, during conversations with non-vegans. My whole household turned vegan around 8 years ago while living in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. We were first raw vegans before turning vegan; I’m not sure of the math to calculate the total amount of years we dabbled in both the raw and cooked vegan lifestyle. Since this time, our health has only increased with vitality and multiple doctors have positively commented on how healthy are our blood results compared to the days before being vegan. With that being said, our family members still today ask us about the sources of protein and amounts we are digesting daily.
As an example, just the other day my brother-in-law telephoned and talked to Genki Husband with concerns of his new vegetarian girlfriends’ eating habits and possible protein deficiency. He himself forges on with a carnivore lifestyle (along with everyone else in my family), so he has concerns of his new girlfriend’s lack in protein consumption. Apparently she eats mainly just fruit and vegetables, banning soy, grains, beans, seeds, nuts and almost all dairy from her diet. He did not mention any associated protein deficiency symptoms nor associated medical issues to raise this red flag of concern. His main dilemma is she does not exercise nor does she eat much of anything, especially protein. If asked, I am sure he could not riddle off the exact amount of protein he digests daily but rather is concerned since she is a vegetarian. (He is a good guy but sadly, yes, there are people like this out there.) Her case sounds a bit more like she has an eating disorder than a protein deficiency problem, merely from hearing of her strict dietary restrictions.
So this telephone conversation brings forth the question, “What is a protein deficiency?” Do all vegan and vegetarians live with a deficiency? Is there any hope for all of us not eating animal protein? Take a deep-breath, in and out, in and out… Yes, you are going to live if you are eating a healthy, plant-based diet lifestyle. Eating animal flesh is only a small way to take in protein but there are tons of natural, plant-based foods that contain even more protein than say a steak. Healthy is the keyword. While mainly following a vegetable and fruit diet is completely healthy, it is important to keep in check the amounts of protein and other necessary nutrients for your body. This is the truth for every human in the world though, not just plant eaters. There is a reason why “Kwashiorkor” is not a commonly heard medical term (extreme malnutrition due to protein deficiency) in 1st world countries but nonetheless if you want to do some more research on protein in a plant-based diet here you go:
For a general idea of how much protein a person needs to live refer to this explanation by No Meat Athlete. While the general public needs only .36 grams per pound, this all depends on each persons personal exercise level and other level of activity per day. Aka, if you have an explosive workout at the gym then your body will require more protein intake compared to if sat in front of the computer screen the entire day. It all depends on the person so just looking at what is on a persons’ plate will not help one decide if he/she has a protein deficiency.
For days when Genki Husband and I workout exceptionally hard, we tend to lean towards taking in more protein powders. This happens more when running out under the summer sun instead of under the winter snow clouds. Again, one has to listen to his/her own body to collection information on how much protein works after each workout. Our main focus is to take protein powder in the form of a smoothie for mobility purposes. We have tried many different types of protein powders over the years and have settled for now on Raw Protein Powder as our favorite. There are other more expensive and inexpensive brands out there but this wins for flavor and the non-gritty texture.
Marley Coffee flavored protein powder is new in our stores, exclusive to Whole Foods Market. We bought this when it was introduced in the stores and a few weeks later we noticed it was no longer available. No idea if it is only available for a limited time or if its popularity was more than anticipated. Either way we are enjoying this new flavor for earlier morning workouts. It was actually in the warmer months that we purchased this and having been testing it since. This gives you a bit of a boost to make it through until dinner time with energy after a hard morning workout. Since it does give you energy, I am not sure I would suggest this for evening workouts. Note on the taste: It is not a strong coffee flavor but rather a slight one with a bit of a chocolate undertone. It is one of our favorites now.
This is another energy protein flavor called Yerbe Mate. If you have never heard of this, it is a type of natural alternative to coffee. A lot of people drink yerba mate when trying to detox from coffee (why a person would want to do that I can’t fathom) and/or for a bit more energy during busy times. It does not give a person a ‘buzz’ such as energy drinks but just a little bit more without that jolt that some complain of during the evening hours. We have had this at night and it did not keep us awake. Note on the flavor: This is similar to a chocolate/vanilla mixture. It smells similar to a strong vanilla protein powder, in a good way.
Raw Protein: Chocolate Cacao is one of our first flavors to test out, well, after vanilla which I don’t have a photo of at this moment. I have to admit, this was purchased with the idea of making protein-packed chocolate pancakes and muffins. It does not have as strong of a chocolate flavor as I expected but with an added bit of vegan approved dark chocolate cocoa powder it works wonderful in baked goods. We have also used this in chocolate banana ice cream too and it was chocolatey and filled with protein. Note on Flavor: This has only a mild chocolate flavor, nothing overpowering but will do great in smoothies and also baked goodies.