Calling Bullshit on Vegan Protein & Calcium Food Lists - Anarchist Kitchen Blog

straight up, I’m gonna say protein so try not to lose your shit

You know those lists that say A List of Plants High in Protein or Vegan Foods High in Calcium? Well, they’re mythological and end up being used to re-enforce the fairy tale.


I need data, not dogma.

I can not stress enough that there’s a vast ocean between the peer-reviewed research that was based on The China Study and T. Colin Campbell’s book The China Study. Denise Minger read through the research and wrote extensively about the inconsistencies between Campbell’s summary / conclusion and the raw data itself. It was this which made me look into the Plant Food Lists.


There’s calcium in plant food. There’s protein in plant food. These are not myths, it’s true. What is a myth is “these foods are high in protein or calcium”. It’s a myth because it’s taking a kernel of truth and adding a story to kind of substantiate an agenda. Or maybe I’m just being hypercritical.


A little back story:

Since I often avoid dairy it occurred to me to see whether or not I was getting enough calcium from my daily diet. I’ve been tracking my food/calories for the last 2 years. I’ve only paid attention to the macro nutrient count and never looked at the micro nutrient count. I have 2 years of data to look at to see whether I’ve been getting enough calcium. Calcium is tricky. I didn’t do any research but isn’t calcium levels in a blood test misleading? I thought that the body will leach calcium from the bones (osteoporosis) to compensate for any calcium deficiency in the diet…. like there’s a certain level the blood should maintain and it will sacrifice your bone density for muscle, cell and nerve function? I don’t fucking know. This is what I thought one random day last month which urged me to see how much calcium I’ve been getting on a daily basis. The answer wasn’t good. I get damn near no (ultra low) amount of calcium in my diet (ultra low iron too). The only spike I saw in my history (besides the dairy indulgences) was almond milk because it’s fortified. My dad used to talk shit on fortified foods, “They strip all of the nutrients out of bread then have to add back in vitamins just to qualify it as a food”. So in my head I’m being paranoid about fortified calcium and whether or not it has the proper co-factors or causes bone spurs.

Now I’m nervous, I remember all of the Plant Foods High in Calcium lists and start digging around online. I’m no longer vegan. I don’t have a dog in the fight, I can look at the data and not just the headlines so I went ahead and crunched the numbers. I just want clear, I want true vegan facts that I can apply to my life. While I’m being critical of vegan lists I don’t want to see veganism fail! Where can I get an adequate source of calcium that’s non-dairy?

The lists are a fucking joke. If I’m misreading the numbers then someone please help me out! I did run across some vegan articles that conclude vegans need less calcium (half the of daily recommended intake). I dug around, it appears to be a vegan myth. This Vegan website agrees “there is currently no good evidence to suggest that vegans require less than anyone else” and used the words Myth in their title. Even if the unsubstantiated logic was true, that more dietary protein leaches calcium, than wouldn’t the whole population of meat eaters who eat the same low number of protein grams that a vegan eats be off the hook to require less calcium too?

It’s like that Aziz Ansari joke about white people and Slumdog Millionaire : “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Are white people just psyched all the time?” It’s, like, “‘Back to the Future’! That’s us! ‘Godfather’! That’s us! ‘Godfather Part II’! That’s us! ‘Departed’! That’s us! ‘Sunset Boulevard’! That’s us! ‘Citizen Kane’! That’s us! ‘Jaws’! That’s us! Every fucking movie but ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and ‘Boyz n the Hood’ is us! We are white people! Suck our dicks!” Vegans taking credit…. ha! “Oh, low protein has some benefits? They must be talking about us .” 2 vegans slap high five.

My research on the daily recommended intake of calcium applies to everyone (over the age of 3) is based on the shills for industry recommendations. If you read through the USDA “My Plate” propaganda you’ll see they seem impartial to where you get your calcium and encourage dairy free milk alternatives as sufficient alternatives. 99% of the population requires 1,000 – 1,300 mg of calcium according to the NIH. That’s what I based my numbers on.

I combed through the list of foods and found that most plant foods deemed high in calcium were unrealistic once the volume of food was considered. If broccoli is high in calcium then the list is assuming you can eat 6 lbs of broccoli in a day. That is what I deem unrealistic. I call bullshit on these lists. If vegan propaganda has a history of spreading myths then I wondered what other nutritional lists were misleading. I wondered if the protein lists had the same unrealistic, anti-reality logic to them. And they did. There’s sooo many foods that didn’t even make the calcium list because no amount of food would make a dent in your daily recommended intake. Protein was different, tons of plant foods have protein and even a small portion of those on the list were rich sources but as a whole those lists are bullshit too.

Calling Bullshit on Vegan Protein & Calcium Food Lists - Anarchist Kitchen Blog

It’s not about the kind of protein, it’s about how much you’re eating. This fucker eats ALL day. Plus genetics. And did you know that gorillas in the wild rarely drink water. Maybe we should stop drinking water.

Calcium has a solid number attached. “You need 1,000-1,300 mg” says God but protein is different. From what I’ve read the shills recommend between 10%-30% of your calories. I know there’s a lot of hippie vegans out there that think eating less than 2,000 calories a day is damn near starvation. I know that same crowd tries to pump each other up to eat 3,000 calories or more on fruit. Now that group swears that they unanimously all need just 10% protein. Let’s do the math, shall we? 10% of 3,000 calories is 300 calories. 300 calories of protein (divide by 4) is 75 grams of protein. If you’re not part of that crowd and simply eat about 2,000 calories a day and take the lowest amount (10%) of recommended protein then you’d need 50 grams. I average about 50 grams a day. Some days it goes wayyyy lower than that and other days it will get in the 70s or 80s. Overall my protein is relatively low but what does that look like in plant form? What volume of food is needed to supply yourself adequately with this main nutrient? Let’s assume a person needs just 50 grams of protein. I know that number sounds hella low to some of you out there but that’s the baseline I used to calculate the volume of veggies needed.

Calling Bullshit on Vegan Protein & Calcium Food Lists - Anarchist Kitchen Blog

You don’t need meat. You’re welcome to enjoy 6 lbs of broccoli a day.

How I Crunched The Numbers:

  1. I would type into google all sorts of foods including all of the popular ones on the calcium and protein lists. Example: “Calcium in Broccoli” or “Protein in Almonds”
  2. I would adjust the measurement drop down to say “100 gram” which would adjust the calculation to show 47 mg of calcium in 100 grams of broccoli. I would consider that a serving size for simplicity sake.
  3. Then I would divide the total amount of calcium needed in a day (1000-1300 mg) by 47 mg and see that I’d need about 25.5 servings of broccoli to adequately cover my daily requirement.
  4. 25.5 serving at 100 grams each is 2,500 grams of broccoli. Using a grams to pounds converter I see that 2,550 grams is the same as 5.6 lbs of broccoli.How the fuck is broccoli high in calcium? It’s not even close. However, if you ate 3.75 lbs of broccoli then you’d hit your daily 50 grams of protein. It’s tricky. You could overeat your protein, get about 20%, in order to satisfy your calcium needs.Well, I’ve blabbed on enough. I’ll keep working on my dairy free calcium and peace the fuck out.
    Calling Bullshit on Vegan Protein & Calcium Food Lists - Anarchist Kitchen Blog

    The question shouldn’t be “where vegan’s get their protein” but rather “are those of us who love plant foods getting adequate protein”.


    Feel free to complain to the shitty math & grammar police if I’m really fucking off on any of this.