By Jacky Sutton, Vegan ACT
If I had a dollar for every time I have been asked that I would be a wealthy woman. The idea that human mammals have to rely on the baby food of non-human animals well beyond their natural weaning for calcium has been drummed into our heads by the dairy industry lobbies for over a century.
Cows, as mammals, also require protein – as do apes, giraffes, elephants, buffalo and dozens of other herbivorous species. Plants also contain calcium, without any of the harmful side effects of cows’ milk, which also contains pus, antibiotics, bio-engineered hormones, pesticides and acids, which leach calcium from human bones.
The idea that only meat contains protein has been a central meme of the meat lobby and has been around since the discovery of protein in 1839. The relationship between animal protein and cancers is often explained in terms of cholesterol and saturated fat but little research is funded into the composition of animal protein, which is the ‘sacred cow’ of the agro-industry.
Like milk, meat also contains antibiotics, bio-engineered hormones, pesticides and micro-proteins derived from meat. Cattle are herbivores, but have also been fed meat-based proteins (ground up cows) in the mistaken idea that this would enhance their growth. In the 1980s it took the deaths of almost 200 people in the UK from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, before the barbaric practice of feeding cows other dead cows was made public.
Lack of calcium and protein are two myths that are explored in this light- hearted song by Jonathon and Ivory:
Below are 10 vegan sources of protein that are cruelty-free and won’t make you sick (100g = 3.5 ounces):
1. Green vegetables: One cup of cooked spinach (226g) has about seven grams of protein. The same serving of French beans has about 13 grams. Two cups of cooked kale has 5 grams and one cup of boiled peas has 9 grams. One hard-boiled egg has about 6 grams of protein, most red meat has about 7 grams an ounce.
2. Almond milk: One cup of almond milk can pack about 7–9 grams of protein. Eat it with some fortified cereal and you’ve got a totally vegan-friendly breakfast.
3. Prunes and raisins: One cup of these fruits will give about 4–5 grams of protein.
4. Nut Butter: Eat up your peanut butter, almond butter and cashew butter. A couple of tablespoons of any one of these will get you 8 grams of protein.
5. Quinoa: This versatile, delicious grain contains about 9 grams of protein per cup.
6. Tofu: Four ounces of tofu will get you about 9 grams of protein.
7. Lentils: One cup cooked delivers 18 grams of protein.
8. Beans: One cup of pinto, kidney or black beans, you’ll get about 13–15 grams of protein.
9. Tempeh: One cup of tempeh packs about 30 grams of protein! That’s more than five eggs or a regular hamburger patty.
10. Sprouted-grain bread: Pack a sandwich with vegan sprouted-grain bread and you’ll get about 10 grams of protein in the bread alone.