But Where Do You Get Your Protein?
That title may sound familiar, if not I think you might be one of the lucky ones that hasn't ever been asked by somebody if going vegan will cause you to be protein deficient. It's not their fault in any way shape of form, in fact is just the misinformation spread out over the years that and integrated into society that leads to lack of education surrounding the make up of plant foods.
When we mention protein, people assume that protein is only there to help create, repair and help sustain muscle. While this is the case, this is NOT the only function protein helps with. In fact it helps to create acid balance in the blood, the creation of hormones such as melatonin, the regulation of the heart rate and much much more.
Protein is made up from 20 amino acids (the bodies building blocks) 11 of these aminos can be created via the body without any help from diet, where as the other 9 are diet based. What do I mean by diet based? Well what is says on the tin, we need to consume these aminos through the help of what we consume.
This is the same concept for animals, such as cows, chickens, pigs etc: each one of these animals needs to get the protein source that is needed for their bodies to develop also through diet. Most live stock are fed soy bean which hold all 9 amino acids as a completed source.
Im sure many of us will have heard that plants are not complete protein sources unlike meat. While yes, this is true (excluding the soybean) we need to realise that the protein consumed by livestock is only available to omnivores due to the consumption of plants via the animals.
For me its a no brainer, instead of taking the protein in the form a recycled, reused produce I would rather get it straight from the source.
All plants whether they be legumes, vegetables, seeds or nuts, will have varying amounts of protein, whether they be in smaller in some aminos or larger. Each one has been developed by nature to hold the nutrients that is needed. Some may be lower in some protein levels but higher in minerals such as calcium, this is why it is important to get a varied amount of plants on any diet due to the vitamin and mineral benefits.
I HATE the word "complete protein" as over the years it has managed to create a sense of uncertainty to whether you can thrive on a plant-based diet. in fact the abundance of different foods we consume can soon make up all the protein we need.
Lets say a vegetable for instance has all 9 amino acids, 8 of them were 100% and one of them was only 20% this would count as an incomplete protein. If I was to mix that food with another plant based food that was 80% in the one animo that was lacking in the first food and 0% for the rest of the amino levels then I would have created a full and complete protein due to nourishing my body with a mixture of foods instead of just one.
Surely it cant be that easy? It really is, in fact due to the rise in the documentary game changers on Netflix, I think it is safe to say that the perception that you cannot be strong following a completely vegan diet has been diminished with an array of world class athletes coming forward and showing how a plant-based lifestyle has helped them succeed with performance.
Heres a little list of athletes to look into just incase you still don't believe me, some from the documentary and some that have emerged in recent years.
Nimai Delgado - Vegan Bodybuilder
James Newbury - 4 x Australias Fittest Man
Kendrick Farris - American Olympic Weightlifter
Jansen Andre - Plant Powered Iron Man
Scott Jurek - Vegan Ultrarunner
Nienke Van Overveld - Fittest Woman In The Netherland
Nick Squires - Vegan Powerlifter
This is only a few out of thousands of professional plant-based athletes, but when you look into them you can really see that the narrative that has been portrayed throughout the years is complete fallacy.
If you would like to see more about protein or how to get the right intake for your bodily needs, then please do not hesitate to check out the yumfu instagram page @yumfu.life, I aspire to give everyone the best and honest information to be readily available for anyone that is already leading a vegan lifestyle or looking to transition.