Dispelling the Myth. Vegetarians do get enough protein.

Via Heather Lounsbury
on Jul 26, 2010
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“I must eat Steak.” “Sushi may have mercury, but I gotta have it.” Vegan, Vegetarian sources of Protein.

Are you thinking of giving up meat? Maybe you just want to cut back? Is it for environmental, health, or ethical reasons? Worried about protein? Or for those of you are already a vegetarian, are you sick of the question, “How do you get enough protein?”

There is a myth in most Westernized countries, that you need to eat animal products regularly to get enough protein. You’ll see from the list below, that this is not the case. Cases of protein deficiencies almost exclusively exist in cases of overall malnourishment. What I see more of in my clinic is an iron deficiency, but that occurs just as often in meat eaters as vegetarians and vegans. (More on that in a future blog.)

Practically all vegetarian foods contain some protein, but soybeans are definitely one of the best sources. Soybeans contain all the essential amino acids and surpass all other plant foods in the amount of protein that they can deliver to humans. It is important to stay away from genetically modified soy products. The product must be labeled organic and/or non-GMO to make sure.

All of you reading this should know, that I’m always encourage my patients to healthy, organic, locally grown foods. Becoming a vegetarian is a very personal decision. But if you want to give it a try and have adequate nutritional support, I’m here for you.

Some of the great vegetarian sources of protein

PROTEIN IN GRAINS: Barley, Brown rice, Buckwheat, Millet, Oatmeal, Quinoa, Rye, Wheat germ, Wheat, hard red, Wild rice

VEGETABLE PROTEIN: Artichokes, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Green peas, Green pepper, Kale, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Mustard green, Onions, Potatoes, Spinach, Tomatoes, Turnip greens, Watercress, Yams, Zucchini

PROTEIN IN FRUITS: Apple, Banana, Cantaloupe, Grape, Grapefruit, Honeydew melon, Orange, Papaya, Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Strawberry, Tangerine, Watermelon

If you want to be absolutely certain that you are getting enough protein, you should eat food combinations which form a complete protein, such as:

* Legumes + seeds
* Legumes + nuts
* Legumes + grains

Chances are you already eat complete proteins without even trying. See how easy it is? Here are some tasty and healthy complete protein combinations:

* Beans on whole grain toast
* Corn and beans
* Hummus and whole wheat pita bread
* Nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, hemp, etc..)on whole grain bread
* Brown rice pasta with beans
* Rice and beans, peas, or lentils
* Split pea soup with whole grain or seeded crackers or bread
* Tortillas with refried beans
* Veggie burgers on whole grain bread

Live natural. Live Well.



About Heather Lounsbury

Heather Lounsbury, L.Ac. is an acupuncturist, nutritionist, environmental activist and radio host. One of her goals is to put fast food and greenwashers out of business. She's available for phone consultations. Find her at livenaturallivewell.com.


9 Responses to “Dispelling the Myth. Vegetarians do get enough protein.”

  1. Claudia L says:

    Such a lovely article to share with my friends and family! Thank you for debunking the myth and clearing things up.

  2. whollyafool says:

    thanks! i hear this all the time when people find out i'm a vegetarian.

  3. […] The Great Complete Protein Myth has been recanted over and over and over again, but people insist on continuing to believe it. Not only that, they propagate it further by repeating it without checking their sources. Look, I’m not here to tell you never to eat meat or dairy — that’s your business, and if it works for you (and you’re sourcing it in as ethical a way as possible), great. But please don’t eat animal products because you think you need to, because that’s false and often harmful; and please don’t tell vegans they’re going to be protein deficient or need to take special care to combine their proteins because that’s false and really annoying; and let’s please have some humility about our nutritional expertise and open our minds to the possibility that we’ve been fed (no pun intended) some inaccurate information. […]

  4. Pearls and Poets says:

    Love this! I recently read a book called "Skinny Bitch" that talks about eating well and challenging readers to try vegetarianism and gives lots of info on how to get all that protein. I was surprised to learn just how many foods have a substantial amount of protein in them!

  5. […] for athletes and body builders? Are they really the preferred protein source of the human body? Are they better than animal based protein or are they just consumed for environmental […]

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  7. bexvankoot says:

    You realize that the proteins in grains and legumes are not even remotely digestible unless they have been soaked/sprouted/nixtamalized, right?

  8. AppyDancer says:

    I have heard that soy contains a proteinase inhibitor which prevents the protein from being available to us. It may be why we should sprout or ferment soy products.

  9. David Good says:

    There is a growing trend of yogis switching back to meat. I have seen the transformation in their practice too.
    Just saying.