Thoughts on Plant-Based Protein

According to experiments in my laboratory kitchen, the absolute tastiest breakfast possible is completed by cooking Applegate Organic Sunday Bacon in a frying pan, adding Kerrygold Butter to the bacon grease, and cooking 6 scrambled eggs in the combination.  It’s absolutely delicious, which is why I enjoy it, but I also enjoy that it’s loaded with protein, there are no carbs to be found, and since most people are scared of fat, they’re not going to steal my eats.  Smart, right?

As much as I’d enjoy the whole world enjoying bacon and eggs, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea.  Maybe you’re not ready to eat that much when you eat your first meal, maybe you’re not keen on limiting carbs in the morning, and maybe you’ve yet to realize that bacon makes everything better.

Fortunately, this isn’t a pro-bacon post as much as it’s a pro-protein post.  That sounds redundant; 2(pro)+tein works better for the PEMDAS people!  I digress:

When it comes to protein consumption, most people aren’t consuming as much as they should be, but are considered with the supplement stereotype of 4 scoops of protein a day to make up for the diet of Funyuns and Four-Loko.  What is wrong with kids today?  I am a fan of strategic supplementation, but it’s important to remember that natural, whole foods should take up the vast majority of your diet.

Modern responsible omnivores seem to be defined by the Paleo Diet, and while I’m not going to stamp a Paleo label on my forehead, I do think you should be eating as many vegetables, fruits, and organic/natural/pastured animal products as you can.  When it comes to consuming or avoiding meat, attitudes like this really rub me the wrong:

This cartoon supports the stereotype that a vegetarian/vegan diet is healthier than one that includes meat, which is, to be frank, total bullshit.  That being said, if your diet consists of loads of franks, chicken nuggets, and pizza, well, a vegetarian/vegan diet is likely going to be much healthier for you.  The biggest health impact is usually from eating the wrong things, not from eating the right things.

The usual response from the anti-meat consortium is that there are loads of plant-based sources of protein, and the best part is that they are right.  Here’s an example:

When you compare the % points of the plant based protein and the meat based protein, there is a massive difference in percentage by volume.  There’s also a massive difference in bio-availability, or how much of that protein your body actually uses:

Womp-womp.  As much ‘protein’ is packed into your spinach and kale, I’m not sure you’ll be comfortable eating enough that much to meet the protein requirements that you set for yourself.  If I may compare this to creatine consumption, many who are supplement-phobic will casually say, “Well if it occurs naturally in red meat and fish, why do you need to take it as a supplement?”

“Maybe because eating 5 lbs of raw steak doesn’t exactly sound like fun to me.”  It might have something to do with that.

Eating plants is awesome for you, and all of us need to do it more often.  More leafy greens, more colorful variations, more seasonal and local food; eat ya damn veggies!  When it comes to protein though, the more accurate question should be, “How much of the protein that you consume does your body actually use?”

Everybody should eat more veggies, almost across the board.  Most people need to eat more protein, and clean up the quality of their protein sources.  I’m not exactly sure purposefully avoiding meat is the best idea, but seeking the highest quality you can get your hands on is recommended.

If you’re not going to be topping your spinach with a steak anytime soon, and think you’re struggling with achieving the protein intake that your body calls for, there are supplemental options that are still vegan, but you still have the bio-availability issue.  One of the trainers that I talk with regularly  loves the Sun Warrior Vegan Blend, and it routinely gets the best reviews of supplemental forms.

With that, I’m off to pick up some more whey.  I hope everyone has a happy and healthy Columbus Day weekend!

5 Replies to “Thoughts on Plant-Based Protein”

  1. bacon and eggs and kerrygold butta…yum yum.
    I used to use the sun warrior protein… until I bought defense nutrition’s delicious whey . I went to use up my sun warrior and it made me gag….ha.

  2. the strongest man on earth today is a vegan. Patrick B…. carried over 1200lbs more than 10 metres. Bill Pearl, worlds top bodybuilder had all this figured out back in the 60s. He won every major bodybuilding event back them before Arnold and never ate meat! . the fastest runner, best tennis player, MMA guys vegans. eating met is not necessary and 100% cruel.

    1. Many of those highly successful athletes succeed inspite of what they do, not because of it. It’s hard to make a good case for veganism as a general health practice, especially in athletic performance, when we have so much evidence of malnutrition in popularized renditions of the vegan diet.

      That being said, it would behoove many of those who follow the Standard American Diet (SAD) to focus on a plethora of fruits and vegetables. However, high-quality animal products can provide better nutrition than even the most well-designed and planned vegan diet.

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