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Protein is a macronutrient, made up of amino acids. Iron is a micronutrient, which is simply iron. (As in the metal.)

Protein, once digested, is broken down into amino acids, which go into producing muscle.

Iron is what the bloodstream uses to carry oxygen around the body.
 

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As Loki stated, protein and iron are two entirely different nutrients. They are mentioned in association with one another because meat is an adundant source of both of these nutrients. (It does vary with the kind of meat we are talking about, however.)

Many people do not realize that plants do in fact produce proteins. Amino acids (which compose proteins) are the building blocks of all life. Vegetarians' main source of proteins are grains and legumes. A diet that includes plenty of whole grains and beans, peas, and lentils will give you the amino acids you need for your body to compose complete proteins.

Beans (the dried varieties) are also a good source of iron, as are many greens, and blackstrap molasses.

You did not mention calcium, but this is another nutrient that people are going to wonder how you are getting if you never consume animal products. Greens, greens, greens: the dark kind will give you plenty of calcium. Kale, collards, and other dark greens are good sources. I usually steam mine to minimize nutrient loss.
 

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People think that because that's what they've been programmed to believe by the Meat and Dairy Council. Beans and bean products are good sources. People also seem to believe that they reqiure way more protein than they do as the result of the aforementioned council's promotion of it's cruel, and fat-laden, products.
 

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Meat is considered a good source of iron because its form (heme) is more readily absorbed than iron from vegetable sources. As far as veg*ns go, the impression I get is you should eat tons of whole grains, legumes, and dark veggies to get iron. Off the top of my head, I know pumpkin seeds, kidney beans and molasses are good sources. Also, vitamin C dramatically increases absorption. You can also get iron by cooking acidic foods in a cast iron frying pan. I still don't have the iron thing hammered out, the last time I tried to give blood it was too low.

http://www.veggieboards.com/boards/s...low+give+blood

Protein isn't an issue if you eat a varied diet that is high enough in calories.

http://www.eatright.org/Public/Gover...s/92_17084.cfm
 

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Really, all food contains protein, with the exception of sugar and alcohol. Even some fruit has protein. The average American gets over twice as much protein as they need, which is actually bad for you (did you know drinking too much milk can give you osteoporosis?). Because most people get so much protein, we kind of assume that you need huge amounts of it.

Iron is also pretty easy to get. Many foods are fortified with it, and leafy greens have it... the darker, the better. Spinach is really good. Strawberries have it too. You shouldn't take a supplement for iron, unless you're anemic. If you somehow get too much iron (like taking supplements when you're getting it in your diet) is bad for you.

From what I've heard and read, as long as you are getting enough calories to stay healthy, you should not be worried about protein, and you shouldn't fret over iron too much either. Just eat a large variety of foods and you'll be O.K.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by treehuggerchick View Post

From what I've heard and read, as long as you are getting enough calories to stay healthy, you should not be worried about protein, and you shouldn't fret over iron too much either. Just eat a large variety of foods and you'll be O.K.
I want to clarify this a bit by saying that as long as the calorie sources are not nutritionally empty ones (like potato chips or vegan cookies) then there should be little-to-no worry about ample protien or sufficient iron. That's not to say "don't have a vegan cookie, ever" but that IS to say "don't have 2,000 calories worth of vegan cookies and think you're making your requirements".


So long as you base your diet around a wide variety of vegan whole foods then you should be pretty fine, nutritionally.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4EverGrounded View Post

I want to clarify this a bit by saying that as long as the calorie sources are not nutritionally empty ones (like potato chips or vegan cookies) then there should be little-to-no worry about ample protien or sufficient iron. That's not to say "don't have a vegan cookie, ever" but that IS to say "don't have 2,000 calories worth of vegan cookies and think you're making your requirements".
You know what I meant
 

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People think protein comes strictly from animal products because they ar enot knowledgeable on nutrition. However, mention that you are a vegetarian, and all of a sudden, everyone becomes an expert nutritionist.
 

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Believe it or not, it's not *that* hard to get greens into your diet. In the frozen food section, where the veggies are, there are bags of chopped spinach, chopped collard greens and chopped mustard greens. I like to keep the mustard greens and spinach on hand in the deepfreeze. It's ever-so-easy to put a handful or two of these chopped greens into whatever you're cooking for that extra boost of nutrition.

That's what I've started doing recently and I've found that it's a great way of getting the greens on without much fuss.
 

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And while I'm on about frozen foods....

Most people don't really like frozen foods because they're "bad for you" and "full of sodium" but I've found that if you just stick to veggies and veggie blends, it's much better. The only caviat here is to make sure that the ingredients only list the veggies it contains and that's it. If there's ingredients in there that sound chemically, then put it back (some of the bean mixes will have preservatives and color retainers in them - you don't want those).

If you keep about 2 - 3+ singular veggies bags and about 2 - 3+ blends, then you'll always have a pretty good variety to work from.

Some will say fresh is better and yes, it is..... sometimes. Some veggies lose their flavour and a bit of their nutrition going from farm to market to table while most frozen veggies are picked, washed, flash-frozen and shipped within the same day so there's minimal flavour loss and minimal nutritional depletion. Corn is a very good example of this and so are those lovely greens I was telling you about in my earlier post.

It's great to have fresh in the keepers, but on those nights when you can't be arsed with washing, chopping and all that, then frozen is a great stand-by that's quick, easy and nutritious.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I actually started buying frozen spinach & other veggie blends for stir-fry & pasta the past few years. I think it's great to have tomato sauce added w/ zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, eggplant, spinach, etc. but is that really enough protein??
 
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