“Where do you get your protein?” And Other Silly Questions Vegans Get

Whether you’re new to a plant-based diet or have been eating that way for years, you’re bound to hear the question “Where do you get your protein?” with some frequency.

Or, people will be amazed that you could possibly still be living on a vegan or vegetarian diet, and say something like, “wow, I could never do that, I need too much protein” as if there protein needs were substantially different than yours.

There is a lot of misconceptions and confusion when it comes to a plant-based diet, even amongst vegans and vegetarians themselves. You will likely also meet people who were vegan or vegetarian for a period of time and then went back to a more omnivorous diet because they felt weak or lacked energy after a while. Remember, even Oreos are vegan, but that doesn’t make them healthy.

On a plant based diet, there are a number of nutrients you need to ensure you’re eating to maintain your energy, keep your weight down, and all around, stay healthy. Protein being one of the most important. When you don’t get enough of the right types of protein in your diet, your body will literally start breaking down it’s own muscle in order to get what it needs. Signs of protein deficiency include:

  • You’re tired when you shouldn’t be.
  • You’re weak when you lift weights, run, do yoga, or any other strenuous activity.
  • You’re flabby where you used to be muscular.
  • You’re getting injured and not recovering quickly.
  • Your hair is falling out and nails are brittle. 

But, you can easily avoid them by ensuring you are getting not only enough protein, but the right types of it.

While all animal protein is complete protein (meaning they contain all 9 of the essential amino acids) only some plant-based proteins are. Most of what you think of as plant-based proteins, like beans or nuts, are typically incomplete proteins. They don’t contain all of the essential amino acids. That means you need to get them from another source. Luckily, Mother Nature has provided us with some easy ways to ensure you get your complete protein. It’s not hard, you just need to know what to eat!

Join me Saturday at 4:45 pm at The New York Vegetarian Food Festival to learn everything you need to know about eating a vegan or vegetarian diet healthfully. You’ll learn exactly what and how to eat to easily get complete protein and other necessary nutrients that vegans and vegetarians are often deficient in.

No matter what your reason for going vegan or vegetarian, it will ultimately affect your health, so, it’s imperative you understand the basics of nutrition and how to give your body everything it needs. Hope to meet you there!

Maria Marlowe, CHC
Integrative Nutrition
Health & Weight Loss Coach
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