But Where Do You Get Your Protein From?
I tend not to refer to myself as 'vegan', I tend not to refer my diet at all to be honest. When asked what kind of foods I eat to support my fitness my usual answer is just that "I don't eat meat or dairy". It's pretty much guarranteed that everytime people find out I don't eat animal products, the first thing they ask is "Where do you get your protein from?".
Being defined by what you eat is a strange concept for me; shouldn't we be defined by who we are, not what we do? People find out you don't eat meat or dairy and all of a sudden they become a nutritional expert, but do we ever think about why the protein question comes up straight away? It's all about marketing. Protein is important for growth and muscle-building but the amount we need to consume has been exagerrated by the supplements industry because it's a product they want you to buy. I've seen many a casual gym user worry about their protein intake and buying prepackaged post-workout drinks that are essentially sweetened milkshakes. They are expensive and unnecessary in my opinion. And I can honestly say this because I've been my own Guinea Pig for as long as fitness has been a part of my life. Before I gave up meat I used to do the typical bodybuilder thing of at least 500g of meat, a litre of milk and 3 eggs (usually raw) every day. But once I gave it up I never looked back because I honestly felt better; not just physically, but mentally aswell.
I got my biggest gains in strength and muscle mass just before my accident in 2014 and the reason for that was a different approach to training I was working on and a really simple meal I came up with: half a jar of [natural] peanut butter and a banana. I kid you not. I will quite happily sit there with a spoon and eat 200g of peanut butter. We are talking 60g of protein and 90g of fat. That is a lot of fat, but fat is my body's preferred energy source and I was hitting 89kg and only about 9% bodyfat. My point is, don't buy into whatever you read or people tell you straight away. Experiment on yourself and find out through your own experience what works for you. Have the courage to go your own way and don't be condescending to others if they don't share your views or opinions. There is nothing wrong with taking pride in your beliefs if they are important to you, but broadcasting them at every opportunity will just turn people off; being a pretentious vegan just irritates people and will neutralise any message of positivity you are trying to convey.