September 8, 2009

“I must eat Steak.” “Sushi may have mercury, but I gotta have it.” Vegan, Vegetarian sources of Protein.

Update: Soy? Nah.

“I was vegetarian for years, but I’m really active and I just felt better eating meat and/or fish.”

If I’ve heard it once, esp here in my hometown of Boulder, Colorada, I’ve heard it a hundred times. But is it true?

With thanks to Lindsay Nixon. Excerpt (read her whole post for more info on how much protein we need):

…What are protein sources?
Protein is commonly associated with meat, eggs and dairy products but these foods are not the only sources of protein nor are they necessarily the best sources for protein. Protein is found in every food. Fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds and legumes all contain protein. It is impossible to become protein deficient eating a well-balanced vegan diet, largely due to the fact the body needs very little protein to perform. For example, one cup of black beans contains 15.2 grams of protein (roughly 30.5% of the daily value for protein), plus approximately 74.8% of the daily value for fiber. The total calories for a cup of black beans is only 227 calories and there is virtually no fat. Similarly, 100 calories of spinach contains more protein than 100 calories of steak. Like black beans, spinach also delivers a boost of fiber, anti-cancerous properties and iron for only a small amount of calories and no fat. Steak on the other hand, which not only provides less protein and no fiber, it also contains fat and harmful cholesterol.

Another powerhouse protein food is quinoa, a grain. Quinoa is not only high in protein, but it is also a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. Vegans and vegetarians concerned with protein intake should incorporate this healthy grain into their meals. Quinoa is also a good source of magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorous and is well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair.

Cooked soybeans also rank 10th on the World’s Healthiest Foods Containing Protein List beating out eggs including egg whites, all dairy and most meats. In the nutritional community, soybeans are regarded as equal in protein quality to animal foods. One cup of soybean provides approximately 57.2% of the daily value for protein for less than 300 calories and with only 2.2 grams of saturated fats. Studies have also shown that soy helps reduce cholesterol levels while consumption of animal proteins makes cholesterol levels rise. Soy is also rich in iron, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids. Soy can also be found in a variety of forms such as soy milk, soy yogurt, soy cheese, soy ice cream, tempeh, meat substitutes, miso, soy protein powder and tofu. Mustard greens, artichokes, corn, lentils, nuts, seeds, meat substitutes, hot cereals and other beans are also excellent sources of dietary protein...read the rest of Lindsay’s article here.

With thanks for the tip to Twitterland:

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riverwhy Oct 5, 2012 1:24pm

William Harryman (and others)make some good points about nutrition missing in the article. I agree with all of them. And I just want to remind those of us who eat meat that we can do so without becoming defensive and more importantly that we don't disregard the importance of facing the huge moral, environmental and health issues associated with the toxic and cruel factory farm industry. Please don't become hardened to this issue as it affects all of our lives – whether you are a meat eater or vegan. What is most important is to find common ground so we can humanely change the way we eat on this planet. Everyone wants whole healthy food, and I believe most if not all people want to treat all life( wild and domesticated animals as well) with dignity, respect, even love. We can solve these problems if we really want to by listening to whats behind the words and not getting defensive. We want healthy food, and we want to make the best choices for our own health. Can we do this while still allowing people choice, protecting and sustaining the environment for all life forms – not just humans? Our planet and it's beautiful life forms all deserve dignity and a chance at a healthy happy life. Can we have what we want without sacrificing or changing something?

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