Now that you’ve decided to manage your weight by eating a plant based diet, your friends are going to start asking you questions. The first one is usually about protein. It occurred to me last night, that the reason the “Where do you get your protein?" question keeps coming up boils down to the fact that the average person has no understanding of protein! Fortunately for you, I took a lot of Biochemistry in college and I'm here to help.

The general misconception is that only animal sources will give you enough protein. News Flash! Ever ask a cow, horse, elephant or hippo about their diet? How about a gorilla? They don't eat any meat. Where do they get their protein? When you eat protein from an animal source, your body breaks it down the same way it does the protein from a plant source. Your muscles, tendons, hair, skin, connective tissues and organs do not look like a cow, chicken, fish or pig's because the protein is broken down by your body's digestive system and then re-assembled by your cells to form human protein! In other words:

YOU MAKE YOUR OWN PROTEIN!

The ONLY thing you really need to take as a supplement if you eat no meat is Vitamin B12. Animals tend to eat dirt with their food and Vitamin B12 is in the dirt. Hopefully, you wash your veggies so you need to take a B12 supplement.

The building blocks of protein are called Amino Acids. There are 9 essential amino acids, meaning that your body needs them in your diet to make protein. Plants provide exactly the same amino acids as animals, but without the saturated fat. This means that any combination of vegetables and fruits that you already eat such as lettuce, carrots, celery, peppers, tomatoes, nuts, beans, peas, potatoes, seeds, grains, apples, pears, grapes, spices and citrus fruits will give you exactly the same building blocks for your human protein that you would get from animals. The plants just don't give you the stuff that clogs up most people's arteries leading to heart disease, stroke, circulation issues and erectile dysfunction. Plants are full of fiber which keeps you regular and helps reduce your chances of getting colon cancer. You can eat all the plants that you want all day long, never feel hungry and still lose weight! I also minimize my oil intake. In fact, when I cook for myself, which is daily, I don’t use any oil at all anymore.

In a little over one year my cholesterol went from 234 to 141 with no medication and I’ve lost 82 lbs. I’ve just started to exercise because I feel so good! I didn’t lose weight by exercising. You can’t out exercise a bad diet. The reality is that 15 potato chips or 1 oz. equal 160 calories. The size of an individual bag is 1.5 oz. or 240 calories per bag. Most of the calories are from the fat content. So, if you’re like me, I would eat the whole bag and be looking for more. You burn roughly 100 calories per mile when you walk or 130 calories when you run. One pound of fat is equivalent to 3500 calories. So you could walk 5 miles per day every day for a week to lose one pound of fat or you could eliminate fat from your diet by eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes instead of animal products. The choice of what I eat is totally up to me. I encourage you to take advantage of our Plant Based Nutritional Support Group. We’re here to help you change your life for the better!

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