We’ve talked before about some of the myths that surround the vegan diet. One of the biggest ones is that vegans don’t get enough protein and calcium in their diet, but the truth is that protein and calcium can be found in hundreds of plant based sources. How do you separate fact from fiction? Read on.
One of the most common questions I hear is “Where do you get your protein?” Protein occurs naturally in hundreds of different types of plants. Beans, nuts, and grains are some of the most common examples. Did you know that two tablespoons of peanut butter contains approximately eight grams of protein? In a similar fashion, a single cup of cooked lentil beans is going to offer an astonishing eighteen grams of protein. According to the guidelines handed down by the United States Department of Agriculture, the recommended daily allowance of protein for the average American man and woman is 56 grams and 46 grams respectively.
On average, Americans who do not follow the vegan diet normally eat twice the amount of protein that they need in a single day. In the vegan diet, protein needs can be easily met. The trick is to consume calories from a number of different foods. Think about how large elephants and hippos are. They are both herbivores, and yet, they are still able to obtain the amount of protein their bodies need from a plant based diet.
“Where do you get your calcium?” easily has to be the second most asked question about the vegan diet. Many people mistakenly think that drinking cow’s milk is the only way your body is going to get the calcium it needs. I’m here to tell you that this assumption is just flat our wrong.
Examples of vegan diet foods that contain an abundance of calcium include nuts, seeds, tofu, beans, leafy green vegetables, and dried fruit. In some ways, they are even better for than the calcium derived from cow’s milk, because plant based sources of calcium are much easier for your body to absorb. Furthermore, you can easily find many vegan friendly items, like cereals, juices, or soy milk, that have been fortified with calcium.
Did you know that it has been estimated that as much as 2/3 rds of the world’s population has difficulty digesting cow’s milk? Think about the original purpose of cow’s milk. It is designed to help baby calves rapidly gain weight during the first few weeks of their lives. Now think about the growth hormones, antibiotics, saturated fat, and cholesterol that can be found in cow’s milk. Why would you want to put this in your body? If you need to add more calcium to your diet, forgo the cow’s milk and start piling your plate with vegan diet options.