Friday, July 9, 2010

To Eat Meat or Not To Eat Meat, That is the Question, Part II

Thank you to Danielle for sparking this very interesting discussion about the practicality of veganism.

Danielle's comment yesterday made me want to do some research into this idea that animal protein keeps you fuller longer.  "The argument made to me by my nutritionist is that animal protein is more complex and takes longer for our bodies to break down, thus leaving us fuller longer. Veggies/fruits digest quickly. Some meals where I eat beans, vegetables, greens and fruit, I do sometimes get hungry a mere 2 hours later. However, there is something about eating in a volumetrics way. Doing that consistently leaves me very satisfied since I am getting all the micro nutrients my body needs. I agree with you on that and am still curious about the meat, so I will let you know the result of my experiments."

What I want to ask everyone is this, "Let's say for argument's sake that animal protein did leave you feeling full longer but also, as a side effect of eating it, you got heart disease and cancer. Would this be a fair trade for you: eat meat and milk=stay fuller longer + get disease?  If I had the choice here, I think I would just go with having an apple (or some fresh figs . . . OMG, they are in season now and sooooo delicious) in between meals!

This also got me wondering about protein in general, and whether or not I am getting enough of it. So I found this calculation:
1. Your body weight in pounds divided by 2.2 = ________ your body weight in kg

2. Your body weight in kg times 0.8 = ________ grams of protein per day

or just do this simple calculation:
Body weight (in pounds) X 0.36 = recommended protein intake (in grams)

My answer is 50 or 51 grams of protein/day. And just forget about that old concept of proper combining of amino acids to get a complete protein, that myth has been debunked.  "It was once thought that various plant foods had to be eaten together to get their full protein value, otherwise known as protein combining or protein complementing. We now know that intentional combining is not necessary to obtain all of the essential amino acids.1 As long as the diet contains a variety of grains, legumes, and vegetables, protein needs are easily met." http://www.pcrm.org/health/veginfo/protein.html

See also http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/09/the-great-protein-myth/

The protein content of some common vegan foods is:

Food, Amount, Protein
Almond butter, 2 tbsp, 5 g
Almonds, ¼ cup, 8 g
Black beans, cooked 1 cup, 15 g
Black-eyed peas, cooked 1 cup, 11 g
Broccoli, cooked 1 cup, 4 g
Brown rice, cooked 1 cup, 5 g
Bulgar, cooked 1 cup, 6 g
Cashews ¼ cup, 5 g
Chickpeas, cooked 1 cup, 12 g
Kidney beans, cooked 1 cup, 13 g
Lentils, cooked 1 cup, 18 g
Lima beans, cooked 1 cup, 10 g
Peanut butter, 2 tbsp, 8 g
Peas, cooked 1 cup, 9 g
Pinto beans, cooked 1 cup, 12 g
Quinoa, cooked 1 cup, 9 g
Seitan, 3 oz, 31 g
Soy milk, 1 cup, 7 g
Soy yogurt, plain 6 oz, 6 g
Soybeans, cooked 1 cup, 29 g
Spinach, cooked 1 cup, 5 g
Sunflower seeds, ¼ cup, 6 g
Tempeh, 1 cup, 41 g
Tofu, firm 4 oz, 11 g
Tofu, regular 4 oz, 9 g
Whole wheat bread, Two slices, 5 g

Now I can see from this list that I am eating plenty of "protein" so the remaining question is: Is there something fundamentally different about a plant protein vs. an animal protein? Either from a satiety standpoint or a health standpoint?

We know for sure that from a health standpoint, plant protein wins. It has to do with what comes along with that protein: fiber, vitamins and micro nutrients that actually protect you from disease. What does animal protein come along with? Well, saturated fat, cholesterol and a whole lotta hormones and antibiotics. Yuck. The only thing that plant protein lacks is vitamin B12, and that's a whole blog posting unto itself (look out for that in later installments)!

So that still leaves the big question that Danielle original asked, can you be as satisfied only eating plants as compared to eating plants and animal proteins? I do know that for me personally, since I began eating the Eat to Live/Volumetrics way, this is absolutely not a problem for me. In fact, I am more satiated than I have ever been in my life. But what about other people? I guarantee that if you begin a lunch or dinner with a low calorie vegan soup you cannot help but feel stuffed!  It's the most amazing principle. But what is your experience?

3 comments:

Danielle said...

Wendy, thanks for the post. I have to agree with you. I was giving serious consideration to what my nutritionist has been saying but by paying attention to the facts, you cannot deny that eating plants is better for you. All of those antioxidants and micronutrients benefit you in so many ways. Your body also feels qualitatively different when you eat mostly plants. Generally, I have more energy, but am calmer, and have more focus. Perhaps some meat here and there is no problem and it certainly makes life easier not being a vegan. Thanks for the research and post.

mherzog said...

Here's a good video on meat: http://meat.org

Wendy (Healthy Girl) said...

Thanks for the link to that video. I do want everyone to know that it is graphic and violent so be warned . . .

 
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