Thinking Beyond Chicken and Beef: A Nutritional Resume That Meats Can’t Match
Throughout our history, people have mainly based their diet various kind of meat, depending on the region they were living in. However, a couple of last decades, more people have been considering a change in diet that is mostly based on vegetables, fruits and different kinds of cereals. Reasons are various, but it can be narrowed down to a healthier and more nutritious diet and a decision to stop the animal cruelty.
Some people may argue that there is no fitting substitution for chicken, beef, and pork in a matter of protein intake that our bodies need. However, more and more studies all over the world show that it is possible to have an incredibly nutritious diet without mostly relying on meat. How is this possible?
The power of plants
Some countries are changing their attitude towards the share plants should have in our everyday life. In Belgium, vegetables and plants such as nuts, tofu or legumes are placed highly in the food pyramid than they were before, while dairy, eggs, chicken, and beef, that is, the animal-based food ended up below vegetables. Processed meats and fried foods, naturally, are recommended to be eaten as less as possible. In short, the moto has become “Eat less meat, and more plants.”
As an increasing number of people have been turning to plants as the basis of their diet, there has been more research done on the presence of protein in their organisms. In Finland, a study has been done that showed that men who opted for plant protein have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes (about 35%) than men who eat meat in search of proteins. The secret is in abundance of protein in nearly all vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains.
The importance of proteins
And why are proteins one of the essential components of any discussion on a healthy diet? Well, the first question to be answered to is how much protein on daily basis we actually need. The RDA recommendations for protein intake are that we should take in 0.8 grams of protein per each kilogram of our weight. So, the point is that we do not need a lot of proteins in order to be healthy. Out of 10 calories that we eat, only 1 of them should be protein.
And let us understand the significance of protein in our bodies – it is one of the essential nutrients that help our bodies perform their functions. The short answer would be – they are significant for almost everything that happens in our bodies. A bit more detailed answer would be:
– many of the hormones in our bodies are actually proteins
– some of them help transport oxygen to the cells
– some of them are important for cellular repair
– there are several of them that connect and transport other nutrients throughout our bodies
– some of them make us able to move
– they carry our genetic code
– they are comprising parts of our bones, skin and other structures.
The list goes on and on, but this helps you see the bigger picture – we can help ourselves with the appropriate protein intake by concentrating on plants rather than on meat. And the results will be far better than expected.
Going vegan or vegetarian – why not?
There are more and more vegan-based recipes on the Internet popping out – it’s not a coincidence because many people have permanently switched to this type of diet and their share their recipes on the web. Becoming a vegan or vegetarian doesn’t need to worry you – you would still get all the nutrients that you need, in the amount you need, but under one condition – your diet has to be planned accordingly.
Proteins are actually various amino acids, so the secret of a healthy vegan or vegetarian diet is to eat a variety of seeds, grains, vegetables and nuts on a daily basis because if one type of food is poor in a specific amino acid, another type that you eat will make up for it.
Remember – if going fully vegan or vegetarian is too much for you, you can always eat some meat from time to time, in rational amounts. Every person is different and you don’t need to change your eating habits completely, just base the majority of your diet on plants.
Things to take care of if you go vegan(-ish)
Of course, you can’t turn into a vegan in a day. As any diet, this one has needs some steps to take so that you can maximize the positive effects and not endanger your health in any way:
1. Consult a dietitian
A consultation with a dietitian specialized in a plant-based diet is necessary, especially if you are a picky eater or you are too sensitive to some food that is essential to your new diet. When the dietitian has the complete list of food you can and want to eat, they can determine if you need to take high-quality true protein powder instead of some plants and what is the right type and amount of plants that your body need.
2. Plan ahead
Sometimes it’s hard to follow our diet if we are at an event that isn’t plant-based or we don’t have the time to look for a vegan restaurant. That’s when planning ahead pays out. Always carry a vegan protein bar can with you, so you don’t stay hungry or without some important nutrients.
3. Get vegan cookbooks
People often get stuck in a rut with the same recipes day after day – that’s why it’s smart to invest in good vegan cookbooks. You will never run out of ideas, no matter how long you have been on a plant-based diet.
A plant-based diet is a true revolution of today. There are still experts who are not completely sure of its numerous benefits, but the evidence is here. After all – try out and check out yourself – less, meat, more plants, and a healthy life is within your reach.
Author Bio: Victoria is a lifestyle writer with expertise in scribbling a lot of unnecessary words, walking a dog for miles and miles, getting bites from her pet squirrel and choosing tea for her next cup. You could at least say that she’s an avid tea-drinker.