There is a long-time myth about vegetarians and I’m sure you’ve heard it before- if you don’t eat meat, you’re likely not getting enough protein.
In fact, I was a vegetarian for over a year and anytime someone found out, their first question was “but how do you get enough protein in your diet?”
I’m not sure if it’s just a question society has conditioned us to ask vegetarians, as a way of reminding them that what they’re doing is “different” and possibly “unhealthy”, or if we’re genuinely concerned about everyone’s daily protein intake… but I’m leaning toward the first theory.
The times have changed and not everyone comes from a family of farmers or butchers anymore, so there’s no reason to think that choosing to get protein from somewhere other than meat means they don’t support each other’s livelihood.
Let’s set the record straight on protein, how much we need and how much we get.
On average we need 42g of protein daily.
Non-vegetarians get far more than this (almost 80g on average daily), vegetarians and vegans also get far more than needed- almost 70g.
I’d say we’re all doing quite well with consuming protein, wouldn’t you?
So maybe what’s unclear to many is what we are eating that is so protein-packed?
Foods that are high in protein include sweet potatoes, dairy, seeds, nuts, quinoa, whole-wheat pasta, beans, soy, eggs, seafood, broccoli, brussel sprouts, meat and so much more.
Actually, when you look at that list it’s pretty easy to see how a vegetarian can get their daily protein.
Now that we’re confident we’re meeting our goals, (according to Dr. Greger from nutiritionfacts.org, 97% of us are hitting our daily protein goals), do we know why we even need protein in our systems?
Our bodies use protein to build and repair tissue, to make enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals, and is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. It’s even what our hair and nails are mostly made of. We need to consume it daily is because our bodies don’t store it.
It’s clear to see why protein is a very important part of our diet, so keep up the good work with including it in your meals, and don’t hesitate to squash the vegetarian protein myth the next time you hear it!
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