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Plant-powered protein

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A popular question vegetarians and vegans are asked is, "How do you get enough protein?" The concerning look and sincere curiosity is enough to annoy any knowledgeable plant-lover.

Advertisers for the food industry have done their job to convince America that meat, especially chicken, is the best source of protein for our bodies to grow strong and healthy. And the more protein the better, right?

The truth is our body only needs a portion of the amount the average American consumes only a daily basis. Throughout the course of a day, a woman weighing 135 pounds needs about 70 g of protein. Using only whole, vegan foods she can have 1 cup of almonds (20 g protein), 1 cup of black beans (42 g), and 1 cup of cooked quinoa (8 g) in order to fulfill her daily dietary recommendation of 70g!

Also, it's best to save your high-protein meals for earlier in the day. We tend to save our largest meal for dinner, but when we eat a lot of protein at night there's less time spent burning it as energy. Instead, it is converted as fat to be stored in your body.

Understanding your daily dietary needs--and how to get it-- is the best way to ensure optimum health. Not only do all these vegetables, grains, and legumes supply protein, but they also contain more nutritional benefits when compared to animal products such as fiber, potassium, vitamins, and potassium (to name a few).

As commercials continue to focus primarily on meat's protein, all the bad stuff (like saturated fatty acids) that is carried along with it is put in the shadows. Increased chance for heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity are all risk factors for eating animal products.

So why not do your body a favor? Eat all the protein you want-- beans, oats, grains, nuts, lentils, greens-- while reaping all the rewards of a healthy, vegan diet.