If I had a $1 for every time someone asked me that upon hearing I was vegetarian and then vegan, over the course of about 18 years, I would have so many friggin dollars.
Just to prove the naysayers wrong, I decided to actually keep count of how much protein I get on an average day without trying. I've actually never done this before, so it was a fun experiment for me too. I even did it for two days, just to make sure my first day totals were pretty consistent with my regular diet. The first day was Sunday, and the second day was Monday. I didn't try to increase my protein totals by eating high protein foods. I just ate as I typically would, and kept count of the protein. That's it.
Whole Grain Organic Waffles- 4g
Peanut Butter - 7g
Daiya Peach Yogurt - 8g
Vegan Grilled Cheese on Multigrain Bread - 11g
Whole bag of green beans - 3g
2 Sunbutter Cups - 4g
Bean Crisps - 4g
Oatmeal - 4g
Barley and veggies - 3g
Strawberries - 1g
Nut and granola mix - 5g
Daiya Peach Yogurt - 8g
Vegan Grilled Cheese - 11g
Handful of Green Beans - .5g
2 giant scoops of peanut butter - 7g (Don't judge me, I had a bad day!)
Pasta and Earth Balance - 0g of nutritional value, but delicious none the less. Like I said, I had a bad day. Carbs are lifesavers when you have a bad day.
You've probably read so many different things regarding how much protein you need. Men and women need different amounts, pregnant women need different amounts, age makes a difference, activity level makes a difference. In general, most things claim we need more protein than we really do. That's why when everyone gets up in arms about my protein levels, I'm like chill your omnivorous self down. I got this. People seem to forget that too much protein isn't healthy for you either.
I calculated my daily protein recommendation online using a calculator and putting my information in, and I should be getting 40 g per day, which I can clearly do without even trying. I also drink protein smoothies in the morning, although I've been slacking on those.
Eating a balanced diet is essential to a healthy life. That's nothing new, nothing you don't already know. Sometimes keeping a food journal and calculating what you think you may be lacking in, or getting too much of, can really help to balance your diet. And remember, you gotta eat what you want in moderation. Like my entire dinner Monday night was a carb overload. Do I feel bad about that? Not at all, because bad days call for carbs. But moderation is the key to everything.
Also remember that just because there's recommended amounts and guidelines doesn't mean you have to follow them to a T. Use your body as a guide. Listen to what your body is trying to tell you. You know how you should feel. Your dietary needs can change depending on what's going on in your life, so be smart!