Growing Proteins

Proteins, who needs them?! Well we all do.

We grow many of our own proteins on our plot and we say we have a vegan small holding on the basis of having no animals, no bee hives and growing proteins such as quinoa, amaranth, borlotti beans and Greek gigantes beans.

So how much protein do we grow? Here are the facts and figures for these crops, courtesy of the USDA database.

Crop Protein % Weight of crop (kg) Protein total (kg)
Quinoa 14.12 9 1.27
Amaranth 13.56 6 0.81
Borlotti beans 6.99 3 0.21
Greek Gigantes 5.00 5 0.25
Total   23 2.54

The average human being needs roughly 18 kg of protein per year so from these crops we fall rather short of the mark, even though these are high protein crops. So how do we get the rest of our proteins?

Well without doing the sums in detail, and luckily, all vegetables have proteins, like potatoes, cabbages, peas, broad beans for example.

Crop Protein % Weight of crop (kg) Protein total (kg)
Potatoes 2.05 100 2.05
Cabbages 1.28 20 0.256
Peas 5.42 2 0.10
Broad beans 5.60 10 0.56
Total   132 3.00

Still short of our needs even if we add in all our crops we might come up to 10 kg of protein (5 kg each).

Now we don’t grow everything we eat, we are not entirely self sufficient. We buy in our bread flour in bulk, we buy lots of red, green and brown lentils. loads of rice etc. So how much does this provide.

Food item Protein % Weight per year (kg) Protein total (kg)
Spelt flour 5.00 35 1.50
Rye flour 10.88 25 2.72
Red lentils 23.91 12 2.87
Green lentils 24.63 3 0.74
Brown lentils 24.63 3 0.74
Rice 7.54 12 0.9
Oats 16.89 24 4.05
Total    114 13.52 

So with not much of the diverse range of foods, we come to close to one person’s worth and, amazingly when we calculate all the foods we can think of that we grow, buy and forage we get to well in excess of our quota.

Nor do we believe that we need the amounts that we are told we need. When we eat a healthy balanced diet and avoid more harmful foods, like refined flour and sugar, our bodies function more effectively and we can assimilate our nutrients better and therefore need less.

So although we only grow a small proportion of our own proteins and we eat a mostly vegetarian diet we find enough proteins to live a fit and healthy life. We do not rely on animals that are contributing lots of the greenhouse gases and polluting our environment.

3 thoughts on “Growing Proteins

  • July 22, 2017 at 5:51 pm
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    My hubby and I became plant based eaters about a year ago after he narrowly dodged an imminent heart attack. This post will be very helpful for us, although, at the high altitude where we live, it will be a challenge to grow some of this stuff. Switching to a plant based diet has helped him lose 40 pounds and taken away the danger of dying soon. His cholesterol and blood pressure numbers have gone way down. I do the plant based way of life, too, and so does our daughter.

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    • July 22, 2017 at 8:35 pm
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      If you can grow apricots and garlic I reckon you should be able to grow quinoa and amaranth. They grow in South America at altitude and don’t take long to produce a crop. Yours is a stirring story, thank you for sharing it. We feel inspired by it.

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    • July 23, 2017 at 10:26 pm
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      It is quoted somewhere that ‘ Vegetarians’ do on average live 7 – 8 years longer than meat eaters.
      Although this may depend The quantity of animal protein and its quality is consumed because it is a scientific fact that its animal fat that clogs up your arteries.
      Maybe our bodies can handle small amounts and use it as energy but I reckon this would probably be in times of survival.
      I have greatly reduced my meat consumption but on the other hand my dairy has increased.

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