The Vegan Experiment: Day 13


Day 13

Breakfast: Oatmeal Squares with vanilla soy milk
Lunch: Tempeh with olive oil and soy sauce, quinoa, crackers and hummus
Snack: tortilla chips
Dinner: Pasta with sautéed vegetables, pineapple

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how healthy a vegan diet actually is. I’ve decided to do a 3 day analysis of essential components of foods. I’m going to track not just what I eat but how much I eat and then compare calories, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, sodium, fiber, sugar and protein amounts against daily recommendations. My expectation is that I should far exceed or remain in the ranges for my daily consumption.

I’m most interested in protein. Many people’s first thoughts of a vegetarian (especially vegan) diet is that you aren’t getting enough protein. In actuality, people on a meat diet consume much more protein than they actually need. For example, the recommended daily allowance of protein for a woman my size is 46 g. People don’t realize that protein is found in all sorts of foods, including whole grains, legumes and even vegetables. A 4 oz chicken breast has approximately 26 g of protein. A 4 oz chicken breast is about the size of your fist. Most people eat 1.5-2 times that which means just in that piece of meat, you would be getting all the protein that you need for the day. Consequently, when you factor in the side of vegetable and pasta that you’re eating with that chicken, the cereal that you had for breakfast and the bread you had your sandwich on with lunch, you have well exceeded the amount of protein that you need in one day.

A lot of people are sitting back and saying so what if I eat too much protein. A diet in excessive protein can actually be harmful to your body. The additional protein that you have consumed is not used by the body at all, squashing the misconception that diets high in protein can build up muscle. The extra protein is removed from the body but not before it can cause excessive hydration which over time could lead to kidney damage and stress the heart.

Odds are that none of you are causing any long-term damage in the amount of protein you are eating unless you are consciously eating protein all day long. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be cognizant of the amount of nutrients that we are consuming on a daily basis, hence, my 3 day analysis. Stay tuned for the results.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. I never thought about a Vegan/ Vegetarian diet being too low in protein as I know most people are careful to eat plenty of beans and pulses. I have heard it’s hard to get enough vitamin B12 though. Do you take a supplement?

    Reply

    • B12 is an interesting topic. If you eat a diet consisting of animal products, your body stores enough B12 for 5 years. Consequently, I’m not concerned about a B12 deficiency right now. Vegans can get B12 by eating fortified cereals and tempeh. Those sources probably aren’t enough to meet my B12 needs long-term. If I decide to continue being a vegan after this experiment, I will need to take a supplement.

      Reply

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