There are so many philosophies about health and nutrition today, how do you know what is right for you? Protein is something I know everyone seems to be concerned with, because for the last 50 years we have all been bombarded with advertising and false information concerning the importance of dairy or meat, chicken or fish protein in our diet in order to be healthy.
This may surprise you and may go against what you have heard for so many years, but according to Mladen Golubic, MD, PhD of The Cleveland Heart Clinic: The more protein—especially animal protein—one eats, the higher the risk of different chronic diseases.
In fact, a recent study was done with 6,000 people between the ages of 50 and 65, who reported eating high creature sourced protein (for example: beef, pork, lamb, fowl, fish, dairy, and eggs). This dietary survey showed that these people not only had a 75 percent increase in dying from ANY cause, but also a quadruple increase in the chance of dying from cancer and a quintuple greater increase in the chance of dying from diabetes, when compared with the low protein intake group!
It is important to note that these associations were either greatly lessened or completely eliminated, if the proteins were vegan (plant) based. The composition of complex amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein, that is derived from animals, acts very differently than the amino acids from plant protein. What we need are amino acids, not the proteins themselves.
In this article, (I also going into detail on nutrition for vegetarians/vegans in my award-winning cookbook, How To Be A Healthy Vegetarian, 2nd edition) I am going to cut through some of this information and provide some research and answers that may help you with a healthier eating plan that could really make an impact on your health and well-being.
Protein is made up of amino acids, which are crucial for building and maintaining cells and tissues. The body uses amino acids to make hemoglobin and insulin. Protein (amino acid) is also essential for maintaining healthy sugar levels in the blood, especially when eating carbohydrates.
Yet ideas about how much and what type of protein we need have changed over time. Even today, experts’ opinions vary. What is important is that you make the right diet choices for your individual needs. Let’s look at all the research to date.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Russell Henry Chittenden, the father of biochemistry, was disturbed that physicians were recommending high-protein diets of 135 grams a day. He thought this was wrong and set out to test this dietary theory. Chittenden began by doing a study on himself using a low-protein diet. He lost weight, had more energy, got rid of his arthritic joint pain, and was, in his opinion, healthier than he had been on a high-protein diet.
He began testing colleagues, students, and athletes at Yale University. On the low-protein diet, they all had more energy, felt better, and actually increased their performance ability by more than 35 percent. In 1904, Chittenden concluded that “35–50 grams of protein a day was adequate for adults, and individuals could maintain their health and fitness on this amount. Studies over the past century have consistently confirmed Professor Chittenden’s findings.” The current goverment recommended daily allowance of protein for adults is 46–56 grams per day.
Some studies say that the amount and type of protein a person should eat depends upon his or her blood type. Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo and Catherine Whitney’s book Eat Right 4 Your Type looks at the connection between blood type, diet, and health. My blood type is O, as is my daughter’s. The book says that “O blood types are meant to thrive best on a high protein (red meat) and low carbohydrate diet.”
I have been vegetarian for 31 years, and my daughter has been a vegetarian for her whole life of 32 years. We seem to do quite well on a vegetarian (mostly vegan) diet, but we do make sure we consume enough protein-rich plant foods like beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, whole-grain rice, and quinoa, and have a good amount of healthy fats in our diet.
It is up to you to decide if this theory is right for you.
Many athletes today are filling their bodies with protein-rich food, thinking it will make them stronger and their muscles bigger.
According to the Vegetarian Resource Group: Athletes used to eat thick steaks before competition because they thought it would improve their performance. Protein supplements are sold at health food stores. This concern about protein is misplaced. Although protein is certainly an essential nutrient which plays many key roles in the way our bodies function, we do not need huge quantities of it. In reality, we need small amounts of protein. Only one calorie out of every ten we take in needs to come from protein. Athletes do not need much more protein than the general public.
This is backed up in an AARP article (May 22, 2009, “Eat the Right Kinds Of Protein: Don’t Overdo Protein; Do it Right. Here’s How) by tennis athlete Martina Navratilova (a vegetarian), who says: “On days that I work out, I’ll have a little protein with some carbs after exercising. This combo speeds up the manufacture of new glycogen (the carbohydrate that is stored in muscle and supplies energy) and elevates key hormones in the body that are involved in muscle repair and growth. In addition, the snack amplifies the fuel I get from carbs.”
