So can you guess what the #1 question is that I get when I tell someone I don’t eat meat or dairy??
Where Do You Get Your Protein?!
Check out this video to see me answer the question:
Keep reading to get more detailed information 🙂
It’s funny to me every time someone says this. It’s almost a “canned” response programmed in people’s brains. Then I ask a question in return; “How much protein does a person need?” No one seems to know, despite their belief that getting “enough” animal protein is essential to being healthy.
So my short answer is: fruits and vegetables. Keep reading to see exactly how 🙂
Yep, that’s it. Fruits and vegetables have more than enough protein to healthily sustain a human and a cow and a gorilla and an elephant and a buffalo…you get the point. As long as a person eats enough calories, there is no problem.
This is what some people have said to me: “You can’t survive on fruits & vegetables, they don’t have enough protein.” & “I’ve heard lettuce has basically no nutritional value.”
So, why does everyone think we need high amounts of animal protein to survive???
Why do so many people think this?
Short answer: Meat & Dairy Industry Media Marketing.
I’ll start by reminding you of how many commercials you see for beef, chicken, eggs, yogurt, cheese, and milk that tell you it’s nutritionally essential to eat these foods in order to get enough protein.
Then I’ll add that these advertising entities are profiting businesses, seeking any way possible to get you the consumer to purchase their product and make them more money. Their interest is not in your health, but in their pocketbook. Plain and simple.
But wait, what about what my Doctor says?
Your doctor most likely tells you to eat lean meat & low fat dairy as part of a balanced healthy diet.
What your doctor isn’t telling you is that eating no meat or dairy would be better for you, but because of societal pressures and personal habits that are hard to break, they won’t tell you that because they know that 99% of you won’t change your diet for health. Sad but true.
My husband’s doctor finally admitted that to us AFTER we changed our diet and saw positive results. Interestingly, prior to our change, he had told my husband that unless he was a zealot about his diet, it wouldn’t make much difference in his cholesterol or overall health, so we initially didn’t change anything. We didn’t really know at the time what he meant by that, but AFTER we changed our diet ON OUR OWN and went back to him for test results to prove the positive results of the diet change, he told us that what he meant by zealot was exactly what we were doing with our diet. AKA Eating Mostly Plants. He also told us the reason he didn’t tell people to change their diet is because he, “Can’t even get people to go for a walk, let alone make significant dietary changes”, so for most people he prescribes medication for their high cholesterol, high blood pressure… etc.
So, it’s NOT that doctors don’t know that eating fruits and vegetables is better, it’s that they know that the majority of our society won’t change their diet enough to make a real difference. AKA – “here, go fill this prescription”.
So ask yourself, “How many adults do I know that don’t take ANY prescription drugs?”
Now ask yourself, “How many adults do I know that limit or eliminate their meat & dairy intake and eat mostly fruits and vegetables?”
Can you see my point?
Diabetes, Heart Disease, Strokes, Cancer, High Cholesterol, & Obesity – ARE ALL LIFESTYLE DISEASES. They are affected by what we eat, how we treat our bodies, how much sleep we get, how much stress is in our life, and how much we exercise.
But this is GOOD NEWS, because we have control over all of those things!! I’ve been able to improve my health by changing these things, and YOU CAN TOO!
So how much protein do we really need?
In Dr. Graham’s book, “The 80/10/10 Diet”, he explains the reason behind the ideal nutritional ratio of 80% calories from carbohydrates, 10% calories from protein, and 10% calories from fat.
Ideally, we would only need, at the most, 10% of our caloric intake to come from protein. Based on an average 2000 calorie per day diet, that would mean eating approximately 50 grams of protein per day. This might seem like a small number if you have been raised on the Standard American Diet (SAD), but here are some more resources that agree with this number:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the recommended dietary allowance for adult women is 46 grams of protein per day, and for adult men is 56 grams of protein per day.
“What do you think about when you hear the word protein? Maybe it’s an ad for some protein shake that promises massive muscles? Or is it the last high-protein diet craze you read about? With all this talk about protein, you might think Americans were at risk for not eating enough. In fact, most of us eat more protein than we need. Protein is in many foods that we eat on a regular basis.”
“Save your money and don’t buy the protein supplements. If you’re healthy, you probably get all the protein you need from your diet.”
“Rather than just focusing on your protein needs, choose an overall healthy eating plan that provides the protein you need as well as other nutrients.”
“What if I am a vegetarian?
Because some vegetarians avoid eating all (or most) animal foods, they must rely on plant-based sources of protein to meet their protein needs. With some planning, a vegetarian diet can easily meet the recommended protein needs of adults and children.”
Macronutrient recommendations for protein are 46 grams per day for women, and 56 grams per day for men. For an average 2000 calorie diet, this comes out to be almost exaclty 10% of daily caloric intake from protein.
Daily recommendations based on a 2,000 calorie diet of protein intake are 50g. This also comes out to be 10% of daily caloric intake.
If you are feeling ambitious, check out this report from the World Health Organization (WHO) that also agrees with 10% daily caloric needs from protein:
So do fruits and vegetables really have enough protein to sustain your 10% caloric needs?
Yes! Let’s look at some examples:
As you can see, plant foods contain more than enough protein to meet our nutritional needs as long as a person eats enough calories.
So the next time you think about protein, you should ask yourself, “Am I getting TOO MUCH Protein??”
Stay tuned for more information on that topic in a future post 🙂
Read my follow-up article Vegan Protein – Can We Get Enough From Plants?
Let’s all get our protein from fruits and vegetables!
Has anyone ever asked you, “Where do you get your protein?”?? Comment below and let us know what your response was 🙂