Many people who are considering becoming a vegan or vegetarian, worry about nutrition. One of the worries associated with a vegetarian diet is a potential lack of protein. The truth is, done properly; a vegetarian diet has all the potential to be a much healthier diet than the meat based diet.
Positive health benefits include lowered cholesterol levels, benefits to heart health and rheumatoid arthritis, gout, digestive problems, premature ageing and many other conditions. I will now explain how you can fully satisfy your protein needs with a vegan and vegetarian diet, and share secrets how you can make the most of this ideal diet.
What Are Proteins?
So far, what we know about proteins is that they are the physical building material of the body; the bricks and mortar so to speak. So, naturally they are needed for bodybuilding and repair. But how are the building blocks, the protein, made? The most fascinating fact is that each body needs to make their own protein. Just as we can’t take somebody else’s building and put it on our plot (we have to dismantle the building first and use the individual building blocks to build our own house), we can’t take somebody’s flesh and make it our own. Because each person has their unique proteins, we can’t use ingested proteins from somebody else’s flesh directly. Instead, our bodies need to put in substantial effort to break it down into the individual components (clay and shale in the case of bricks) and then use the individual components (amino acids in the case of protein) to produce our very own body specific protein.
Amino’s The Body Can Make:
This means we can now shift our discussion away from ingesting somebody else’s unique protein in form of their flesh, and aim to obtain the components with which we can make our very own body type specific protein (the amino acids). This will save our bodies from substantial digestive work and it opens the possibility for reducing or cancelling meat from the diet. Amino acids are the components of protein just as clay and shale are the components of bricks. Another most fascinating fact is that aminos can be made by our body and those are not even part of our discussion. Here are the amino acids our body can make: alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine and tyrosine.
Essential To Be In The Diet Aminos:
However, there are some Aminos, which need to be eaten. Hence, they are called dietary essential amino acids. The essential aminos are: arginine (required for the young, but not for adults), histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
The good news is that all plants contain some sort of amino acid combinations and amino acids are not something that is terribly hard to come by at all. What is more, it is thought that they do not need to be ingested in the same meal either and can be ingested over a period of time.
A great and fascinating fact is that some plants even contain ALL amino acids. Others contain various amino acid combinations. So there is a choice to either include those plants with all amino acids regularly – or ensure you consume a variety of plants, which will provide all the amino acids.
Interesting to note is that some of the most muscular and strongest animals on this planet, which incidentally do not consume flesh, manage to body build quite substantially on plant based amino acids. This is a reminder that the building blocks of life, the amino acids, are available in abundance in plants. These animals are: Elephant, Cow, Buffalo, Giraffe and Orang Utan. Many athletes and body-builders have spoken up in favour of a plant-based diet showing off their fitness level and their muscular bodies too.
What Is A Health Vegetarian/Vegan Diet?
It cannot be stressed enough that a varied diet is really healthy whether you are a meat eater, a vegetarian or a vegan, and this includes fresh fruits and vegetables daily as a matter of priority. And variety also ensures intake of a great variety of Aminos.
Studies have shown that non-organic food can contain cancer-causing residues and GMO modified food, and animal feed can give rise to cancer. If you are consuming any animal products, including dairy make it organic as animals are legally fed on a GMO diet. Organic is much better for you and better for the future of our children’s environment, as intensive farming ruins the planet and causes much short and long term suffering in the world. Although organic animal products are a bit more expensive, this can be your charitable donation towards the welfare of the animals, sustainability of the planet and an investment in your long-term health.
Appendix: Amino Acids
Strategy A is to specifically include amino acid rich plants in your diet, and strategy B can be to stick to a variety of plants, which will provide you with all the amino acids you need for protein production.
Foods containing all Amino Acids, i.e. complete proteins (all are gluten free)
Hemp Seeds & Hemp Milk – Seeds can be used in banana or almond smoothies or in baking such as muffins.
Quinoa – Example: can be used as rice, or boiled with rice, can be used cold in salads, can be baked, sprouted and thereby consumed in a semi-raw state. Cooks loose and fluffy and is non-stick.
Amaranth – A gluten free grain. The tiny poppy seed-size “grain” was a staple of the Aztecs and Mayans. Can be added to rice, soups and stews. Makes a sticky grain porridge.
Soy – Soy milk and tofu is made from soy beans. Huge quality difference exists with tofu, made from soy bean. Soy beans can be bought fresh and frozen like a bag of peas. Tofu can be used like scrambled eggs, or fried or boiled. Soya milk can be added to smoothies.
Buckwheat – The most famous are buckwheat blinis, but buckwheat pancakes are super delicious and go well with orange.
Chia Seeds – have the ability to thicken a liquid, so help make puddings or sauces.
Dairy – Eggs, Milk, Cheese, Yoghurt. If you are considering vegetarianism but if you are looking animal free die then the vegan diet is the one for you.
Strategy B) Include a variety of plants in your diet, including cultural food combinations adding up to ingesting all amino acids:
Rice and Beans (Dhal) or grains – Most beans are low in methionine and high in lysine, while rice is low in lysine and high in methionine. They make a perfect combination and are eaten as a food staple in many countries, including India, or fermented beans such as Nato in Japan. Beans on wholemeal toast in England qualify too.
Whole Wheat (cereal) and milk – although milk has received really bad health press and should be avoided if possible. If you are not avoiding milk on occasion, then you must choose organic.
Sweet corn & Kidney Beans – Sweet corn contains all essential amino acids and kidney beans lack in methionine. They are a great Mexican combination.
Whole Wheat and Peanut Butter – wheat/rice are deficient in lysine but chickpeas have plenty of lysine.
Hummous and Pitta – wheat/rice are deficient in lysine but chickpeas have plenty of lysine.
Rather than being concerned about a lack of protein, one should instead be concerned with a genuine lack of nutrients and presence of undesirables in the diet. These undesirables are refined sugar and toxic pollution. This can be the problem associated with a non-balanced diet and containing large amounts of packaged food. I would encourage everybody to rely mainly on fresh organic food and home cooking.
Traditional home cooking doesn’t include a wide variety of vegan recipes, which are delicious, healthy and nutritious. So if you do want to switch to a vegan or vegetarian diet, it is worth researching and studying new recipes, which can help on the vegetarian/vegan journey. Everybody, including meat eaters, can suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Include organic kitchen herbs and fresh organic greens into your diet is paramount to achieving a balanced diet.