This fits in with what I have read from other top athletes like Brendan Brazier, two-time Canadian 50K ultra marathon champion. He thinks recovery time from working out is really the most critical factor for success as an athlete, rather than protein intake. He lives and thrives on a 100 percent plant-based diet.
Many vegetarian proteins are a combination of carbohydrates and protein. You can find some great information about protein and the vegan diet on the vegan athlete website. Our bodies are all different, and our blood types are different. You need to find what works best for you.
There are several myths about protein. For instance, in the 1971 book Diet for a Small Planet, Frances Moore Lappé wrote that plants contained “incomplete proteins” within adequate amounts of specific essential amino acids, in order for them to meet the dietary needs of people. She emphasized the need to combine vegetable-based foods to obtain the complete amino acid complexes needed for optimum health when choosing not to consume animal protein.
However, according to Dr. John McDougall, Lappé did not understand the scientific research on human protein needs and the sufficiency of plant-based foods. Dr. McDougall says that plant combining “is unnecessary and implies that it is difficult to obtain ‘complete’ proteins from vegetables without detailed nutritional knowledge. Because of her complicated and incorrect ideas, many people are frightened away from vegetable-based diets.”
Thankfully such myths are slowly but surely being dismissed as untrue. The American Dietetic Association (ADA)revised its position statement on vegetarian diets and now agrees that well-planned vegetarian diets are “a healthy, nutritionally adequate dietary practice for all stages of life.”
As for the amount of protein we eat, it is not practical or very accurate to measure it on a daily basis. 0.8 g/kg is generous. Guidelines from the World Health Organization, specify that 0.5 g/kg is adequate for good health. Make sure you get enough calories from unprocessed whole foods of plant origin and you will get enough protein. You should eat a variety of legumes (beans of any type, shape, or color, including soybeans, lentils, and peas), and 100 percent whole-grain products and vegetables. Do not worry about getting enough proteins. If you get enough calories from these plant-based wholefoods, you are getting enough protein.
As for other nutrition, there is not a single nutrient (with the possible exception of vitamin B12) that you cannot get from plants. In fact, meat or fish do not have any dietary fiber, and only minuscule amounts of beneficial compounds that are not technically essential
nutrients. However, these essential nutrients are richly present in organically grown, non-GMO plants and seem quite beneficial for human health.
Dr. Andrew Weil, a prominent expert in the health field, also addressed this subject: You may have heard that vegetable sources of protein are incomplete and become complete only when correctly combined. Research has discredited that notion, so you don’t have to worry that you won’t get enough usable protein if you don’t put together some magical combination of foods at each meal.
Whether or not you’re a vegetarian, I recommend that you divide your daily calories as follows: 40–50 percent from carbohydrates (including vegetables, fruit, whole grains, starchy roots and tubers, and legumes), 30 percent from fat, and 20–30 percent from protein, which amounts to between 100 and 150 grams on a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet.
Dr. Weil, actually recommends more protein than Dr. Chittenden. In my opinion, you have to decide what type and amount of protein works best for you.
Dennis Gordon, MEd, RD, voices the same opinion as Dr. Weil and Dr. McDougall. In the article “Vegetable Proteins Can Stand Alone,” Gordon wrote: Complementing proteins is not necessary with vegetable proteins. The myth that vegetable source proteins need to be complemented is similar to the myths that persist about sugar making one’s blood glucose go up faster than starch does. These myths have great staying power despite there being no evidence to support them and plenty to refute them.
Protein myths have been around for almost a century, but beans, seeds, leafy greens, legumes, and grains are all sources of healthy vegan protein. In fact, leafy greens are among the best sources of protein. For example, 45 percent of spinach is protein.
Types of Vegetarian Protein Sources
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are perfect foods because they are a combination of protein, fat, and carbohydrate. They contain delicate polyunsaturated fatty acids that can become rancid shortly after being shelled, so store them in a tightly sealed container (preferably glass) in the refrigerator. Nuts that come from tropical climates can contain high levels of fungal mycotoxins, which result from improper storage.
Almost all nuts and seeds also contain certain compounds that include enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid, which can prevent the body from absorbing some nutrients. To help diminish the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors, and to make them more digestible, place them in a glass or steel bowl and soak them for 12–18 hours in non-chlorinated water and a little bit of whole sea salt. If desired, you can dehydrate or roast them in the oven at a low temperature. Eat them within a few days.
When buying nuts and seeds, look for products that are sprouted or have been soaked.
