Who's For Dinner?
I'd like to tell you a beautiful story, full of pretty pictures taken on a peaceful planet that exists in harmony with ALL life forms. Unfortunately, we don't always get what we want. I debated over the use of this photo. I just wanted to expand upon protein alternatives spurred by my last post that gave few examples from a link provided by guest contributor, Kevin Wells. It's not his fault. It is frustrating that for those that want to go meatless a few times a week, or make the complete shift to a vegan or vegetarian diet, the choices don't seem that appealing. The shift isn't helped along if you've been told by a doctor that you MUST avoid animal products but it's not remotely where your head (or stomach) is at. Even if you have no interest whatsoever in giving up meat, PLEASE!!! Make the time to watch the 2018 documentary 'What You Eat Matters' touted as a "life-changing documentary uncovering and revealing the effects of our typical Western diet on our health, the environment and animals." SAD is the term for the typical Western diet (stands for Standard American Diet, very appropriately coined SAD) and really is based on eating whatever tastes good. If you can't give this documentary the consideration it deserves - for your own health as well as for that of the planet we inhabit, at least watch from the minute :55 mark to the end. If you refuse, thinking it will expose the animal cruelty practices so prevalent in the commercial meat industry and you'd rather not know because you couldn't possibly go without your burger, it will illuminate more than anything what is making you sick. Don't believe this? That is just what the industry is banking on, including Big Pharma and many others. There are simple truths contained in the documentary that will come about first, such as a world-wide water shortage with the greatest guzzler award going to grains grown for the sole purpose of raising livestock and the additional consumption of water by said livestock. This is NOT sustainable.
Other little facts from this documentary: dependence on animal protein drives cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and many cancers. Casein, a protein found in milk, promotes ALL STAGES of cancer growth. Osteoporosis is actually LOWER in those who consume no dairy products. Roughly 75% of the world population is lactose-intolerant! What does this tell us (uh, maybe we aren't designed to consume animal milk...)? A plant-based diet can prevent, as well as REVERSE, these health diseases. Even with all the warnings and the fact that we now have more information than ever on sound nutrition practices, we still eat so poorly. In my opinion, this says: We are selfish and completely run by our taste buds, and too lazy to work on other options because we only care about the moment and what we have grown addicted to. And so willing to turn a blind eye to the damage, pain, and consequences, on so many levels, that our choices cause.
I hope your response is not to say "I don't want to know!" Remember, it's not just about what it really takes to put meat on your table. YOUR HEALTH IS ALSO AT SERIOUS RISK. Become informed about the practices that are allowed to happen before your right to know has been silenced. Many states already have Ag-gag laws in place, penalizing whistle-blowers who document the activity of these institutions. Not only do they not want you to know how the animals are treated, they don't want you to know about the lengthy list of growth hormones, antibiotics and steroids in use and why these are 'necessary'; in fact, over 70% of antibiotics produced are used by the meat industry!
With all of this being laid out for you, I will return to the main topic which is alternative protein sources. We have been conditioned to think of meat as the essential part of mealtime, with vegetable sources making up the 'sides' while in reality, this concept was introduced in 1992 as The Food Pyramid by - who else - the USDA. You don't think they have a huge interest in the meat industry? In addition, the status of protein in our diets is considerably loftier than it deserves. While it certainly is important, it is not necessary in the quantities typically conveyed by mainstream sources, and can be found in adequate amounts in many plant sources. In fact, excess protein consumed beyond what the body immediately needs at one meal will only be wasted, with the excess amino acids being excreted and the additional calories stored as fat.
The following foods are not listed in order of greatest protein content, nor is it a comprehensive list. I have purposely not included dairy forms of protein or eggs.
Nutritional Yeast. Has a delicious nutty, almost cheesy flavor. Comes in powder or flake form, or tablet.
Lentils. I personally love the red variety.
Seitan. Made from vital wheat gluten. Not an issue for those who do not have celiac disease. Stick with non-GMO and organic brands.
Tempeh. Fermented tofu and again, non-GMO & organic.
Hemp seed. Yummy! And oh so versatile!
Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds.
Nuts and nut butters. Use in moderation due to fat content.
Quinoa. Another super versatile seed.
Black soy beans. Not only higher in protein than some meats and any other type of bean, it is also VERY low in carbohydrates!
Most beans. I love to make black bean soup - check the diet/recipe gallery under the Fierce Resources tab for my favorite recipe for this: https://www.fiftyfierce.com/blank-voosm?lightbox=dataItem-ikd9pvpt
Broccoli, spinach, green beans, artichokes, asparagus.
Tofu. If you are concerned about the debate over cancer and tofu, please refer to my post: https://www.fiftyfierce.com/single-post/2016/06/12/12-Foods-Your-Cat-Wants-You-To-Eat
There are endless ways to prepare these foods and I have fooled many people, many times, making a meal vegetarian-based. Hey - good food is good food! There are also many meatless meat products to choose from - a few of my faves are Gardein brand Meatless Meat Balls and Beef-less Ground, and Field Roast Grain 'Meats' - these are pretty darn good.
Be aware of protein powders as they will most likely contain casein or whey and oftentimes, sucralose. One of my favorite companies to use for great protein powders is Naked Nutrition. They carry pretty clean products, including vegan proteins. Pricey but you're worth it, right? If you are a meat eater and get cramps after consuming your protein powder drinks, you may be reacting to the casein or whey (dairy proteins...) and may fare better with a vegetable protein. It is NOT an inferior protein!
Keep an eye out for my next post. I will be sharing another transformation, this time on Jeanette Martin. We competed together in the NPC First Call-out and you will be completely blown away by her new look! She also will share how she achieved her amazing physique - at 52 years of age!