Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How do you get your protein? blah blah blah

One farmer says to me, "You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make the bones with;" and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying himself with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle. ~Henry David Thoreau

How many times is it asked of vegetarians, How do you get your protein? Ughhh, blah, blah, blah...The brainwashing that goes on with our food by big business is amazing. Really, you don't think in a day, you can get enough protein in your meals to sustain your body functions? Look at the table below. Listed are just a few of the ways in which a non-meat eater can provide their body with enough protein to build muscles and sustain life. The average woman ages 11-50 needs approximately 45g of protein a day. There are many different types of proteins that work in the body for different functions.

Sources of protein (single servings)
Chick peas ( 7oz) 16.0g
Brown rice ( 7oz) 4.4g
1 Carrot 0.4g
Baked beans ( 8oz) 11.5g
Broccoli ( 3½oz) 3.1g
1 Apple 0.3g
Tofu ( 5oz) 10.3g
Potatoes ( 7oz) 2.8g
Cow's milk (½ pint) 9.2g
Lentils ( 4¼oz) 9.1g
Soya milk (½ pint) 8.2g
Muesli ( 2¼oz) 7.7g
Egg, boiled 7.5g
Peanuts ( 1oz) 7.3g
Bread, (2 slices) 7.0g
Hard cheese ( 1oz) 6.8g

Being vegetarian does not mean your diet will be lacking in protein. Most plant foods contain protein and in fact it would be very difficult to design a vegetarian diet that is short on protein. Excess dietary protein may lead to health problems. It is now thought that one of the benefits of a vegetarian diet is that it contains adequate but not excessive protein.

Proteins are made up of smaller units called amino acids. There are about 20 different amino acids, eight of which must be present in the diet. These are the essential amino acids. Unlike animal proteins, plant proteins may not contain all the essential amino acids in the necessary proportions. However, a varied vegetarian diet means a mixture of proteins are consumed, the amino acids in one protein compensating for the deficiencies of another.

Contrary to popular belief, athletes and those who engage in a lot of exercise do not necessarily need extra protein as the extra energy required for strenuous activity is best supplied by carbohydrates. The extra protein needs of a body builder can usually be supplied by an increased energy intake from more food.

Whilst vegetarian diets usually meet or exceed protein requirements, they are typically lower in total intake of protein than non-vegetarian diets. This lower protein intake may well be beneficial as high protein intake has been associated with osteoporosis and aggravating poor or failing kidney functioning. So the next time someone asks you, "If you're a vegetarian, how do you get your protein?"ask them, "Really?"

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