You may want to have your physician check your mineral levels if you have a diet high in nuts and seeds.
Pine nuts (pignoli) are nature’s only source of pinolenic acid, which helps diminish your appetite. They have the highest concentration of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that aids the liver in eliminating harmful triglycerides from our body, which helps protect our heart. Pine nuts are also packed with 3 mg of iron per one-ounce serving and are rich in Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B3, manganese, copper, magnesium, molybdenum, and zinc, as well as being a source of Vitamin B2, Vitamin E, and potassium.
There are more than 29 varieties of pine nuts. Most of the pine nuts in US grocery stores are from trees grown in China, Mexico, and Korea. All pine nuts are nutritious, but the most nutrient-dense are Mediterranean pine nuts, which come from the Stone Pine (Pinus pinea, or Umbrella Pine) native to Portugal, Spain, and Italy. Mediterranean pine nuts are lower in calories, have a great ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 essential fatty acids, have a higher level of phytosterols, (which are known to lower cholesterol), and have a greater protein content than other varieties of pine nut. Pine nuts are wonderful to have as a snack or add to a meat substitute, protein drink, or smoothie.
Hemp seeds are actually nuts. They contain significant amounts of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, as well as protein. They also contain significant amounts of Vitamin E, which is important for the thyroid gland. Hemp seeds are seen as an excellent food source because of their great combination of high-quality oil, or good fat (44 percent), protein (33 percent), and fiber (12 percent).
Hemp protein contains all the complex amino acid proteins, and is extremely similar to the type of protein in animal foods. It has a wonderful digestibility and appears to be free of the anti-nutrients found in soy. Hemp seeds deliver a good source of readily absorbable, nutrient-dense protein that can be readily utilized by the body.88
Almonds are actually seeds. They are a powerhouse of nutrients, including manganese, magnesium, copper, Vitamin B2, and phosphorus, and are a great source of protein and fiber. One quarter cup of almonds has 12 grams of protein. That is more than twice the amount of protein in one egg. However, almonds contain 1,800 more Omega 6 fatty acids than Omega 3 fatty acids. This can seriously throw off the balance of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids in the body. For that reason, I tend to use more whole-grain rice or coconut milk these days than almond milk.
Walnuts are especially good for the vegetarian diet. They are high in protein; are a very good source of manganese, copper, tryptophan, and Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids; and have a fairly good ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids (four Omega 6s to one Omega 3) with only eight percent saturated fat.
Cashews are a very good source of copper, magnesium, tryptophan, and phosphorus. Copper is necessary to maintain healthy bones and connective tissues. Cashews have 117 Omega 6 fatty acids to one Omega 3, and have 12.5 percent saturated fat. I love cashews, but I try to combine them with other nuts and seeds when I eat them to help balance out the Omegas and saturated fats.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein and fiber, as well as minerals, including zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. Pumpkin seeds have 117 Omega 6 fatty acids to one Omega 3 and have a saturated fat content of 14 percent. Interestingly, pumpkin seeds are terrific at helping the body get rid of parasites.
I am a certified wildlife rehabilitator, and I use pumpkin seeds on a regular basis when feeding the wild animals, I rehabilitate. I grind the seeds and immediately add them to the animals’ food, and it is amazing to me how many tape worms and other types of parasites come out in their bowel movements. Because of this, I use pumpkin seeds frequently, in a freshly ground form, in my own foods.
Sometimes vegetarians feel they are just not getting enough food, protein, or sustenance. They probably need concentrated nutrients from protein and carbohydrates, along with some good fat. When the body is getting a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fat from nutrient-dense, whole food, full of live enzymes, the body will feel nutritionally satisfied.
Studies have shown that after an intense workout, it is helpful to replenish your glycogen by having some carbohydrates combined with some protein, which appears to support muscle. The fat tells the body how to utilize the protein and carbohydrates. When I use a meal replacement or protein powder, I add about a tablespoon of good fat to the mixture, usually coconut oil, flax seed oil, avocado oil or safflower oil. Sometimes, I’ll add a combination of two or three of them.
If you choose to use a protein supplement, I recommend using one that contains protein that is organic, vegan, gluten-free, raw, and whole-grain. Protein supplements made from sprouted seeds, nuts, whole grains, whole-grain rice, hemp seeds, legumes, peas, and beans are some of my favorites. When buying protein supplements, make sure they aren’t mystery protein by reading the ingredient list very carefully. Anything that simply says “protein” could be ground leftovers from meat packing plants. Those leftovers can include hair, nails, hooves, and other animal parts.
