Protein, Meat or Meatless?
The nationwide trend of getting enough protein in our diets has led to an increased consumption of protein-enriched sports drinks, shakes, powders, bars and foods. This is by far one of the largest nutritional trends that our society has ever seen.
So, why protein?
It’s simple. Protein is a building block for your body! It plays a vital role in building, repairing and maintaining healthy muscles, bones, cartilage, skin and blood. Moreover, protein is used to make your body’s hair, nails, hormones, enzymes and certain necessary chemicals. Protein that supports these bodily needs can be found in the food items listed above as well as animal meats like fish, poultry, beef and pork and animal-based products like eggs, milk, cheese and yogurt. These are some of the most recognized ways to get protein in our diets. But, is it the best way?
According to The Telegraph, the average American eats 120 kg of meat a year, ranking USA #1 in the world in animal meat consumption. In contrast, countries like Bangladesh, India and Burundi average less than 5.3 kg of meat consumption per year. In the 2016 Documentary FOOD CHOICES, Dr. Pamela Popper, PHD, ND Diet Expert and Founder of The Wellness Forum, points out that there is a direct link between animal product consumption and obesity, cancer and heart disease. WOW! So how do we get protein without increasing our individual likelihood of such chronic diseases?Well, a common thread found in cultures that limit or avoid meat or animal products is a lifestyle choice called vegetarianism. A vegetarian is a person who does not eat meat and often times other animal products like dairy, eggs, etc. Sometimes this can be due to religious reasons, moral beliefs and/or health factors. Not to be bogged down by the detailed definitions or reasons, it is made clear through other societal norms that protein can in fact come from various sources other than animal foods. So, let’s take a quick look at some of my favorite non-Animal based protein foods:
But still, giving up meat and/or animal products altogether may not be your personal goal and can actually be rather tricky. So maybe you want to begin by giving a few meatless alternatives a try. Here are a couple of my go-to meatless meal recipes (but high in protein).