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Vegetarian Dreams | Protein Myths + Facts

When one thinks of protein - meats, dairy, humongous jars of powder with an oiled-up sexy body builder flexing on the label ... may come to mind. Okay, maybe just me on the last one, lol. Either way, it could pose as a daunting observation (or misunderstanding) to one who has vegetarian or vegan lifestyle aspirations.

We're taught the resounding lesson that adequate PROTEIN consumption is essential to well, life and is exceedingly stressed to those of us with active to very active lives for muscle and blood sugar health. Yet, despite being a mass meat-eating/producing/loving society ... I say fear not! Protein is one of the most misrepresented nutrients in our diet and has far more faces than just living creatures. I was delighted to find out the following ... 
Protein Fact #1: Protein coming from meat, fish or eggs is by no means superior to protein from plant sources. They are the same. In fact protein from plants could be considered healthier since plants contain no fats or toxic residues. Ensuring a diverse diet of non-meat proteins assists in creating enough amino acids needed to create new proteins within the body.

Protein Fact #2: A vegetarian diet with balanced portions of proteins, minerals, fats and carbohydrates will protect you and provide enough protein for your body to work effectively.

Protein Fact #3: You need to have a balanced diet. Too much protein is as bad as too little protein. Too much protein increases the risk for serious health conditions like heart disease, diabetes or stomach problems. On the other hand, a complete vegetarian and vegan diet are proved to be remarkably successful in the treatment of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and more.

Protein Content of Selected Vegan Food

Tempeh 1 cup 41g 
Seitan 3 ounces 31g
Soybeans 1 cup 29g
Lentils 1cp 18g
Black beans 1 cup 15g
Kidney beans 1 cup 13g
Veggie burger 1 patty 13g
Chickpeas 1 cup 12g
Veggie baked beans 1 cup 12g
Pinto beans 1 cup 12g
Black-eyed peas 1 cup 11g
Tofu, firm 4 ounces 11g
Lima beans 1 cup 10g
Quinoa 1 cup 9g
Tofu, regular 4 ounces 9g
Bagel 1 med. (3 oz) 9g
Peas 1 cup 9g
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), cooked 1/2 cup 8g
Peanut butter 2 Tbsp 8g
Veggie dog 1 link 8g
Spaghetti 1 cup 8g
Almonds 1/4 cup 8g
Soy milk, commercial, plain 1 cup 7g
Soy yogurt, plain 6 ounces 6g
Bulgur 1 cup 6g
Sunflower seeds 1/4 cup 6g
Whole wheat bread 2 slices 5g
Cashews 1/4 cup 5g
Almond butter 2 Tbsp 5g
Brown rice 1 cup 5g
Spinach 1 cup 5g
Broccoli 1 cup 4g
Potato 1 med.(6 oz) 4g

The Vegetarian Resource Group for more figures, references and sample meals!
GoVeg.com for your own Vegetarian Starter Kit, courtesy of PETA!