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This is the most common question asked of those individuals whose diet is whole-food plant-based.
Consider leafy plants. Some examples of (dry weight) caloric composition follows (from NutritionData.com):
- kale: 16% protein; 12% fat; 72% carbohydrates
- beet greens: 25 % protein; 5 % fat; 70% carbohydrates
- spinach: 30% protein; 14% fat; 56% carbohydrates
compare this with:
- bacon: 11% protein; 89% fat; 0 % carbohydrate
- beef: 27% protein; 73% fat; 0 % carbohydrate
- Big Mac: 18% protein; 52% fat; 30% carbohydrate
Example herbivore getting his protein:
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“How does it taste?”
“It tastes nutritious.”
This is a question and answer often heard in our household.
First allow me to introduce my garden. Here is a picture of half of it. As seen, I primarily grow green leafy vegetables that can be continuously harvested all spring, summer, and early fall. The beet greens in the foreground are harvested even before the beets themselves.
Much of what we grow we start from seeds. I use heritage seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company located close to our ranch in Mansfield, Missouri (home of “Little House on the Prairie” Laura Ingals Wilder).
The first ingredient from the garden is kale. I weighted each ingredient so as to provide a precise nutrition summary. Here is the scale weighting a portion of the kale, 17 grams worth.
The total amount of kale used,130 grams, is shown here in the mortar. On the top is before crushing and the right, after exactly 5 minutes of crushing. You can see that the volume is decreased considerably and the tough leaves become a paste.
Next are shown the following leafy green ingredients from our garden, top to bottom; greens from the heritage beet plant “Early Wonder”, pre-1811, 41 gm; arugula, 25 gm; basil 26 gm; and dandelion 12 gm. The greens are from a single dandelion plant that was growing in a flower pot with Missouri Primrose. Our lawn service apparently “conditioned” our lawn to “de-weed” from this fantastic plant.
Also added to the mortar were garlic cloves, 16 gm; flaxseeds, 4 g; freshly crushed black pepper, 0.5 gm; and a slice of lemon with peel, 23 gm.
These ingredients were crushed for about 7 minutes. To this freshly sprouted buckwheat, 64 gm, was added. The mixture at this stage is shown here.
Organically grown black beans were soaked in water overnight to begin the sprouting process, then slowly cooked the next day. Here is shown about one and a half cups, 245 gm.
This recipe provides two servings , one shown here:
The total weight of this combination of food is 592.5 gm; results in 648.2 calories. The breakdown in calories are:
- carbohydrates: 71%
- protein: 19%
- fat: 10%
This is approximately the ideal caloric distribution for a vegan diet; it is a little higher in protein because of the black beans. There is 31.8 gm of fiber, 3.0 gm omega-3 and 1.7 gm omega-6.
However, most importantly, it is very rich in phytonutrients.
How does it taste?
I knew you were thinking this. I fully expected it to take “nutritious”. I asked my son, who is more critical than I concerning food taste, to try the first bite. His summary: “delicious”.