You know it's coming.
You're at the company barbeque, and the guy who works four cubicles down makes his way over to you with his plate of dripping hamburger.
"Don't you miss this?" he asks, as your nose registers the scent of ground pig lips. You step away tentatively. You shake your head and mumble something about how you have to go. But before you make your escape, he manages to force out between a mouthful of flesh, "How do you get your protein, anyway?"
Tired of meat-eaters harassing you about how much protein you get? We are too.
The real deal: Meat-eaters are obsessed with protein, and it's just not an issue. "How do you get your protein?" seems to be their favorite question to ask. It doesn't matter how you answer them - be prepared for skeptical looks and even more questions.
Gym rats will tell you that you need one gram of protein per pound of lean body weight. Like most diet myths, that's not actually true. Consuming that much protein is useless at best, and harmful at worst. In fact, medical research shows that getting more than 30 percent of your calories from protein can actually harm you and put major stress on your kidneys, the organs that rid your bod of toxins.
It has been proven over and over that humans don't actually need that much protein to maintain a healthy weight - the actual amount is about .36 grams per pound of body weight.
Don't let the math intimidate you. To put it in perspective, a 140-pound woman would need about 50 grams of protein per day, which is pretty easy to get, even as a vegan. To find out how much protein you actually need, just multiply your body weight by .36.
But, Me Want Muscles
If you want to add more muscle, you can increase your intake to .5 times your body weight, and it'll be more than enough. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors went for long stretches without meat, getting their protein from the plant world. They did fine. Want the proof? Humans are still alive today.
Packing in Your Protein
Did you know spinach has protein? Well, it does - a cup of cooked spinach has 13 grams. If you're a 140-pound woman trying to get to 50 grams of protein a day, you're already a quarter of the way there.
And there's more than spinach - the vegan world is aplenty with protein, contrary to popular belief. A cup of soy milk has seven grams of protein, two tablespoons of peanut butter have eight grams and a cup of oatmeal has six grams. But don't stop there - a cup of lentils has 18 grams and a cup of black beans has 16 grams!
Shake it a Baby
If you're an avid exerciser and want more protein in your diet, try some organic hemp protein, which can be mixed with a banana, one cup of spinach, a teaspoon of cacao powder, a handful of blueberries, some ice cubes and splash of soy milk for a sweet treat that packs a major protein punch. Also feel free to try out pea or soy proteins, which have been around for lactose-intolerant folks forever.
Veggie burgers? Thirteen grams per patty. A cup of tempeh has 41 grams. If you want more, check out this list from The Vegetarian Resource Group.
The bottom line? Don't let meat-eaters bully you. It's not that tough to get your protein, sweetie.
Have an opinion about protein? Leave us a comment!
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