The most asked question to a vegan is ….

A fabulous night out with a friend and her friends inevitably led to the question, “What do you do for protein?”
My usual stock answer, “There is protein in all foods… yada, yada, yada” — bored, bored, bored with this question.

It wasn’t until later when I was tucked up in bed, that I began to wonder why on earth meat-eaters have such a fixation on what vegans have for protein. I’m guessing it’s because they are fascinated about what we do eat and can’t believe we can live without animal products, assuming we live on carrots and lettuce. What they fail to understand is that vegan food is readily available, tasty and covers all the nutrition needed. They could so easily be having at least one meat-free day each week (as a lot already do).

But it’s more than that. When I was a meat-eater, I didn’t think to myself, ‘oh dear, I haven’t had any meat today — I’m going to have to have some to get my protein.’ And it’s the same now. I don’t think about what protein, calcium, vitamins or fibre or any other necessary things I need as I munch my way through the day.

Just as a meat eater doesn’t consciously go about planning the nutritional value of the foods s/he eats during any given day, neither do I.
(Mind you, many of them should!) It’s a matter of a balanced diet, eating good food and making sure there is a good variety. And, I must admit, a lot of it is simply asking myself the question, “what do I feel like eating?” just as any meat-eater would.

Next time I’m asked “What do you eat for protein”, I think I’ll turn it back and ask, “Do you eat meat for the protein or just because it’s what you’re used to and you like it?” or maybe I might say “I don’t know, I just know that I have all the nutrients including protein that my body needs every day.”
But the best answer, and I’ve used it!!! Is “Protein? OMG, I HAVE to have protein? How am I still alive after nearly 20 years without protein????”
If anyone reading this has a good stock response to the inevitable meat eater’s question — I’d love to hear it.

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Gold card carrying vegan NZ author. Passionate about all critters (including humans). Can be seen advocating for the animals or speaking at events.