As a recently transitioned vegan, the number one question I received was, “Where are you going to get your protein from?” I think I was asked this question at least 3 times a day the first week after deciding to become a vegan. Ironically, everyone I spoke with had different advice as to how I should incorporate protein into my diet now. I get it, I really do. I might have had the same thoughts at some point in my jounrney. With so many diets fads making their way into mainstream America, sometimes they can overpower logic and facts. After hours and hours of research online and in the kitchen into what would work best for me, I’ve decided to address the issue of protein. This blog post will mainly deal with scientific facts. From that information, you can draw your own conclusions as to what is the best approach for you.
The human body is remarkable! There are many chemical processes taking place 24 hours a day. Starting with basic knowledge, it should be remembered that three of the most important elements necessary for life are Oxygen (O), Hydrogen (H), and Carbon (C). This is an easy realization when considering that we breathe air, Hydrogen is obviously in water (H2O), and the body is composed of carbon. When these 3 elements come together they produce a Carbohydrate. So it is ironic when people go on a low carbohydrate diet and have no knowledge as to why they are doing this because they are limiting life supporting elements. Researching further, things become even more interesting. I discovered that all we have to do is add Nitrogen (ions) to the equation and a protein is produced. So if a healthy body is receiving “good” carbohydrates, you can convert them into proteins just by eating plant based foods high in Nitrogen. Too much nitrogen in the diet will cause the production of Ammonia, so balance is always necessary. In America we are known as a carbohydrate consuming society. Unfortunately, many of us consume more “bad” carbohydrates, which usually come with a host of other problems to harm our health.
I am going to limit this section to what western philosophy considers the two main types of carbohydrates, “whole” carbs and “refined”. (I’ll do another blog post on this but for now consider “whole” or unprocessed carbs foods like veggies and legumes and “refined” or processed carbs foods like white bread, pasta, and pastries.) Whole carbs are what the body needs to operate at optimal performance. Plant based foods are designed to be used by your body more efficiently than meat allows. Your body is electric. Everything you do is powered by electrical signals running throughout the body. You must power it with electric food in order to get a better flow of electrons (hence the term electricity). Since I don’t eat meat, I think it’s safe to assume that I get an abundance of whole carbohydrates. Between the foods I choose to eat which are high in nitrogen (i.e. spinach, broccoli, cauliflower…etc) and the carbs that I regularly intake, I know that I will have more than enough protein. Protein is not as difficult as people make it. The key is to eat what’s right, and you won’t have any issues.
So remember no matter which way you decide to eat, protein intake is nothing but a chemical equation. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, or an everyday meat lover, there is more than one source of protein available to you. I won’t waste your time showing you pictures of all the “buff” natural body builders that are vegan. You can Google that when you are bored. I do find it wise to know all of your options and consider them from every angle, before you commit to a decision. Eventually you will settle into what’s comfortable for you. Train hard, eat well, and be safe.