A telling in my mailbox caught my attention. Apparently, a discussion had begun online on whether or not vegans are more evolved than other people.
While I seldom participate in this sort of discussion, I decided to throw in my two cents’ worth. My reply centered on protein.
First, allow me to say that I totally understand the global need to move away from animal protein. I’ve done this myself for the most part. I know the need for planetary sustainability. I get the cruelty issue.
I am absolutely not trying to recommend eating meat or other animal products.
But I’m Big on Protein
In my experience, vegans occasionally underestimate the need for protein, maybe because they link this need with what I call”body protein.”
As the reasoning goes, if I am not a body-builder and don’t plan to build enormous muscle mass, my requirement for protein must be low. That further means I don’t have any need for traditional forms of protein: fish, chicken, beef (grass-fed or otherwise), fish, poultry, and such.
This rejection of traditional foods – and the assumed low need for protein – work in and with the vegan lifestyle.
In my online response, I pointed out that vegans often use nuts, beans, quinoa and other similar foods as protein. But those foods aren’t protein. They are beneficial and healthful, but not protein.
Nuts are fats. Quinoa is carbohydrate, as well. All these foods have a little protein in them, but”small” is the operative word.
And What About the Brain?
Further, the importance of protein isn’t limited to body protein.
Protein provides the amino acids the brain uses to create key neurochemicals that affect our minds and our ability to focus and work productively.
Protein affects our moods and can help alleviate mood problems, including anxiety, mood swings, depression, dysthymia, and more.
Protein also helps to control appetite and eating behaviors, including food cravings.
It sounds fairly important to me.
Taking that a step farther, women’s requirement for protein has been found by researchers to be underestimated.
To cite only one instance of the female brain has a greater serotonin turnover rate than the male brain and needs to keep making more serotonin. Serotonin is made from tryptophan – an amino acid that comes from protein. So girls do need protein, and nuts won’t necessarily provide sufficient.
Are Vegans More Evolved?
From the perspective of international awareness and concern for animal welfare, we might conclude that they are.
From the point of view of not understanding the importance of protein, except with respect to muscle protein, we might conclude they are not.
If we add in the fact that vegetarian’protein options’ are often not protein, we might conclude that it’s not particularly evolved not to know what’s in the foods we consume. Eating fats or eating carbohydrates and then telling ourselves they are protein does not seem highly evolved to me.
No animals harmed, but actual protein consumed. And be sure to get plenty.
Maybe that’s a more evolved solution.