Personally I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been asked this question, which is impressive considering I’ve not been vegan for that long and I also avoid human interaction like the plague. Despite the vegan/plant-based diet becoming more and more mainstream and almost all restaurants and shops catering for us – I still find that so many people just do not get it. For example, they won’t make the connection that as a vegan I can’t eat butter or yoghurt. Or they seem to forget that pulses and grains exist.
When I’m faced with this question I always find myself a little stumped as I eat so many different things and never feel restricted or like I’m missing out. I also don’t really want to waste my time listing off the thousands of things I can eat when it’s far easier to list the things I can’t eat – anything that comes from an animal. Although, I do admit that milk powder can be sneaky. (Why is it in crisps? Why does milk even exist in powder form?)
Here are some plant-based vs. meat protein fun stats and facts:
- 100 calories of steak is 5.4g protein, 100 calories of brocolli is 11.2g
- kale is 45% protein, chicken is 23% and eggs are 12%
- tuna has 29g per 100g of protein, pumpkin seeds have 30g
- spirulina has a massive 58g of protein per 100g
- on average – vegans consume 70% more protein than the daily recommendation
If you do for some strange reason find that you don’t like leafy greens, grains, tofu, seeds, nuts, tempeh etc. and you really aren’t getting enough protein in your diet; plant-based protein powders are widely available. Hemp, rice and soya are a few examples and they are almost always cheaper than whey protein. These can be added to smoothies, pancakes or mixed with water or a plant-based milk and enjoyed as a protein shake.
Back to business – I’m also sometimes questioned on how I can go to the gym on a vegan diet which is understandable as obviously I am so weak and frail and surely I’d collapse if I even saw a treadmill. I started running as a meat eater, I continued running as a vegetarian and now I still run as a vegan and I feel exactly the same. I don’t need decaying remains of sweet little chirpy animals inside my body to give me the energy to exercise.
Despite my tone thus far; I honestly have absolutely nothing against people who eat meat or dairy, 95% of the people I know and am surrounded by eat both and that is fine. I ate meat for years! However it is not fine when my diet is constantly questioned and to an extent, ridiculed. I have never once asked a meat eater where they get their protein from. Why? Because a) I’m not particularly interested and b) it’s none of my business.
I tend to keep my diet choices to myself when I meet new people as I’ve discovered that once they know it almost becomes my entire personality. I’ve also found that people are quick to make jokes surrounding my diet, offering me a bite of your burger isn’t going to make me laugh. Saying how much you love eating lamb whilst smirking at me also isn’t going to get much of a reaction. I don’t believe comments like these are intended to be malicious or insult me – they’re just boring and apparently come along as part of the ‘being a vegan’ package. Why can’t we all just eat what we want to eat and get along?!
This turned out to be more of a rant than I had planned, apologies.