Sunday, July 30, 2017

It's Not Hard To Be A Vegetarian And Eat Enough Protein!

When people find out I am a vegetarian the first question I get is,  "how do you get enough protein?" Honestly I don't obsess about my protein intake, I try to eat healthy and balanced. The reality is that most people get way too much protein.   Excess protein can be hard on your body just like too much carbohydrates and fat.  It's not hard to meet your protein goals if you're vegetarian and eat balanced and healthy food.  I used to be one of those people that thought you had to have meat to survive and be healthy and have muscle.  I quit eating red meat and pork in my teens and most of my adult life I only ate chicken.  Many years ago I decided to be completely cruelty free and stopped eating chicken and I have never really liked fish so I don't eat that either.  I have also eliminated most dairy from my diet.  So how do I get protein?  I eat a lot of beans, avocados, nuts and the obvious vegetables.  Some of the protein values for the foods that I eat are:

  • Garbanzo and Lima Beans have about 15-18grams per cup
  • 1/4 cup of nuts can contain between 4-10 grams of protein 
  • 1 cup of broccoli or brussel sprouts cooked has 4 grams
  • 5 asparagus spears has 2 grams 
  • 1 medium avocado has 4 grams
  • If I buy bread I usually buy bread fortified with nuts so it contains about 4 grams per slice
  •  1 cup of cooked brown rice has 4 grams, wild rice is 7 grams, quinoa is about 6 grams
The required daily allowance for protein is .8 grams per kg of bodyweight.  For me that would be 49 grams a day if I didn't exercise.  I weight 135 and if you then divide that by 2.2 to get kg and multiply by .8.  They do suggest if you workout it could be beneficial to get more protein then the RDA.  The American College Of Sports Medicine recommends 1.2-2.0 per kg for the athletic person.  That is a pretty big range and I think each person is unique.  The average person working out on a regular basis probably doesn't need a lot over the RDA amount of .8 per kg of bodyweight.  It is super easy to get that without meat products if you consume healthy non-processed foods!  

If you are thinking about becoming vegetarian I would start by reducing the amount of meat you are eating.  A few people I know only eat meat on the weekends.  Some people don't buy it at the store anymore and only eat it when they go out.  Whatever works best for you is important.  If you really like meat it might be tough at first but you need to keep a lot of healthy foods in the house so you don't reach for something unhealthy to fill the gap.  Rather than obsessing on the amount of protein you're eating focus on the health value of your food.  

I don't eat animal products because I want to live a cruelty free life.  I am happy that a benefit of that is that I get to eat healthier foods and feel better.  Red meat is so unhealthy to the human body for so many reasons.  Each week I read a new article about the dangers of red meat. It causes inflammation in the body and if prepared on the grill can be cancerous.  I recently read an article that red meat can increase your risk for Alzheimer's disease.  

If you don't think you can be a vegetarian then maybe try to be a reduceatarian and just reduce the amount of meat you are consuming.  And another thing.....did you know if everyone consumed less meat it would help the environment?  Yes it can!  

Have a Great Day and be Cruelty Free!

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