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But where do you get your protein?

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I have to laugh when people ask me that question. It’s just so ironic that, 90% of the time, the same people who are asking me where I get my protein have absolutely no idea where they get any of their nutrients.  If they’re asking out of genuine curiosity, I’m happy to list vegan sources of protein. However, if they’re just asking to sound annoying/combative/superior, my answer goes something like this:

Where do you get your 5 servings of fruits and veggies per day?

Where do you get your serving of leafy greens per day?

Where do you get your recommended amount of fiber?

Your Vitamin A? Vitamin C?

Or I just point out that gorillas and elephants are vegans.  They certainly don’t seem to have a problem getting enough protein!


(Christmas trees have protein? Who knew???)

In actuality, it’s not true that vegetarians have a difficult time getting enough protein in their diets.

The meat industry has perpetuated the myth that people need animal protein, especially if they’re athletic.  In reality, Americans get too much protein, which leaches calcium from the bones.  That’s the main reason why we have one of the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world even though we also have one of the highest rates of dairy consumption.  It’s not just calcium intake that’s important, it’s calcium balance.

Also, it’s easy for vegetarians to meet the RDA for protein; it exists in places you wouldn’t expect.  For example, 1/3cup of oatmeal has 6 grams!  Pasta too.  And–surprise—even broccoli has quite a bit of protein! There’s a vegan body-building movement, too, with a website and everything.  I have two good friends who are vegan body builders.


Anyone want to tell my friend, Robert Cheeke (above), that vegans don’t get enough protein?  Watch your back, Jay Robb!! (Robert’s going to be a guest on the blog in the near future.)

Plus, there are the crazy-energetic marathoners like Brendan Brazier, ultramarathoners like Scott Jurek, and even some NFL, NHL, and MLB-playing vegans (such as Georges Laraque of the Montreal Canadians, who is known as “Big Georges”) . No shortage of muscle there!

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Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

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  1. jcd says:

    Wait, Goeorges Laraque is vegan? That just made my day. Go Georges!

    I agree with you; I wish there were more opportunities for layfolk to get dressed up in formalwear. My husband and I like cruise holidays because we can get dressed up every night if we want to. Yay.

  2. So SO true! I love your response and I will be using that next time someone rudely asks me the same question.

  3. I’ve checked out the vegan bodybuilding site when I was competing and have some friends that have competed while being vegan, too. I eat meat, but I have never thought getting protein is an issue without it!

  4. I, like the aforementioned elephant, also get most of my protein from Christmas trees. Hate mistletoe though- blech! 😉

  5. JCD,
    I know!! As the biggest hockey fan ever (ok, one of them), I SCREAMED at the tv when they started talking about it on ESPN. But before I wrote this post, I made sure to check and see if it was true or just a “phase” like Tony Gonzales of the Kansas City Chiefs (who went back to eating meat). I found an actual quote from Laraque saying he became a vegan because he didn’t agree with the animal-suffering aspect!

  6. Katherine,
    LOL I punched in “elephants eating” and got that scary picture! Laughed so much!

    (Which I did again when I read Keri’s comment above mine)

  7. MsAlex,
    Haha in Texas they probably DON’T know any other vegans 😕

    And I bet Santa would be up in arms! Poor guy, we’d better not tell him!

  8. Valerie says:

    Some of these comments are too much. I agree with you, Katie: they’re making me laugh so hard!

  9. conradvisionquest says:

    that little elephant is adorable. ps, where can i get a crown like the one you have on in your banner?

  10. Kate says:

    @ Keri,
    I prefer rosebushes. Have you ever tried apple trees, though? They have a nice flavor, especially the wood 😉

  11. abby says:

    screams! hahaha not really. i do love twilight though!

  12. Mary says:

    Grass-eating hippies? Haha how about tree-eating hippies 🙂
    Love Robert Cheeke. He’s going to be on your blog?!

  13. Hahahaha – lovely post, Katie!
    It´s always fun to know more about the vegetarian diet 🙂
    Have a greatt day!
    Brazilian XOXO´s,

  14. Jenny says:

    Swoon- I love the pic of edward and Bella!!

  15. katie says:

    how much protein do you usually like to get?how much should a person get?

  16. Jess says:

    Hey girl! I was wondering the same thing–out of genuine curiosity, not to be snooty, of course!! But you knew that 🙂 Thanks for the intel! I definitely agree that Americans eat TOO MUCH protein! Meat isn’t meant to be eaten with every meal!!

    <3 jess

  17. Sarahishealthy says:

    I never thought about the fact that elephants and gorillas are vegans and so they must get enough protein. I love that idea though, to show people that you can get enough protein on a vegetarian diet by pointing to them.

  18. Hela says:

    hi katie!
    im SO glad u came up wid dis topic! i hate it when ppl askin me bout whether i get enough protein. its ridiculous! back in school we had nutrition n its proven dat u can get enough protein wid just a slice of cheese, wholegrain bread and milk wid ur coffee. tho its nothin 4 vegans- der r sooo many ways 2 get protein on vegan diets!
    thx 🙂

  19. Since I don’t eat much dairy, I always get asked how I get enough calcium, and it’s really difficult for me not to roll my eyes. Many people have no idea that other foods besides dairy products contain calcium, and I have never had problems not getting enough.

    Beautiful hair on prom night by the way. 🙂

  20. *Andrea* says:

    gah i always get that comment!!! i’m not vegan or strict vegetarian but i RARELY eat meat and my friends always ask where i get protein and when i say beans, spinach, whole grains they laugh lol.

    one of my friends also said at dinner last night ‘i had a friend that went vegetarian and she got so fat so i would never do that. all she did was eat carbs and cheese.’ ahhh- makes me mad because being vegetarian/eating a certain way for health or ethics shouldn’t relate to body image and also protein doesn’t mean you need to eat animals to get it! but it’s ok if you do, of course.

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