February 25, 2013
We don’t eat meat (98% of the time), have cut way down on dairy (1 grilled cheese sandwich a week and milk in our cereal 2x/week), and try not to eat processed food at all. We try to stick to what grows out of the ground – vegetables, fruit, nuts, beans, seeds, grains…
Go ahead and ask it…you know you want to…
“How do you get your protein?” I asked my vegetarian cousin this only four months before we went plant-based.
Do you know what the term is for protein deficiency? Yeah, me either. Yes, you can Google it but the point is, the reason you don’t know off hand is because we’ve never heard anyone with this problem.
The FDA recommends about 50g of protein/day. A chicken leg (and who only eats one of those?) has 18g of protein. One cup of milk has 8g of protein. One ounce of cheese provids 5g of protein. Who eats one ounce of cheese? Can you see how we are overloaded with protein?
On the other hand, romaine lettuce has 7.7g/head; spinach, asparagus, and broccoli have around 5g/cup; and, of course, beans and nuts are very high in protein. So even eating only a plant-based diet (no meat products), one can easily reach the FDA protein recommendations.
Next? “How do you get your calcium, after all, it is very important for you as a nursing mother to get plenty of calcium!”
Did you know that animal products, including dairy (among other things), actually prevent the body from absorbing calcium? Surprise, surprise – the many advertisements asking if we ‘Got Milk?’ did not really have our health at heart. [I’ll wait for the stunned silence to pass]
A diet high in animal products make your blood acidic. The body always wants to be alkaline; so it pulls calcium from the bones to achieve that alkaline state.
Countries in which people eat/drink more dairy are those countries that also have higher rates of osteoporosis.
On the other hand, beans, nuts, and vegetables are actually great sources of calcium and are more easily absorbable than animal products. Tofu (1/2c) has 227mg of calcium and bok choy is a WONDERFUL source of calcium as it is very low in oxalate (prevents calcium from being absorbed).
Want to know more? Read The China Study. It is fascinating stuff!
I realize eating without animal products seems crazy, impossible, out in left field, etc…but I encourage you to read up on it. It makes a lot of sense and certainly saves a lot on our grocery bills! AND medical bills (imagine – eating vegetables and fruit actually makes one healthy!)
As a side note, I went to the grocery store and the lady checking out asked me, “What do you do with all that kale?!” When I told her some of the ways we eat it (juice, smoothie, creamed), she said, “My niece was a vegetarian…but she was too vegetarian. She got really sick! She wasn’t getting enough protein and vitamins!”
There are two things to note from this conversation:
1. It is possible to be a vegetarian and not eat any fruits and vegetables! My OBGYN told me he is a wine, bread, and cheese vegetarian – certainly not healthy (as the bread he was referring to was refined flour, processed bread). Doing this is NOT healthy.
2. There are some vitamins you need to take if you are going to be on the vegan spectrum of a plant-based diet (not animal products at all). One is B12, which is needed for brain function, I think, but is only found in animal products. There are one or two more I think. We are not completely vegan so I do not worry about it as much (we eat eggs and some dairy every once in a while) Do your research! Make wise choices!
I love what Kris Carr says about food. (paraphrasing here) If it comes from nature/the garden, I’ll eat it. If it comes from a lab, it takes a lab to digest it. If it has a shelf life longer than me, it’s not for me. She was talking about processed food here, not meat, but I am against processed food WAY more than I am against meat or dairy products!!!
Where are you on your food journey? Here are some documentaries I have loved and have helped me see meat, dairy, SUGAR, etc. in the correct light: Forks Over Knives, Food Matters, Vegucated, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.