When you think of protein foods, it’s almost a given that meat will be in your primary thoughts. Meat does indeed contain a lot of protein. Beef might be the first kind of meat you think about when considering protein.
From these you may branch out in your list of protein foods to other various game meats such as pork, lamb, veal, venison, and buffalo. Other foods that have protein come from poultry, fish, shellfish, and dairy.
There are plenty of foods rich in protein you can get that are located outside the animal kingdom. Plant based foods contain all the essential amino acids and significant amounts of protein as well.
For example, when basing it as a percentage of calories, asparagus, broccoli, and tofu contain about 40% protein. Astonishingly, watercress has as much as 83%!
Soybeans are another great protein source. There are many healthy foods that are available containing soy as the base product.
Some of these foods are soy milk, non-dairy ice creams, tofu, tempeh, and mock meats. There are also a large variety of vegan cheeses, sour creams, yogurts and other dairy free alternatives. Healthy eating plans may involve some or all of these types of healthy protein foods.
Having given a good selection of protein foods between both animals and plants, I believe a discussion between some of the differences is warranted.
There are several concerns with eating animal proteins. These days, animals are given antibiotics for health reasons as well as other chemicals to help them grow faster and bigger. So when the protein from animals is eaten, these drugs and chemicals are eaten as well.
Animals bred for food are usually kept in very close quarters, such as poultry, which may sometimes severely restrict their movements. This type of environment also leads to disease. So more antibiotics are given to help defeat the disease.
Though protein foods from the animal kingdom may be beneficial, you’ll have to weigh these other factors. Animal protein is also harder to digest and assimilate.
Another concern with eating animal protein is the amount of fat that is also eaten. Eating too much fat can cause serious health problems in the future, namely heart disease. Alongside fat is cholesterol. This can also encourage the development of heart disease as arteries become inflamed and saturated with cholesterol.
Something those who eat meat may not be aware of is what creates the taste in meat. The flavor comes from a combination of the blood and uric acid. Uric acid is what urine is made out of. Imagine drinking animal blood and drinking animal urine. A thought that may make some meat eaters cringe.
Finally, protein from an animal is second hand protein. You will see in the following section how eating protein directly from the original source is healthier.
Depending upon one’s orientation, you may feel that animal based protein is superior to plant protein, or vise versa. However, lets ask the question, where does the animal get it's protein from?
Usually the animals bred for food are not fed other animals to live. They eat plants. Protein rich plants.
Plants actually have the full spectrum of amino acids needed for the body to continue to grow to adulthood and complete it’s daily functions.
International guidelines recommend that we get at least 10%-15% of our calories from the protein content of foods. That isn’t a problem when eating plants. The calories from most plants contain between 10%-40% that are derived from protein. So there is plenty of protein in plants to meet the above guideline.
Additionally, “the American Dietetic Association agrees that eating a diet rich in a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and grains will provide you with all your amino acids and protein needs and vitamins and minerals to boot!” Therefore eating plant based diets will still give you plenty of protein.
Unlike meat , plant foods also generally have no fat or are low in fat and are high in fiber, which make them great foods with protein.
Fiber appears to protect us from getting certain cancers. These are colon cancer, cancer of the pancreas, and breast cancer. You also wouldn’t have to worry about heart disease while eating plants as you do with meat.
Unlike meat, plant foods also have a huge amount of nutrients. Nutrients the body needs to function properly.
Here you have been presented with a sporadic list of foods
containing protein and some differences regarding them. Hopefully I
have given you enough information to make an informative choice which
protein foods or sources you will partake of. Always remember to choose
organic when possible.
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Bennett, Lynn and Ray Sammartano. The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Vegan
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Davis, Brenda, R.D. and Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D. Becoming Vegan, The
Complete Guide To Adapting A Healthy Plant Based Diet. Summertown: Book
Publishing Company, 2000. 39, 84