Human beings are a funny species. We see someone scarfing down a greasy burger, and we don't feel the need to ask them where they're getting they're fiber, vitamins or minerals. In fact, we don't really care what people are eating until...they say they're vegan.
And if you happen to be vegan you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.
For most of my life, I was a pretty unhealthy vegetarian. I ate, predominantly, processed rubbish. I wasn't putting anything of any significant nutritional value in my mouth, but, by and large (because vegetarianism is not quite seen as the 'hippy' fad it once was), nobody said a word about my dietary choices - I was certainly never advised to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, or whole grains, which are the things I needed to be eating more of.
When I turned vegan (cut out all animal-derived foods; milk, eggs, etc.), however, every single person I knew suddenly became an 'expert' in nutrition and, oddly, they had a rush of concern for my well being.
Apparently, I could not possibly be getting enough protein if I was eating no animal foodstuffs.
Well, there are two truths to address. The first is that the amount of protein we actually need is very much debatable. Opinions vary, but the for the sake of argument, we'll go with the American Dietetic Association's recommendation of a daily intake of around 0.8 grams of protein per 1kg (2.2 pounds) of body weight. So, someone who weighs 130 pounds would need 47 grams of protein per day.
How would a vegan ingest that kind of figure with only plants?!
- 1 avocado = 10 grams
- 1 cup of oatmeal = 6 grams
- Non dairy milk = 7-9 grams
- 2 slices of bread = 8 grams
- 2 tablespoons of peanut butter = 8 grams
- 1 cup of pinto, kidney or black beans = 14 grams
And that's just breakfast, lunch and one ingredient for dinner. Many plants are full of protein and it's no struggle at all for vegans to get their daily quota. And, as you can see in the picture above, vegan Derek Trezise is in rather fine fettle on his exclusively plant diet.