If you’re transitioning to a plant predominant lifestyle it won’t take long before you’re asked…’Don’t you need to eat meat get your protein?’
We need protein to build & repair muscles and tissues, plus keep our hormones & immune system functioning properly.
So can we get enough protein if we chose not to eat red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy, etc?
One of the largest studies comparing meat-eaters to plant-eaters showed that plant eaters not only got enough protein but 70% more than they needed… AND meat-eaters got nearly 50% of their protein from plants.
Bottom line is that if you’re eating enough calories, you’re getting enough protein.
There used to be a belief that animal protein was superior to plant protein because it contained all the amino acids, the tiny building blocks that makeup protein.
Our body needs 20 amino acids, and can only make 11 of them, so we need to get the other 9 from food.
Animal protein has all the amino acids, AND so do plants. The difference is plants have varying proportions of amino acids – but as long as you eat a variety of plant foods, and not just eat fruit all day, you’ll meet ALL your protein needs.
Another belief is that we need to eat complementary plant proteins, like beans & rice, at the same meal.
We now know this is NOT necessary as amino acids are being continually recycled, so no need worry about eating specific plant proteins at the same meal.
Bottom line… if you ate a day’s worth of calories from brown rice and broccoli you’d get the quality & quantity of protein you need.
However, you should be more concerned about eating too much protein.
Excess protein can result in mild problems like bad breath all the way to heart disease. It can result in constipation and dehydration, due to the body having to flush our excess nitrogen, the by-product of protein metabolism.
Red meat and to a lesser extent other animal products, change our gut microbiome and cause them to produce TMAO, a compound linked to inflammation and heart disease.
The WHO has classified red meat as a Class 2 carcinogen.
On the other hand, ALL plant proteins are low in saturated fat, free of cholesterol, are good sources of antioxidants and phytochemicals, AND come with fiber.
There is NO fiber in any animal products, dairy, eggs, fish or oil.
We know that the amount of fiber in your diet is the biggest predictor of your health because fiber feeds your good gut bacteria with is responsible for 80% of your immunity.
So if you’re transitioning to a plant-predominant lifestyle you do not need to be worried about getting enough protein.
In fact, if you’re a woman over 40 you can revel in the fact that weight loss and improved health are now going to be easier.
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