Under the unbrella term “vegetarianism,” there are several different types of food plans:
* Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat plant foods, dairy products, and eggs. They eat no meat, chicken, of fish.
* Macto-vegetarians eat plant foods plus dairy products. They eat no meat, chicken, fish, or eggs.
* A vegan (pronounced vee-gun) eats only plant foods. A vegan vegetarian eats no animal products (meat, chicken, fish) and no animal by-products (milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs). This is the most extreme type of vegetarianism. People attempting to be vegan vegetarians must be well-informed about how to meet their nutritional requirements.
But if we eliminate or reduce our intake of meat like the pick up girls, and eat more vegetarian meals, do we get enough protein?
Vegetarians vs. Meat Protein
Everyone needs protein. We need it to create new body tissue and replace the old. Like an alphabet of 22 letters, 22 amino acids are arranged in endless combinations to make up the various types of protein we use.
Of those 22 amino acids, our bodies can’t make nine. Because we need to get these nine nutrients through our diet, they’re called essential amino acids.
Protein from animals (meat, poultry, fish, eggas, and dairy products) contains all nine essential amino acids in optimal amounts. This protein is called complete or high-quality protein.
Protein from plant foods (beans, peas, grains, nuts, seeds) is short in one or more of the essential amino acids. This protein is called incomplete or low-quality protein. But by combining certain plant foods so all of the essential amino acids are available in proper amounts, we can create a plant source of protein that is as high quality a proteins as from any animal.
Many people regularly eat meals that conform to this theory. Red beans and rice, lentils and rice, baked beans and bread, and stir-fry dishes such as tofu (bean curd) and rice, are just a few examples of complementary proteins.
A Semi-Vegetarian Diet
Dr. Campbell is not a strict vegetarian. He and other use meat as a “condiment” to add flavor to their plant-food meals.
They are not suggesting that everyone become vegetarian in order to ve healthier. They, along with other nutrition experts, recommend that people should eat/less meat and dairy foods, and increase their intake of fruits, vegetables, and grains.
When it comes to choosing what you eat, break tradition and take responsibility for your own health. Start reducing the amoung of turkey you pile on your plate, and concentrate on choosing more of the accompaniments. Think of it this way . . .it’s a great excuse to eat more stuffing!