There are a lot of myths about protein, but the simple truth is this: as long as you are eating a variety of whole, organic foods, in at least three meals a day, you are getting enough protein to meet your needs.
Yes, even fruits and vegetables contain amino acids – the building blocks your body uses to create protein. Legumes, such as chickpeas, and whole grains, such as oatmeal, go even further to fulfill the body’s protein requirements. Eating these foods daily is how people on plant-based diets can sustain adequate protein levels without eating meat, fish, eggs, or dairy.
Even for people such as athletes, bodybuilders, and children, who are growing their bodies and need more protein than the average, additional protein needs can still be met through non-animal sources.
If you do choose to eat meat, fish, eggs or dairy, here are some basic guidelines to be aware of:
- Meat from fast food restaurants and supermarkets is toxic to the body. Organic meat from local farms at farmer’s markets, where you can establish trust with the people growing your food, is a much safer option, as is wild hunted meat.
- Same with eggs and dairy. Even supermarket labels such as “cage-free” and “organic” are deceiving. These foods are best consumed fresh from the farm, in some cases raw or minimally processed.
- Most seafood is toxic, if not from mercury poisoning than from radiation. North Atlantic wild caught fish is safest, as well as freshwater fish from non-polluted lakes and streams.
Even with these healthier sources, meat and dairy can still cause problems in the body, such as constipation, inflammation, and acidity. I found that going to great lengths to get good quality meat and dairy was not worth it since I was still experiencing these issues, and I realized none of it was necessary when I could get protein from plant-based sources, which are much more agreeable with my body.
If you need reassurance that you are getting enough protein on your plant-based diet, you can sign up for a free account on https://cronometer.com/, set your daily protein target, and enter your foods into the daily journal. The site will then display a nutrient profile of all your foods, including all essential amino acids. It’s fun and fascinating to see, and after a few days you will get a good sense for how much protein you are really getting, and you can use that to establish a baseline for intake going forward.
Importantly, be confident in your choices and avoid getting into debates with others about your choices or theirs. Practice judgment of your choices only. If they really are good choices that are working well for you, you will become an inspiration to others and they will naturally pattern their choices after yours. Likewise, be open to new information as it arises, and be willing to change if it’s right for you.