This question gets me pretty fired up (I’m asked this almost daily):
“If you’re not eating meat, where do you get your protein?”
If you’ve been with me awhile or are savvy to the plant-based life, you know that there is protein in broccoli and spinach, but for the majority of the population, especially in North America, there’s a lot of confusion when it comes to the meat thing.
A lot of people think if you don’t eat meat, you will pass out or become weak and frail. Such a myth!
While I don’t advocate a certain diet, I do advocate a certain lifestyle… a lifestyle that is anti-inflammatory. Oh and don’t forget, bad ass. When you are living a healthy life, you can take on the world.
Inflammation leads to disease. Plain and simple.
Animal protein is highly acidic. If you consume a lot of animal protein, over time, your cells become inflamed.
Cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, pain in your joints and having a tough time sleeping or losing weight… all due to inflammation.
How do you know if you are inflamed?
Test yourself with pH strips. Get these from any natural food store (like Whole Foods) or on Amazon.
The typical Standard American Diet (SAD) goes like this:
Breakfast: bacon and eggs
Lunch: chicken salad sandwich
Dinner: steak and potatoes
That’s waaaaay too much meat. I get so worked up because there’s a much better way to fuel your gorgeous body.
Here’s a list of non-animal protein sources:
click image to download
*Info obtained from Eat for Health by Joel Fuhrman, MD.
How can you tell if you are getting enough protein each day?
Use this formula: your body weight x .40 = appr. grams of protein
You can use the handy list above to count up your grams per day.
Take the foods from above and combine to get a protein-packed meal.
For example, a meal (actually a Renewal detox recipe) like this one can fuel any athlete, too:
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ cup peas (fresh or frozen)
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1 tablespoon chopped dill
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Directions: Preheat oven to 350°F. Place pumpkin seeds on baking tray. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside
Good protein: pumpkin seeds (9 grams), peas (9 grams), and chickpeas (15 grams) = 33 grams
Good fat: olive oil and pumpkin seeds
Good carb: beans, herbs, peas
With a little guidance and know how, you can develop anti-inflammatory, plant-based, protein-packed (and delicious!) meals that will keep your belly happy (not to mention slim because meat has a lot of fat) and your muscles lean and strong.
Just take a look at these fierce vegan athletes… no meat involved!
Rich Roll is a top ultra-endurance athlete (he participated in the UltramanWorld Championships in Hawaii-
“Rich has been a top finisher at the 2008 and 2009 Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii. Considered by many to be one of world’s most daunting and grueling endurance races on the planet, Ultraman is a 3-day / 320 mile double-ironman distance triathlon that circumnavigates the entire Big Island. Limited to only 35 carefully selected invitation-only participants from all over the world, Day 1 involves a 6.2 mile ocean swim immediately followed by a 90 mile cross-country cycling race. Day 2 is a 170 mile cycling race. And the event culminates on Day 3 with a 52 mile double marathon run on the searing hot lava fields of the Kona coast.”
Whoa. I also really dig his popular podcast. AND his story is inspiring… a former drug and alcohol addict, he struggled and was overweight before he transformed his life with eating plants and working out.
AND Brendan Brazier is someone I adored for years. He’s an ultramarathoner and triathlete. His book, Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life, is my bible as a triathlete and plant-based lover. He goes into depth on how to maximize recovery using plants instead of meat.
Oh, and read The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, PhD. Do it now if you haven’t already. There’s tons of research on the harmful effects of an inflammatory diet (animal protein, especially dairy) in this book that will shock you.
Here are a few take-aways from The China Study:
“Animal protein promotes the growth of cancer. In multiple, peer-reviewed animal studies, researchers discovered that they could actually turn the growth of cancer cells on and off by raising and lowering doses of casein, the main protein found in cow’s milk.
Researchers also wanted to see how things played out on humans. Bullet-proof findings state that people who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease. People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest.”
Okay, my dears, you are armed with tons of proof next time you are asked, “But where do you get your protein? ” Share this article and spread the plant-based love… it can save a life!
PS. If meat is a part of your world, totes cool. Try to do a Meatless Monday and only go for it 3-4 times a week. I promise you this… you will notice a BIG difference in how you feel and look not to mention save you tons of money on future medical bills. 🙂
What do you say?
Where to you get your protein?
Share with me in the comments below so we can learn from each other.
PS. LIVE group for Raw Renewal 7 Day Detox is happening July 23rd!
Animal protein isn’t the only acidic thing to think about. Caffeine, sugar, processed low-fat stuff, gluten, and dairy also cause inflammation.
If you’re not signed up yet and are looking for a fresh start, take a look at my popular detox program (a.k.a. the “I can eat!” cleanse) and join us for the LIVE group on July 23rd.
You’ll be feeling energized, clear, light (especially in the tummy), and all-around healthy and clean with Raw Renewal! I’ve been leading this detox program now for over 5 years and the response is amazing! AND you’ll get tons of protein in your meals, too!
Photo credit: Suni Photography