Be careful which protein powders or supplements you buy. Consumer Reports tested 15 high-protein drinks and found that many contained levels of toxic heavy metals. Here is an excerpt from the report:
Our investigation, including tests at an outside laboratory of 15 protein drinks, a review of government documents, and interviews with health and fitness experts and consumers, found most people already get enough protein, and there are far better and cheaper ways to add more if it’s needed. Some protein drinks can even pose health risks, including exposure to potentially harmful heavy metals, if consumed frequently. All drinks in our tests had at least one sample containing one or more of the following contaminants: arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. Those metals can have toxic effects on several organs in the body.89
Again, read the ingredients carefully and buy ones that contain only organic whole vegetarian food.
Because of the emphasis by certain food industries for the need of protein in the diet, marketing the protein drink or shake market is an enormous money-making industry. Marketing for high-protein drinks is sharp, savvy, and targeted to bodybuilders, athletes, baby boomers, and pregnant women.
The advertising can say that their protein drinks build muscle or help shed unwanted pounds. People have the idea that if they consume more protein, their bodies will build more muscle, but lifting weights and exercising are what builds muscle.
Soy protein is a complete protein but can be very hard to digest. The Chinese did not eat unfermented soybeans, because they contain quantities of natural toxins or “anti-nutrients,” and are high in phytic acid. This means ingesting unfermented soy can prevent the body from absorbing other nutrients like calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, and particularly protein. In China, soy was not used as a food until fermentation techniques were discovered in the Zhou Dynasty (1046–256 BC).
When soy is fermented—as in miso, tempeh, or soy sauce—the soy nutrients are more digestible and easier to absorb. Unfermented Soy has been linked to gastric distress and pancreatic problems, including cancer, and it can impair our body’s uptake of amino acids. It also contains goitrogens, which are known to suppress the functioning of the thyroid.
Most soy on the market today is from genetically modified (GM) seed. 91 percent of soybeans planted in the United States are GM, and the rate is rapidly growing throughout the world, according to Natural News newsletter.
Dr. Gregory Damato points out that “more than 95 percent of GM soy (and 75 percent of other GM crops) is engineered to tolerate glyphosate herbicide, the most common formulation of which is Roundup.”
They found it:
- Causes cell cycle dysregulation, which is a hall mark of tumor cells and human cancers.
- Inhibits DNA synthesis in certain parts of the cell cycle—the cells’ reproductive process which underlies the growth and development of all living organisms.
- Impedes the hatchings of sea urchins. (Sea urchins were used because they constitute an appropriate model for the identification of undesirable cellular and molecular targets of pollutants.) The delay was found to be dose dependent on the concentration of Roundup. The surfactant polyoxyethylene amine(POEA), another major component of Roundup, was also found to be highly toxic to the embryos when tested alone, and could therefore be a contributing factor.
These reasons are why I don’t eat soy if I can avoid it, or any other genetically modified food or non-organically grown food. I recommend reading more about glyphosate herbicide if you are eating non-certified organic foods.
Be aware that soy is added to tortillas, breads, fake meats, and many other foods, supposedly for the “health” benefit. In my opinion, it is really used as cheap filler.
Health and nutrition expert Dr. Joseph Mercola writes that the advertising industry has misled the public about the safety and health benefits of soy, as well as the widespread use of it in the Asian diet. He states: “A study of the history of soy use in Asia shows that the poor used it during times of extreme food shortage, and only when the soybeans were carefully prepared (e.g. by lengthy fermentation) to destroy the soy toxins.” He goes on to say that, contrary to some reports in the West, it is not the usual practice in Asian countries to feed soy milk to infants.
A billion-dollar industry advertises soy as the answer to many health issues. Soy is frequently touted as the answer to women’s menopause problems, heart disease, and weight problems, as well as a great protein source. Be aware of this when you read food labels that refer to soy’s health benefits, even those that display an FDA approval statement that soy can help lower the risk of heart disease. In 2000, two FDA employees, Daniel Doerge and Daniel Sheehan, were so worried about the danger of soy that they wrote a controversial letter to their employer, protesting the positive health claims for soy that the FDA was approving at the time.101
“There is abundant evidence that some of the isoflavones found in soy, including genistein and equol, a metabolite of daidzen, demonstrate toxicity in estrogen sensitive tissues and in the thyroid. This is true for a number of species, including humans. Additionally, isoflavones are inhibitors of the thyroid peroxidase which makes T3 and T4. Inhibition can be expected to generate thyroid abnormalities, including goiter and autoimmune thyroiditis. There exists a significant body of animal data that demonstrates goitrogenic and even carcinogenic effects of soy products. Moreover, there are significant reports of goitrogenic effects from soy consumption in human infants.”
