It’s addicting. It’s comforting. It has been drilled into us that meat is simply a must. We have also been convinced that without it we will never get enough protein to sustain us. Having spent quite a bit of time in the world of body building where chicken and protein shakes abound, I know just how convinced so many are of this.
Although I’m not strictly vegetarian, nor thoroughly convinced that eating meat is a death warrant, I do eat little of it. In comparison to many. And I do enjoy it when I do!
There is much contradiction in the world of “to eat meat or not to eat meat”.
Many of the worlds most prolific minds have been vegetarians. Albert Einstein, Albert Schweitzer, Leonardo Da Vinci, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Charles Darwin, Diogenes, Nikola Tesla, Plato, Socrates, Thomas Edison, Aristotle and Thoreau. Even body builders like Bill Pearl (4 time Mr. Universe!), Jim Morris (Mr. America), and Billy Simmonds. And athletes like Carl Lewis, Joe Namath, Chris Evert, Fiona Oakes and Robert Parish. Even heavyweight arm wrestler Rob Bigwood and strongman Joni Purmonen are vegetarians.
There is also much research that shows diets that include meat, such as Paleo, have many benefits and are completely “healthy”. I mean come on, how many of you have grandparents that lived into ripe old age and ate meat everyday?
I am not going to argue whether you should or should not eat meat here. What I am going to say is that you CAN get plenty of protein in vegetables. And that the majority of your diet should come from vegetables and fruits!
- Alfalfa sprouts – 1.32 grams in 1 cup
- Amaranth leaves – 2.79g in 1 cup
- Artichoke – 3.47g in 1 medium
- Asparagus – 2.16g in 1/2 c
- Bamboo shoots – 1.84g in 1c
- Beets – 1.43g in 1/2c
- Bok Choy – 2.65g in 1c
- Broccoli – 4g in 1/2c
- Brussel Sprouts – 3.98g in 1c
- Butternut squash – 1.84g in 1c
- Cabbage – .95g in 1/2c
- Carrots – .59g in 1/2c
- Cauliflower – 1.14g in 1/2c
- Celeriac – 1.49g in 1c
- Celery – 1.25g in 1c
- Corn – 4.02g in 1 ear
- Cucumber – .34g in 1/2c
- Eggplant – .82g in 1c
- Fennel – 1.08g in 1c
- French beans – 12.48g in 1c
- Green pepper – .64g in 1 small
- Kale – 2.47g in 1c
- Lima beans – 14.66g in 1c
- Mushroom – 1.08g in 1/2c
- Okra – 3g in 1c
- Onion – .82g in 1 small
- Parsnip – 2.06g in 1c
- Peas – 8.58g in 1c
- Potatoes – 4.33g in 1 medium
- Pumpkin – 1.76g in 1c
- Radish – .39g in 1/2c
- Soybeans – 29g in 1c
- Spinach – 5g in 1c
- Spirulina (seaweed) – 64.37g in 1c !!!!
- Spaghetti squash – 1.02g in 1c
- Summer squash (+zucchini) – 1.87g in 1c
- Sweet potato – 2.29g in 1 medium
- Swiss Chard – 3.29g in 1c
- Turnip – 1.11g in 1c
I know what you are thinking….. that’s not very much.
But look at it this way, you ARE getting protein every time you eat them. Even fruits contain protein. And many are not even considering these as sources when trying to determine ratios. I didn’t even get into nuts, seeds and beans.
And check out the heavy hitters in red!
The average person requires between one-third (0.33) and one-half (0.50) of a gram of protein per day for each pound of body weight.
150 pounds x 0.33g = 49.5g per day
150 pounds x 0.50g = 75g per day
200 x 0.33 = 66g per day
200 x 0.50 = 100g per day
When trying to lose weight, increase muscle mass, are extremely active, pregnant, recovering from surgery or when suffering from severe illness such as cancer these ratios tend to increase to 0.65g to 0.80g.
Check out this article about the protein myth on bodybuilding.com
Why does all this matter?
Because many people are consuming vast amounts of animal protein simply because they have been told that they need to! They believe that in order to lose weight, stay healthy and put on muscle they need MORE. But that isn’t the whole truth.
Also, because there are proven negative effects to too much protein intake. And we can only digest 25-30 grams of protein per meal. So if you are packing on the protein thinking you are doing better, you are wasting your time and money. And potentially your health.
Protein is an essential part of our diet that is vital to proper body function and good health! However, it is often very misunderstood. Be sure you are getting enough. And if you have questions seek help.