Alright; today I’m here to talk to you as a sort of public service announcement.  I thought of this topic because the family that I’m staying with right now knows that I am eating vegan, and is constantly hassling me about my protein intake, as well as my other nutritional needs.  They are big on medical issues, and are constantly telling me how I need to take vitamin supplements to make sure I’m getting the nutrition I need every day.  And it is really starting to bug me; so I started thinking, are there other people like them out there?  People that think that vegans need to work hard to get the protein and other vitamins and nutrients they need in a day in order to survive?  Because that just isn’t true, and I’m here to prove it to you.

The fact of the matter is, most Americans and people all over the world for that matter eat too much protein in a day.  Between cheeseburgers, fast food, and what we eat every day, people consume way more than the amount they really need, which is around 1/3 of your body weight in grams per day.  I weigh 180lbs, so that means that I need about 60g of protein every day.  And I really don’t have to try hard to get myself there; in fact, I don’t even really think about it or monitor it at all – I did when I first became a vegan because I was nervous that I was going to make myself sick, but after going on two years of eating this way, I think I have a pretty good routine going on.

Let me tell you what I’m eating today, and we’ll see how many vitamins, nutrients, calories, and protein I am getting.

best-smoothie-recipesWe’ll start with breakfast, which for me just about every day is a smoothie.  And, in this smoothie goes all sorts of delicious things (though because of the contrasting colors, it usually ends up looking like mud …)  I always start with kale and/or spinach, depending on what I have, and mixed frozen vegetables.  I’m partial to frozen bananas and peaches, which is what I had today, but if I don’t have those I also make ice cubes using soy or almond milk for the cold part of the smoothie.  I also use a cup of nondairy yogurt, and as you may have guessed from my earlier post about So Delicious Greek yogurt, which you can see here, that is what I use, which has live cultures in it for probiotics.  Then goes the fruit juice, which is a combination of acai juice and peach mango silk juice at the moment, along with some coconut oil.

Let’s look at this objectively now, and consider the numbers.  Half a cup of kale is about a gram of protein, 103% of my daily vitamin A, 70% of my daily vitamin C, 5% of my calcium, and 3% iron.  In ONE ingredient.  Frozen fruits, assuming bananas and peaches, though I believe there is something else in the mix I get, have 1g protein, 3% vitamin A, 15% of my vitamin C, and 1% iron.  In the So Delicious Greek yogurt, (and I’m using the almond milk variety) there is another 7g of protein, as well as 35% of my daily vitamin B12, 35% of my daily Calcium, 30% of my daily vitamin D, and 30% of my daily Magnesium intake.  The coconut oil is sort of like fish oil, since it is good for my hair and nails, and that’s why I add it, so there really isn’t much actual nutritional value in it … After that, as for the juices, we’ll start with the mango peach juice.  That has 5g of protein, 100% of my daily vitamin C intake, 20% of my daily calcium intake, and 4% of my daily iron intake.  And finally, the acai juice has 1g of protein, 81% of my daily vitamin C, 8% of my daily calcium, and 7% of my daily iron, as well as being loaded with antioxidants.

That was a wall of text, I know, but let me show you what those numbers mean.  For breakfast alone, I am consuming:

Nutrient Amount
Protein  15g
Calcium  88%
Vitamin A  106%
Vitamin B12  35%
Vitamin C  266%
Vitamin D  30%
Iron  15%
Magnesium  30%

This is all just the first thing I eat in the morning, and I already have most of the vitamins and nutrients I need for the whole fricking day.  I’ve had a quarter of my protein, all the Vitamin A and C I could ever need, and I’m well on my way to having all of my calcium.  Next, let’s talk about my snacks during the day.  I’ve discovered that the Duane Reade I work above sells Karma Wellness Water in the cooler, so I’ve been getting that for lunch every day.  But, since it is supposed to be like a vitamin supplement, I’m not going to count it – I love the stuff, don’t get me wrong, but if we are only talking about the food I consume in a day, then I will simply have to dedicate a separate post to Karma Wellness Water all by itself.

