I bet i know what all you vegan and vegetarians are thinking: Finally! A protein article from this guy!
With a stable healthy diet, protein may be one of the most essential nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy. But as vegetarians and vegans now walk among you, people often question their lifestyle. I, being a vegan myself, often hear the questioning of “Where do you get your protein?” or “How do you get enough protein?”. Well my friends, protein is not the worst part of veganism. Getting enough iron and magnesium is the biggest danger. Too much protein in your diet can actually cause a few horrible side effects as well.
Now what is this protein we hear about so much? Protein is a cell made up of a long chain of what we like to call “amino acids”. These acids process through your body to keep your muscles and organs at full strength (like your brain). Most amino acids are naturally formed in our body through. Most plants can biosynthesize (or automatically produce) 20 different amino acids. Our bodies can easily do the same, but we also need the extra eight that make up protein known as “essential amino acids”. These can only be received through our diet.
Now, animal meat and bi-products are not the only things you can get protein from. Many people know about nuts and beans, but there are few other foods that have them as well. My personal favorites are avocado, peanut butter, and quinoa, but the list is endless! And they hold up a lot better. Animals are unstable and break down rather quickly in the digestive system. This can cause blocks and swelling in our arteries and in our intestines. I am not saying that animal protein is bad. I am just saying, that too much of any good thing is.
Now onto the debate of “vegans don’t get enough protein”. I could argue about this all day long, but lets keep it short. The average American eats more protein in a day than he needs in half a week. Moderation is one of the keys to any good diet. Too much protein can cause diabetes or kidney failure. To know how much is enough, measure it by how much you weigh. The recommended amount is about seven grams per twenty pounds of body weight you have. I do NOT like counting these things like “calories” or measuring what I need by body weight. If you do, great. If not, just be conscious of what you are eating and you will be fine.
So just because you have a simple life style change does not mean that your whole protein count is flipped upside down. Get the right amount of protein in a balanced diet can keep your muscles strong and you healthy.
-Andrew “VegMuffinMan” Morrison-