Having been in the muscle business for over 35 years, I have watched the protein argument change as quickly as the food industry itself. With news of toxins in meats, heart disease, and other disease caused by obesity, people are looking more seriously at plant based nutrition. How much protein do you actually NEED to be healthy? ... ("Healthy" use your own interpretation) ... The USDA recommends .36 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. Can you get everything you need from plant protein? Yes. With the right combinations of food, you can. If you want to stop eating meat, you should evaluate your own personal needs according to your gender, age, activity level, and more. In the beginning, before you start eating anything that you want that isn't meat, I recommend talking to a nutritionist about how to combine proteins, and balance your weekly intake including a 7 day meal plan. I think that you can balance calories better. You don't have to include EVERY vitamin at EVERY meal. When you look at the food pyramid, you're overwhelmed thinking that you need to eat everything in sight. Not true. If you get enough protein at breakfast, for instance, you can focus on getting the rest of your nutrients in your other meals or snacks as the day progresses.
A Controversial Researcher named T. Colin Campbell has performed the most comprehensive research on nutrition through his notorious China Study and now teaches a Plant-Based Nutrition Certification Program online through eCornell. His book, The China Study,details his research about protein and disease. I'm not sure why I would refer to Dr. Campbell or his research as controversial other than the fact that many other researchers disagree with his research based philosophies which are; "People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease ... People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease. These results could not be ignored," said Dr. Campbell. If you're supplementing a vegan or vegetarian diet with amino supplementation and want non-animal proteins, be sure that the bottle is specifically labeled Vegan or Vegetarian. Often, eggs and milk products are called something else on the bottle.
How much and what types of protein, and how much you ingest and utilize should be your main focus in your physical performance in life. I can't stress enough how you've got to get it right. This is worth the cost of a professional consult. My solution to the protein question? Beans, beans, homemade hummus instead of margarine on everything, mashed pinto beans in burritos, quinoa muffins, seeds, nuts, and other soy supplements.
Checkout The China Study. Decide for yourself.
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