Where do you get your protein? That seems to be the most common question asked whenever people are assessing whether a certain diet or lifestyle can work or not.
Well, where do I, as a low fat raw vegan endurance athlete, get my protein?
The following is a TOP 20 list of my favorite low fat (10% or lower) raw whole natural foods, that are great protein sources (10% or more protein):
- asparagus: 5% fat, 27% protein
- swiss chard: 9% fat, 23% protein
- green leaf lettuce: 8% fat, 22% protein
- broccoli: 9% fat, 20% protein
- cauliflower: 3% fat, 19% protein
- summer squash (zucchini): 9% fat, 18% protein
- chinese cabbage (pe-tsai): 10% fat, 18% protein
- celery: 10% fat, 17% protein
- iceberg lettuce: 8% fat, 16% protein
- kohlrabi: 3% fat, 15% protein
- radicchio: 9% fat, 15% protein
- red sweet pepper: 9% fat, 13% protein
- coconut water: 9% fat, 13% protein
- cabbage: 3% fat, 12% protein
- tomatoes: 9% fat, 12% protein
- cucumber: 6% fat, 11% protein
- beets: 3% fat, 10% protein
- fennel (bulb): 5% fat, 10% protein
- celeriac: 6% fat, 10% protein
- green sweet pepper: 7% fat, 10% protein
Of course I also like to eat small amounts of many relatively high-protein green leafs or seeds that provide more than 10% fat, but usually only for dinner, after training or racing. For example:
- red leaf lettuce: 12% fat, 33% protein
- spinach: 14% fat, 30% protein
- chinese cabbage (pak-choi): 13% fat, 28% protein
- butterhead lettuce: 14% fat, 25% protein
- romaine or cos lettuce: 15% fat, 18% protein
- pumpkin/squash seed kernels: 71% fat, 16% protein
- chia seeds: 53% fat, 11% protein
- sesame seeds: 73% fat, 11% protein
Anyway, I fully agree with fruitarian ultramarathoner Michael Arnstein that 7% protein is plenty, even for athletes.
Doug '80/10/10' Graham gives a comprehensive answer to the protein question in the video below. Almost all fruit range 3-9% protein, and that's the range we should generally aim for with our diet.
Finally, Tim Van Orden talks about the protein myth and raw vs cooked food. This is an important point, because refined or cooked foods are not healthy, no matter how much protein they might contain. In other words, they are harmful. That's another reason why I don't eat any protein supplements, apart from the fact that they are costly and completely unnecessary.