Think carefully about the effects that soy can have on the thyroid, our master gland which affects almost all aspects of our health, and estrogen. Many doctors and nutritionists are soy proponents. Be careful and research this yourself if you are concerned.
Soy is touted as solution to menopause hormone imbalances. This is one of the reasons why so many doctors and older women were happy to embrace it. Soy and soy-based products contain isoflavones or phytoestrogens, which are plant-based estrogens. Soy is not the only food that contains phytoestrogens. There are other less controversial and more digestible foods with phytoestrogens you can include in your diet.
For men, eating soy isoflavones can significantly reduce testicular function and lower luteinizing hormone (LH)production, which is what signals the testicles to work. A high soy intake which potentially lowers level of LH increases the probability of estrogen dominance in men, contributing to hair loss, swollen and cancerous prostates, and insulin resistance. Dr. Doris Rapp, MD, a leading pediatric allergist, asserts that environmental and food estrogens are responsible for the worldwide reduction in male fertility.
Soy consumption has been linked with cancer in adults, notably breast cancer, as I read in an article by Jim Rutz. He went on to say:
That’s why the governments of Israel, the UK, France, and New Zealand are already cracking down hard on soy. . .
In sad contrast, 60 percent of the refined foods in US supermarkets now contain soy. Worse, soy use may double in the next few years because (last I heard) the out-of-touch medicrats in the FDA hierarchy are considering allowing manufacturers of cereal, energy bars, fake milk, fake yogurt, etc., to claim that “soy prevents cancer.” It doesn’t. . .
P.S.: Soy sauce is fine. Unlike soy milk, it’s perfectly safe because it’s fermented, which changes its molecular structure. Miso, natto, and tempeh are also okay, but avoid tofu and soy milk.
Soy can create allergic reactions. In 1986, Dr. Stuart Berger, MD, placed soy among the top seven allergens, one of the “sinister seven.”
Finally, soy protein isolate, a by-product of soybean oil processing that is found in a huge number of vegan foods, is something to avoid completely.
The processing of soy protein isolate is done mostly in aluminum tanks that leach high levels of aluminum into the product. Then MSG, flavorings, preservatives, sweeteners, and synthetic chemicals are frequently added to help get rid of the “beany” taste and add more “meaty” flavor. In animal experiments, the test animals fed soy isolate developed enlarged organs, particularly the thyroid and the pancreas.
After the soybeans, which are mostly GM varieties, are crushed to extract the oil, the left-over soy “chunks” (which still contain fiber, water, some fat, and other carbohydrates) then undergo another extraction process that involves hexane—a neurotoxin that is also a substantial component in gasoline.
The next step involves soaking these chunks in a chemical mixture (which commonly contains ammonia and hydrochloric acid) to help concentrate protein levels and achieve a sponge-like texture. Finally, the mixture is then spray-dried.
A regular, standard soybean contains 40 percent protein, while soy protein isolate is usually about 95 percent protein.
Soy protein isolate can only be made in factories. Healthy, whole foods should be possible to make in a kitchen. You can make your own seitan (wheat meat) at home. You can make your own nut milk, rice milk or hemp milk at home with a blender and some whole-food ingredients. The only way to make soy protein isolate is by using extremely flammable and hazardous chemicals, like hexane, and extreme temperatures that you could not possibly obtain in a kitchen setting.
Hexane is not used in the production of organic soy protein isolate. For a list of which protein bars and soy burgers are made using hexane-extracted soy protein isolates and which aren’t, go to: www.cornucopia.org/hexane-guides/hexane_guide_bars.html.
As I researched soy, I came to seriously reconsider its use. When I first became a vegetarian, I used soy for many things. I used to feel that soy milk, soy beans, and other soy products were foods I should use. I learn something new every day. No one knows everything, so be open to new information.
I found some soy vegetarian alternative meats worked really well as transition foods from a meat-based diet. Some of them didn’t taste very good and were a huge waste of money, but a few were pretty good. I always looked for organic ones, but those were rare. I weaned myself off them. There are many more choices today that are organic and taste much better than what was available in 1988.
