“How do you get your protein?” As a vegetarian, it’s a question we hear all the time. I had a friend ask me this recently. From that experience, I realized that it’s an honest question coming from people who are curious about how others live their lives.
Sometimes people assume vegetarians eat nothing but kale and quinoa for every meal. Or maybe they think we eat nothing but pasta and breads all day (some do) but most, educated, vegetarians do not. In my experience of meeting other vegetarians, they have become so after careful introspection of their personal beliefs and information about food.
To give you a bit of background, there are varying degrees of vegetarianism. Sometimes people consider pescitarians as vegetarians because they only eat fish. I consider this at the lighter end of meat eaters. The first group is lacto-ovo vegetarians (If I had to identify with a group this would be it) they eat plant based food but will also eat food that is derived from animals such as milk, cheese, honey, and eggs. I consider this group as simply, vegetarians. There are varying degrees of this group including people who will not consume dairy but will use honey, etc. It’s a matter of personal preference. Finally there are vegans, they will not eat products derived from animals, only plant foods. Belonging to this group can take work because there are a lot of hidden animal products in food. It is by no means impossible, just takes a good bit of research and dedication. Even something as simple as white sugar is not considered vegan because companies processes involve bone char (read more about it here). If you are interested, I think a good place to start with veganism is Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Life and book The Kind Diet. I’m not going to tell you that one group is better than the other or that you should join one group or any group. I like to keep this site open to people of all food beliefs and tastes. I tend to post veggie recipes because it’s what I like. I hope this gives you a basic knowledge of where vegetarians are coming from.
Now, on to protein. Food contains the following macro-nutrients: Protein, Fat, Carbohydrates, and Fiber. Source. Sometimes you’ll hear someone say “I’m not eating carbs”. Which is virtually impossible, so many foods have all of these in varying degrees. They will end up eating carbs in one way or another, there are carbs in broccoli. What these dieters avoid are mostly breads, pasta, etc… As a side note, whole wheat bread contains protein.
Protein is used for rebuilding cells in the body. The protein you eat is broken down and the amino acids from the foods are the building blocks used to help restore your cells. Source. Protein is important to your daily diet but so is eating, fiber, carbohydrates, and (YES!) fats. I’ll stop being sciency and move on to the daily values.
From the CDC: “In general, it’s recommended that 10–35% of your daily calories come from protein.” They suggest that Women ages 19 – 70+ should consume 46 grams of protein. Source. Take a look at the protein values of these foods: