(c) November 2011, Kathy Fannon
My son's supper, stir-fry veggies. Look at those colors!
Brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, purple potatoes, purple cabbage (I added onion to mine!)
There are all kinds of “-atarians” out there these days: vegetarian, flexatarian, lacto-vegetarian, ovo-vegetarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, chickenatarian, and the list goes on. Oh, and vegan. Veganatarian?
Many of these “-atarians” reflect the non-consumption of animal flesh or animal-produced foods (milk, yogurt, etc). People have asked me where to get their protein if they eliminate meat from their diet.
We’ve all grown up on the typical Western diet, also called S.A.D. (Standard American Diet); meat for breakfast, meat for lunch and meat for dinner. Of course, this is what the cattle ranchers and chicken farmers want us to eat! But all of the meat we eat isn’t necessary.
So where can we get our protein? What are other sources besides meat?
- Legumes: Kidney, pinto, navy, and black beans are an excellent source of protein, as well as fiber. Rice and beans combined create the perfect protein.
- Eggs: Despite what you hear about the cholesterol content, eggs are very good for you. Eat the yolk too! Eggs are loaded with nutrition, especially if you look for the organic, grass-fed variety. Yes, it’s a little more expensive, but if you’re not buying meat, even a higher priced egg will be cheaper per serving. Organic, grass-fed eggs will also be higher in Omega-3!
- Nuts: Don’t fear the fat-factor! Nuts are loaded with protein and the fat they contain is the good-for-you fat. But do be careful not to over eat them; a serving size is about one ounce. Add almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, peanuts, etc to salads, homemade trail mix, rice, quinoa, or just plain by themselves! (I love reheated brown rice with pecan pieces!)
- Vegetables: Did you know that combining three colors of vegetables make a complete protein? An easy way to do this is to have a salad or make an omelet with a variety of vegetables. Leafy greens are a great source of protein as well as magnesium and iron. (Or see the picture above for inspiration, which was filling for my 18-year-old son!)
- Whole Grains: Quinoa, brown rice and oatmeal are a delicious alternative to meat. Be careful of packaging that claims to be “whole grain” as many times they are over-processed; avoid “whole grain” breads and cereals. Quinoa cooks in 10 minutes and is loaded with protein!
Experiment and see what works best for you. Some people feel better when they have a little meat and some discover they feel much better when they eliminate it completely from their diet. But if you choose to eliminate it, be sure to get protein from these other sources.
Are you wondering what those “-atarians” are? I’ll explain in my next post.
Note: if you eliminate animal flesh from your diet, be sure to take a quality B12 supplement. And talk with your doctor about what you are doing!
How do you feel about protein? Are you willing to give up meat for one week to see if you feel different, and try these other sources of protein? Please comment below. I'd love to hear your experience and opinion.