One Green Planet

by Priscilla Feral

Anyone who purposefully avoids the products of animal agribusiness will hear the question: “Where do you get your protein?”

Do you know plants offer all the protein we need?

New York Times columnist Mark Bittman (who also authored How to Cook Everything Vegetarian) wrote a column that appeared in January 2008 under the title “Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler.” Here’s a brief excerpt:

We each consume something like 110 grams of protein a day, about twice the federal government’s recommended allowance; of that, about 75 grams come from animal protein. (The recommended level is itself considered by many dietary experts to be higher than it needs to be.) It’s likely that most of us would do just fine on around 30 grams of protein a day, virtually all of it from plant sources.

John McDougall, a noted physician who promotes a low-fat, plant-based diet, agrees. In fact, Dr. McDougall shows that plant sources alone will cover all of our protein needs just fine. “The final tally, based on solid scientific research, is: Your total daily need for protein is about 20 to 30 grams,” writes McDougall, who warns that an overabundance of protein can be harmful.

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