I am a lifelong vegetarian. Frequently I come across people who say that they understand the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle but are concerned that they cannot get enough protein. They are especially worried about kids turning vegetarian. If my health is not a testament that vegetarian food is just as rich in protein as meats, read below. Hopefully it will give you the courage and comfort to investigate vegetarian living.
A FEW FACTS ABOUT PROTEIN THAT YOU PERHAPS DIDN’T KNOW
It is easier to meet our minimum daily protein requirements than most people would imagine… with just fruits and vegetables. Because much of what experts once believed about protein has been proven incorrect, U.S. government recommendations on daily protein consumption have been reduced from 118 grams to 46 to 56 grams in the 1980’s to the present level of 25 to 35 grams. The human body recycles 70 percent of its protein waste, and our body loses only about 23 grams of protein a day. Many nutritionists now feel that 20 grams of protein a day is more than enough, and warn about the potential dangers of consistently consuming much more than this amount. The average American consumes a little over 100 grams of protein per day. We all know that protein is an essential nutrient, but what most of us have not been told is that excessive amounts of indigestible protein can be hazardous to our health.
100 calories of ground beef has 10 grams of protein while 100 calories of fresh baby spinach has 12 grams. Per calorie, spinach does have more protein than ground beef.
It has been known for decades that populations consuming high-protein, meat-based diets have higher cancer rates and lower life-spans (averaging as low as 30 to 40 years), compared to cultures subsisting on low-protein vegetarian diets (with average life-spans as high as 90 to 100 years).
Eating meat — or protein in general — does not give you strength, energy or stamina. One of the easiest ways to dispel the theory that meat is required for strength is to look at the animal kingdom. It is herbivores such as cattle, oxen, horses and elephants that have been known for strength and endurance. What carnivore has ever had the strength or endurance to be used as a beast of burden?
SO WHAT DO YOU DO
1> How much protein do you really need? Use this calculator
2) realize that a low fat, raw veggie diet that meets your calorie requirements will supply sufficient protein, even when only 10% of your total calories come from protein.
3) Eat enough veggies, fruits and nuts to meet your calorie need. The body will adjust to get the protein it needs.
Source: Multiple including http://www.waoy.org, healthy eating