The typical American diet is built around meat, poultry, or fish, reflecting the deeply held beliefs that animal foods outrank plant-based foods in value. When the question is asked ” Whats for dinner tonight?” We most typically hear “burgers”,”steak,” or “chicken.” We don’t ever hear “broccoli!”
Three common beliefs regarding a meat-centered diet that are not true:
1. I won’t get enough protein without meat in my diet.
2. I need animal protein to get the quality of protein needed.
3. I won’t get enough iron in my diet, and I may become anemic.
* Current research concludes that there are no nutrients essential to human life found in meat, poultry or fish that are not also found in plant food! Meat, poultry, and fish, however are lacking many nutrients needed for human life that plant foods include. They are carbohydrate-deficient and fiber-free along with being high cholesterol and fat. All the nutrients that are used to build animal and human bodies come from plants and microorganisms. Protein and iron required for muscle and blood are derived from grain, legumes, and vegetables. Even bones and milk from cows, which are known for their high-calcuim content, come from plant foods they eat. Animal protein is refined food, and we need to decrease the refined foods in our diet.
Plant protein provides all the amino acids essential for life.protein is found in most foods with the exception of sugar, fats, and oils. Diets that provide enough calories and are based on a variety of plant food will easily meet or exceed your protein requirements. For all types of diets, including diets with only plant-based foods, the average protein intake is more than one third higher than recommended intake.
(*More Choices by Cheryl D. Thomas-Peters, RD and James A. Peters,MD, DrPH, RD)