People are often surprised to find vegans on the trail. Some are genuinely curious, other skeptical. The most common question I get is, “Where do you get your protein?” In daily life this question is absurd to me for two reasons:
1) The average American consumes two to three times the amount of protein they actually need. It’s thanks to marketing, American culture, distorted health advice, and the age-old concept that eating meat makes you big and strong.
2) Protein is an extremely easy macronutrient to come by, found in most foods. For example, broccoli has more protein per calorie than beef.
I will admit that on trail protein is a slightly more relevant conversation. This is mainly because protein as a macro really packs a punch; that is, it’s a dense source of calories. Having enough calories is a very relevant conversation for people that are hiking anywhere from 13 to 30 miles per day. Honestly, though, our trail food isn’t anything bizarre. Other hikers are surprised to find that our food bags aren’t too far off theirs. We eat Pop-Tarts, oatmeal, bars, ramen, peanut butter, and starchy dinners just like everyone else.
As for the weird factor, doesn’t it make sense that people who love the outdoors would want to protect it? One way I choose to protect the outdoors and our planet as a whole is by not consuming animal products, as they account for 18 percent of all greenhouse gases, 65 percent of nitrous oxide emissions, 27 percent of our water footprint, and plenty of other fun stats.
Plus, I feel pretty dang good.
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