Rancho Santa Fe Health News: All About Protein

rancho santa fe health all about proteinAlthough we at the Katie Hawkes Group don’t advocate any particular diet (we know that everyone’s different!), we do encourage you to be aware of what you’re eating, and where it comes from. That’s why we try to provide information to help you stay informed and make healthy choices! For example, if you aren’t a vegetarian or vegan, you may not have thought about the protein in your diet. But even if you eat meat, the amount you eat is worth reflecting on: did you know that through most of human history (and today in most countries), people got about 20% of their total dietary calories from meat? Most people in most of the world eat meat only a couple of times a week, not every day. But most Americans feel that no meal is complete without some kind of meat.

 

The fact is, totally aside from the health risks of too much protein, meat takes a LOT of energy to produce – some studies estimate that if we simply decreased our meat consumption, we could DOUBLE the world’s food supply. 3/4 of the agricultural land in the world is dedicated to raising livestock. Centuries of unsustainable fishing and shellfish-raising have left fish stocks incredibly low and ocean ecosystems damaged.

 

But what can we do? Vegetarianism isn’t for everyone (it certainly isn’t for me!). You need a certain amount of protein in your diet; and many people worry that if they skip the meat, they won’t get enough.  But what most people don’t know is that EVERYTHING contains protein. You heard me right: EVERYTHING. If it was alive at any point in its life – animal, vegetable or fungus – it contains protein, because proteins play a major role in being alive. To give you an idea of the plant-based foods that contain the MOST protein, here is a short list:

 

Vegetables:

Avocado

Broccoli

Spinach

Kale

Sweet Potato

 

Legumes (Lentils & Beans):

Peas

Soybeans

Lentils

Refried beans

Garbanzo beans/hummus

Pinto, kidney & black beans

Peauts

 

Nuts and Seeds:

Cashews

Sesame seeds/tahini

Walnuts

Pistachios

Almonds

Nut butters – peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter

 

Non-Dairy Milk

Soy, almond, ancient grain, hemp

 

Grains

Quinoa

Amaranth

Oatmeal

Sprouted grain products (tortillas, bread, rolls)

 

Supplements

Spirulina, chorella, and hemp powders are all available for addition to smoothies, soups, etc, and add both nutrient content & protein!

 

Try switching out your bacon or chicken breast or fish fillet for one of these plant-based options once a week, once a day, or whatever frequency works for you! Or copy many popular local restaurants, and adopt a “Meatless Monday” (or Wednesday, or Friday) policy for yourself and your family. There are lots of ways to be more responsible about how we eat – and the first step is being more aware! For a great list meat-free (or easily adjustable) recipes, check out the Katie Hawkes Group’s Food Year in Review!

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