For the better part, it is believed that unless there is a whole lot of meat included in our diet, we will otherwise suffer from a protein deficiency. This problem becomes more significant when dealing with groups that are vegetarian or vegan in their dietary habits.
But not all groups that eliminate meat consumption from their diet are protein deficient. In fact, there are many other food sources that can provide a good amount of protein to the body without having to rely on meats alone.
One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding adequate protein intake is that most of it needs to come from meat sources. This could not be farther from the truth since protein can also come from plant based foods.
In fact, all the protein that you need is available in a plant based diet without animal products. Plant based protein can be obtained from a variety of foods and are likely to contain fewer health risks.
Animal based proteins, although considered complete proteins also come with high content of fats. When the same amount of protein is taken from plant based foods, not only is there a smaller fat content in them but health risks associated with grain fed animals is also minimized. Typically most of the meat we consume is from animals that are grain fed rather than pasture fed.
In addition including cuts of red meats extensively in our diet has also been linked with various health conditions like increased cholesterol, risk of heart disease and in some cases even cancer. However, one needs to distinguish between processed and non-processed meats.
Processed meats undergo a lot of treatment before being ready for consumption and are packed with additives, preservatives and chemical ingredients. The effects of consuming non processed meats are far different than having processed meats on a regular basis.
But as mentioned earlier, meats are not the only way to include protein in your diet. Plants deserve equal consideration as many can offer excellent supplies of protein. Plant sources like whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, legumes and lentils are all healthy choices. Add to that fruits and vegetables and you have got a good supply of protein into your diet without having to rely on animal products alone.
And if you really want to include meat in your diet, then you don’t have to give everything up but make smart choices instead. Replace red meats with healthier leaner meats and regulate your portion sizes.
Favorite sources of protein can include almonds and green leafy vegetables like parsley, spinach, kale, collards, green cabbage, and arugula. Other choices can be olives, pumpkin seeds, avocados, black beans, broccoli, quinoa, walnuts, and sweet potatoes, just to name a few.