Importance of Protein
Why does society make us believe that we need to eat meat regularly and/or supplement with protein shakes to be healthy? This is especially the case with athletes. There are tons of protein supplements on the market today, promising to build lean muscle and improve athletic performance. Is it all a hoax? According to the National Institutes of Health, about 50 grams of protein for the average person will suffice. Can you get that much protein from a vegan diet? Can athletes perform well without supplements or meat?
Vegan Protein: Where to Find it
There are lots of vegan protein sources: beans, legumes, leafy vegetables, seeds, quinoa, nuts, chickpeas, sprouted grain bread (Ezekiel is excellent) and much more. F or example, one cup of soybeans (aka: edamame) has over 20 grams of quality protein (complete protein). Although I try not to eat a lot of processed food, tempeh and tofu are other protein options too. A balanced vegan diet will easily provide the recommended daily allowance.
This Vegan Athlete Will Knock Your Socks Off
Meet Fiona Oakes. She’s a vegan in her 40’s, she’s won 7 marathons throughout the world between 2007-2013 and she doesn’t eat any meat. Fiona runs 80+ miles a week, while still making time to care for the 300+animals on her farm, 7 days a week. She rescues abused and neglected animals and has dedicated her life to caring for them. That’s why she runs these marathons and ultra marathons, to increase awareness of her farm sanctuary and prove that animal-derived protein isn’t necessary for the body to function optimally. Of course, her lifestyle doesn’t work for everyone and we all have different needs but her story is just amazing and an inspiration. What does she eat? A balanced combo of healthy fats, carbs and vegan protein. On a side note, many vegans supplement B12 since this vitamin tends to have higher concentrations in animal-derived foods. It’s always important to seek advice from your doctor and/or certified nutritionist when considering a major diet change. Although I’m not vegan, I don’t eat much animal protein and stick to a pretty clean, veggie-based diet. Maybe someday I will transition to 100% vegan; it’s been quite a journey for me. I’ve spent countless hours researching this topic and it helps to educate yourself on proper nutrition so you can make healthy choices and feel great!