Worried About My Vegan Protein?



(photo: drinking my carbs)

Since becoming vegan I’ve continued to be invited to various dinners out and had company to my place. It happens. People take a big breath and ask you for dinner. I usually take a big breath back and quickly say “I’m vegan by the way so why don’t I bring a main dish?” I say this quickly so they don’t feel put upon that I am expecting them to make me something unpalatable like a cold brick of tofu on some raw carrot sticks.

In one instance my hostess, as she prepared dinner and I ate a goodly amount of hummus (made with chickpeas and tahini, both wonderful sources of plant based protein) that I had made, expressed concern that I wasn’t going to get enough protein with the tempeh (fermented soy/ high protein) that I had brought to accompany the vegetables she had made. I didn’t know what to say. It was my first encounter with someone (other than my mother) expressing such a thought. What I should have said was:”Oh really? Do you know what I ate earlier in the day? Have you been keeping tabs on my macros throughout the day and throughout the past twenty four hours? Do you think that even though I am a certified nutritionist that I have no idea what my body needs? Do you know how much protein per pound of body weight a person needs? Do you know the questions surrounding body building and protein requirements that continue to be discussed and put to the test? Do you know I am a nutritionist? How can you see my beautiful form in this tight fitting t-shirt and not notice my fabulous musculature?”

Anyway I didn’t say that, but I do have to say that you likely get enough protein if you eat a well balanced diet throughout the day. You don’t need to combine rice with beans at a meal, you can combine certain food that are incomplete proteins over a twenty four hour period. your body breaks these proteins down into their component amino acids and then reassembles it all for your body to use.

Which reminds me that a well meaning hostess had foisted her hummus on me letting me know it was vegan, then described the contents, which contained yogurt !? I’ve never actually heard of a hummus recipe, vegan or not, with yogurt in it. With the thought of my coming to dinner she seemed to forget how to make a vinaigrette for a salad or cook some vegetables in olive oil, she failed to realize she was already quite planted based (except for the osso bucco she was going to serve).

Anyway you might very well starve to death before you suffer a lack of protein, if you are eating a well rounded diet, since there is protein in so much of the food, including broccoli, that we eat. So the next time someone expresses concern over the amount of protein you’re getting, you can tell them you’ve already met your requirement for the day.



Published by: Andrew Binks

I am a writer living in rural Ontario, 2 hours east of Toronto. I was born and raised in Ottawa but spent the last 15 years in BC. Glad to be back. My first novel, The Summer Between, was published in 2009 by Nightwood Editions. My website is www.andrewbinks.ca My fiction and non-fiction have been published in Joyland, Galleon, Fugue, Prism International, Harrington Gay Men's Literary Quarterly (U.S.), Bent-magazine, The Globe and Mail, and Xtra, among others. I am a past honorable mention of the Writer's Union of Canada's short prose contest, Glimmertrain’s Family Matters contest, finalist in the Queen's University Alumni Review poetry contest, and This Magazine’s “Great Canadian Literary Hunt.” My poetry has also appeared in Quill's “Lust” issue and Velvet Avalanche Anthology. Harvard Square Editions will be publishing a chapter from one of my novels in their upcoming anthology "A Voice from the Planet," this fall. My satirical play, Reconciliation, about Native land claims, Japanese internment, and political corruption, was read this spring in Toronto as part of the Foundry play-reading series. My play Pink Blood received a public reading, from Screaming Weenie Productions in Vancouver this June. I spoke at the AWP conference in New York City in 2008 on the merits and challenges of multi-genre writing programs.

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