Monday Myth—No Meat = Not Enough Protein

Myth: A plant-based diet does not provide enough protein.
Is this true or a myth that’s been repeated so often that people think it’s true?

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Food is good and is one of the basic pleasures of life.

Good food can make a bad day better. It can enhance celebrations and make them even better. It can provide a time to have conversations with others that won’t happen unless food is involved.

But most important food is meant to provide our bodies with energy to live.

So it’s interesting that a lot of what we put in our bodies does the exact opposite. It doesn’t provide energy—it takes energy. It doesn’t provide health—it kills our health.

I’ve always had an interest in eating well and that has intensified after being injured, especially after hearing this advice:

I’m a creature of habit and I had a killer sweet tooth… so the process of changing my eating habits from the traditional high-fat, high-sugar, beige-colored PA Dutch diet has been slow… but bite by bite, I made progress.

One major change I made was in my protein sources. I’d never been a big meat eater, though I generally had my fair share. But as I researched healthy diets around the world, it soon became clear that most had little or no meat in their diet. I began questioning the pros and cons of eating meat.

But having heard no meat = not enough protein many times, I wondered if I could omit meat from my diet without hurting my body or my running. Thanks to good advice from various places, especially No Meat Athlete, a terrific website about eating a plant-based diet, I decided to go without eating meat for one month to see how I feel.

That was in January, 2010 … and I haven’t eaten any meat since.

Except for a time or two*, when I had a mouthful of something before I realized it had meat in it. (What’s up with putting bacon in vegetable dip?)  I felt so good  after that one month, I had no desire to eat meat again. The only dish I miss sometimes is creamed dried beef over biscuits.  (my PA dutch readers will know what that is)

My family supports my decision and agrees it’s healthier to eat less meat, but they don’t want to give it up totally. Since I’m the primarily cook at my house, I still cook with meat for them, but I’ve changed most of their meals to include less meat. And I put up with banter about my diet, including being called an odd vegetarian because while I don’t eat animals, but I don’t really like them either.

It’s now almost two years and I continue to have more energy, along with being less moody. Since April I’ve run 3 half-marathons (13.1 miles) and many shorter races and my beat-up body feels better than ever. My main protein sources are beans, nuts and some dairy.

The truth is with a little effort, a plant-based diet can provide enough protein.

I could link to numerous websites that provide proof, but to keep things simple I’m going to default to No Meat Athlete. No Meat Athlete was founded by Matt Frazier and in a search for his own health and to educate others, Matt has searched the internet (not quite to the end, but almost) and other resources, so why should I (or you) do all that work?

Actually when I first started reading No Meat Athlete, I’d check his information with other sources. With time, I realized he was spot-on almost all the time. He’s also willing to honestly deal with issues that could happen with a plant-based diet. Susan Lacke, a frequent guest poster on the site, recently wrote about a protein deficiency scare she had because she wasn’t putting enough thought into making sure she ate well.

So if going vegetarian is something that has interested you, but the protein issue has nagged you, know that it can be done. Start by reading this link-loaded page:

How to Go Vegetarian

Vegetarian might not be your style, but check out the page below for healthy eating advice. It contains vital-easy-to-use information about how to switch from the typical unhealthy diet to a healthier diet, complete with grocery shopping information, recipes and more.

The Only Healthy Eating Guide You’ll Ever Need

 

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What other health-related myths might we believe? 
Have you been able to translate your desire to eat healthy into actually eating healthy? 

 

*The first few months, I had salmon a few times, but then decided to quit eating fish also. 
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