Most of you know by now that I am “pro-eating” grass fed meat as sources of protein, but this is only because meat sources not only contain the highest sources of protein, they are very calorie efficient and play an excellent roll in blood sugar management. But that doesn’t mean I am against Veganism. I’m not. In fact, I think we all should know that the past belief that a vegan could not obtain enough protein from non meat sources has been debunked.
Scientists used to think that vegans would develop protein deficiency if they didn’t get the eight or nine essential amino acids in proper amounts and proportions at every meal. (Note that Veganism means NO meat or meat product sources, and is different than Vegetarianism.) But it is now known that our incredibly wise body will store amino acids as they come down the pike and assemble its needed proteins as the essential amino acids become available from the diet.
Protein is a main structural component of all tissues in the body, including muscle, bone and skin. Protein is known as the “building blocks” of cells. Without sufficient protein, the body cannot repair worn or damaged tissue, can not build or maintain muscle mass, and has a difficult time regulating glucose, digestion, and cell to cell communication in your nervous system, endocrine system and immune system.
Proteins make up the communicators of the Neuro-Endo-Immune Super System: hormones, neurotransmitters and cytokines.
Proteins are synthesized in your body from food rich in amino acids. These include meats, fish, eggs, dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, and milk, as well as from plant protein sources such as seeds, nuts, and legumes (beans, peas and lentils), whole grains such as quinoa and other whole grains. Even fruits and vegetables provide some source of protein. So as long as a Vegan eats a varied diet that includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds throughout the day, she should have the appropriate and essential amino acids that the body needs as a whole to manufacture all of the necessary proteins for all of the body systems.
Be aware that if you are a vegan, choices can become limited if you are trying to avoid grains, (or have any gluten sensitivity or allergy), avoiding non fermented soy, live in a “normal” American life, and are trying to vary your foods to assure no sensitivities develop. Stress with busy schedules and enjoyment of eating out in restaurants can add to challenges for Vegans as well.