In the search for protein sources that are "sustainable", it is concluded rather quickly that there really are no absolutely sustainable options out there at this point. Most protein is produced (whether animal or plant based) on a fairly massive scale. From the feed produced in large quantities that is shipped in to give animals, to the factories used to package protein, there is usually an expenditure of fossil fuels somewhere in the process. Fossil fuels are not a sustainable energy source but they are used heavily in food production. There are a couple of "green" choices, however. One alternative to purchasing protein that uses up precious fuel sources is to buy goods from a locally cultivated and self-sustaining farm. A self-sustaining farm will grow the feed that they give their animals themselves. They will do the harvesting and separating by hand, and because it is more likely a smaller company it will require less energy via fossil fuels.
Proteins that are produced on a larger scale that are a “more sustainable” choice than others would be plant based proteins – especially algae proteins like spirulina. Talk about a "green" option!
The blue-green algae, Spirulina, is a complete protein so it works great as a supplement. Often it is taken as a tablet or in powder form. Dried spirulina is about 60% protein. Being so dense in protein content means that only a small dosage is required to meet one’s daily intake recommendation. Because of that it is a more sustainable option because people require less of it than other forms of protein, which in turn uses fewer resources to produce. Spriulina is also rich in other vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin K.
Another algae to consider is chlorella. Chlorella is a type of algae with an extremely high content of magnesium-rich chlorophyll. A 100 g, 411-calorie serving contains 58 g of protein, which is more than twice the protein found in beef. Chlorella also has massive amounts of vitamin A, and is a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and amino acids. But chlorella shows special promise as a substance that can detoxify the body from radiation and other contaminants. Researchers around the world have studied chlorella, and found evidence that it attaches to radioactive particles and helps flush them from the body. Chlorella is also associated with increased production of spleen stem cells and bone marrow.
Remember, be careful to read the labels of any protein you purchase – the way it is raised or produced can have an effect on the quality you will be ingesting. It is always safest to look for proteins that are organic in order to avoid eating food that has been genetically modified or fed genetically modified feed.
For Further Reading: