14 June 2012

ask alli: where do you get your protein?

As I said yesterday, this question is like asking us, "Where did you get that sweater for your dog?"  Vegetarianism is something that unexposed omnivores seem to be morbidly fascinated by, so much so that in order to avoid gawking or appearing rude, they ask the question: "Where do you get your protein?"  This way they seem genuinely concerned and interested in our lifestyle.

The thing is, I've been vegetarian for most of my life.*  I've been asked about protein as many times as Hermione Granger has picked up a book.  So the last time the question was posed, I was halfway through my response before I even realized I was giving it.  It's pretty much rote by now.

Here it is: "Oh, I eat a lot of beans and nuts.  And do you know quinoa?  It's a complete protein."

One Green Planet
MIND-BLOWING, right?  Where's my Emmy?

Then the person always says, "What about tofu?"

"I don't really eat it that often," I say, "But yes, it has protein.  There are lots of other fake meats, too, and they're all good sources of protein."

Usually then the person wants to know what the other fake meats are made out of and somehow the conversation always ends with him or her talking about how either 1) they don't eat red meat very often anymore, or 2) they tried to be vegetarian once but it just didn't work out because they didn't feel like they were getting enough protein.

If I feel like the person can take it, I tell them we don't need that much protein.  You should check that link out.  It's from the CDC.  Totes legit.  But because it flies against the face of everything America holds dear, I don't dish that fact out lightly.  People tend not to believe it.  Would I lie to you?  I'll give it to you straight: adult women need around 46 grams of protein per day, and men require 56.  If you consume 1 cup oatmeal, 1 cup soymilk, 1 cup beans, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 2 slices whole wheat bread, and 6 ounces soy yogurt in a day, you're there, ladies.  The average diet around here contains twice that much.  Big discrepancy.

My homie Shelley makes a good point about protein; vegans get protein in its purest form from plants.  The protein that comes from meat is secondhand; it's harder for our bodies to make use of and it comes with health risks.  Plus, it's from a dead animal.  Poor Bessie.

To be honest, I don't even think about protein.

That's not quite accurate.  I think about protein, but only when somebody asks me where I get it.  If you could see my muscles (especially my thunder thighs), you'd know I get plenty.  I don't even try.  I don't even TRY.  God, my life is awesome.

* True story.  I'd like a free tee-shirt for that accomplishment, or at least a fridge magnet.

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