The first thing I had to eat today when I got hungry at about 10am was a serving of dried dates, which was about a cup of them or so.  A cup of dates has 4g of protein, 1% of my Vitamin C, 6% of my calcium, and 8% of my iron.  About an hour or two later, I had basically ants on a log, except instead of peanut butter I had Sunbutter on the celery, which is basically peanut butter with sunflower kernels instead of the peanuts.  A great alternative for people who have allergies to nuts/tree nuts, btw, and it’s gluten free.  I had 3 large stalks of celery, which means about 2g of protein, 15% Vitamin A, 9% Vitamin C, 6% Calcium, and 2% Iron with about 2-3Tbsp of almond butter.  which is about 9g protein, 8% Calcium, 8% iron, 25% Vitamin E, and 20% Magnesium.  I had about a half cup of seedless raisins, which were about 3g of protein, 6% Vitamin C, 8% Calcium, and 17% Iron.  Next, about a cup of seedless red grapes, which is 1g protein, 2% Vitamin A, 27% Vitamin C, 2% Calcium, and 3% Iron.

Let’s add those numbers to the tally and see where I’m at now.

Nutrient Amount
Protein 34g
Calcium 110%
Vitamin A 121%
Vitamin B12 35%
Vitamin C 309%
Vitamin D 30%
Vitamin E 25%
Iron 53%
Magnesium 50%

It just keeps looking better and better, doesn’t it?  And we haven’t even hit lunch yet.  Lunch consists of about a half cup of hummus, (today I have the Tuscan Garden version, yum!) which is 8g of protein, 2% Calcium, 2% Vitamin A, and 4% Iron.  I’m going to eat that with a bag full of baby bell peppers in varying colors, which means 1g of protein, 1% Calcium, 11% Vitamin A, 200% Vitamin C, and 3% Iron.  After that, for afternoon snacks I have a package of Annie’s Grapes Galore bunny fruit snacks, which has pretty much nothing but 100% Vitamin C, but I love them so whatever xD  I also have a DeLish black bean and corn salsa for this afternoon as well, which I ate half of yesterday.  That has 10g protein, 4% Calcium, 80% Vitamin A, 40% Vitamin C, and 15% Iron.  And finally, I have a bag of sunflower kernels, which I just wrote a blog post about actually, if you want to take a look at it here.  There are 9g of protein in those, and 4% calcium.

If we add all of my lunch and afternoon numbers to the table, now we get this:

Nutrient Amount
Protein 62g
Calcium 121%
Vitamin A 214%
Vitamin B12 35%
Vitamin C 646%
Vitamin D 30%
Vitamin E 25%
Iron 75%
Magnesium 50%

Now, as you can see, I easily hit my protein mark, and I haven’t even added dinner in yet.  Since I’m writing this during the day, I haven’t figured out what I’m having for dinner, but it will probably be something like a seitan cutlet or a veggie burger, some wilted spinach, and some fruit, which will increase my Iron to 100%, as well as increase my vitamins A and C most likely.  Depending on the cutlet or burger could also increase my protein, magnesium and vitamin E and D as well.

But, my point is, people are always getting angry and me and telling me that I’m not going to be healthy because I don’t eat meat and I don’t drink milk, so I must have low protein and calcium.  You can see here quite clearly that I easily hit my protein needs of 60g as well as my calcium needs at more than 100%, and this isn’t even all the food I will be eating today.

Just because I eat different foods doesn’t mean I’m not healthy; in fact, I am probably much more healthy than a lot of people in the world.  If I ate a bowl of cereal and milk, do you think I’d hit the numbers I did today?  Even if I had bacon, eggs, and toast, I still wouldn’t be as well off.  All protein doesn’t come from animals, and all calcium doesn’t come from milk.  All vitamins don’t come from pills.  Just because I don’t to take a supplement every day doesn’t mean that I’m not perfectly healthy.  Yes, my B12 is low, so is my Magnesium and my Vitamin D.  But you know, what?  I go outside a lot, which increases my Vitamin D because your epidermis produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.  Magnesium and B12 are not required to be healthy, they are basically an added bonus and can make some medical conditions easier.  Medical conditions that I do not have.

So, before people start telling me that I’m unhealthy because I don’t eat meat or dairy, I want them to do the same thing I’ve done here – map out exactly what you eat for the majority of the day.  Then, compare your numbers to mine, and tell me which ones look like they are more healthy.

Until next time, this is RaeynnBeau, signing out.