The topic of protein can be a controversial subject in the health and fitness community. It gets even more controversial when we talk about animal vs. plant-based protein. While I do consume a predominantly plant-based diet, this blog is not designed to convert anyone to become vegan or vegetarian! I want my readers to simply make healthier food choices, period.
Making healthy food choices is about the nutritional value of the food, but also about how that food was produced, sourced, and preserved. When evaluating the health consequences of animal proteins it’s important to consider the way the animal was raised and treated. Leaving the humanity component aside, are the animal products we consume good for our health? Consider this,unhealthy animals produce unhealthy food. The unsanitary methods of factory farms threaten the quality of the food we consume. Animal products also contain saturated fat and higher levels of cholesterol than plant based proteins.Generally, research shows that eating LESS animal protein is better for overall health. I emphasize less because again, I am not telling anyone to stop eating animal protein.
Plant Based Protein
Plant based proteins are are often called “non-complete”proteins because they don’t contain all the essential amino acids. This doesn’t mean plant based protein is a poor choice, it’s just important to get a wide variety of different plant-based products. Allow me to share my experience with you; When I switched from animal to plant-based proteins I noticed considerable differences in how I looked and felt. Animal products in general always irritated my stomach. With plant based protein, (food, bars, powders, and smoothies included) I have not experienced any stomach discomfort. I remember feeling chronically fatigued when I ate animal products, I can not begin to describe the increase in my energy levels when I switched over to plant based protein. Plant based protein has also helped me develop lean muscle. The reality is, since cutting meat out of my diet over 3 years ago, I am in the best shape I’ve ever been in! That being said, what works for some certainty does not work for all, but I always encourage anyone looking to make healthy changes to try plant based proteins. I’ve included some of my favorite plant based products to this blog.
The key to a healthy diet, as many dietitians will agree, is balance and moderation. Avoiding processed meats in excess can help balance out your diet. Make choices that are optimal for your health and most importantly are sustainable!