As I have learned more about soy, I always try to avoid it now. I do, however, use organic fermented soy sauce. I also use organic miso and tempeh occasionally. There are alternative organic misos now that are made with brown rice, garbanzo beans, and barley, and they taste terrific. I buy these instead of the soy variety.
In conclusion, if you are going to buy soy, buy certified organic soy because it won’t be from genetically modified seeds. Buy sprouted and/or fermented soy for a more digestible and less harmful soy protein, and avoid soy protein isolates.
Beans—including black beans, garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas), pinto beans, and kidney beans—are a great source of protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Beans are relatively inexpensive and easy to store in a dry, cool place for a fairly long time.
The fiber in beans has been shown to help lower cholesterol by binding with bile acids, which are used in making cholesterol. Fiber isn’t absorbed into the body. It passes out of the body, taking the bile with it. Beans also help prevent blood sugar levels from rising too quickly after a meal, making beans a good food choice for people with diabetes or hypoglycemia. Combining beans with whole-grain rice gives you all the essential amino acids.
A little-known and beneficial attribute of beans is that they contain the enzyme sulfite oxidase, which can detoxify sulfites. Sulfites are a common preservative used in many foods today. Many people are sensitive to sulfites, resulting in weight gain, headaches, and rapid heartbeat. Eating one cup of black beans can give you 172 percent of the daily value of the trace mineral molybdenum, which is the key component of sulfite oxidase.
The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry researched beans and found they are as rich in anthocyanin—an antioxidant compound—as cranberries, oranges, and grapes. In fact, black beans had approximately 10 times the amount found in oranges. The darker the bean, the higher the antioxidant properties were. Gram for gram, black beans had the highest levels of antioxidants. They descended in order of black, red, brown, yellow, and lastly white.
Vegan Protein Sources:
Almonds (1⁄4 c.) 12 grams
Amaranth (31⁄2 oz.) 16 grams
Baked beans (8 oz.) 11.5 grams
Broccoli (31⁄2 oz.) 3.1 grams
Brown rice (7 oz.) 4.4 grams
Buckwheat (31⁄2 oz.) 12 grams
Bulgur (1 c. cooked) 6 grams
Cashews (1⁄4 c.) 5 grams
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) (7 oz.) 16 grams
Hemp seeds (1 oz.) 11 grams
Lentils (41⁄2 oz.) 9.1 grams
Mediterranean pine nuts (1 oz.) 10 grams
Muesli (21⁄2 oz.) 7.7 grams
Nori seaweed (31⁄2 oz. dried) 35 grams
Nutritional yeast (31⁄2 oz.) 50 grams
Oatmeal (1 c.) 6 grams
Peanuts (1 oz.) 7.3 grams
Pine nuts (1 oz.) 6.8 grams
Porridge (6 oz.) 2.4 grams
Potatoes (7 oz.) 2.8 grams
Pumpkin seeds (raw) (1 oz.) 7 grams
Sesame seeds (31⁄2 oz.) 19 grams
Spinach (fresh) (1 c.) 1 gram
Spirulina (31⁄2 oz.) 68 grams
Sunflower seeds (31⁄2 oz.) 24 grams
Tofu (5 oz.) 10.3 grams
Walnuts (1⁄4 c.) 25 grams
Whole-grain bread (2 slices) 7 grams
When it comes to choosing the right vegan diet, a person should see how his or her body reacts to certain foods and lifestyles. It is all about balance.
The diet that works for me and my O blood type and lifestyle may not be the perfect diet for someone else. Try the various vegan diet choices that your heart tells you to try, and see what works. Some people’s diet choices may change over time along with age, environment, lifestyle, and circumstance.
Find what works for you, and listen to your own body. It will tell you the best choice of vegan food for you. You are the best guide and judge of your body and your health. For many of us in transition with new food choices or life in general, it takes baby steps. Some people will find that eating a little cheese or eggs now and then makes the transition easier. Later, they may be able to cut those foods out completely.
Becoming a vegan is a journey. Simply start the journey, and see where it takes you!
If you are interested in finding out more about eating a healthy plant based diet. You may like my award-winning, best-selling cookbook, How To Be A Healthy Vegetarian, 2nd edition. Click Here for the link.
By Nancy Addison HHC, AADP
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