It’s tricky to rock a rhyme that’s right on time.

Yeah, I dance in the car.

And maybe I dance in front of the mirror anytime I’m alone in my apartment – twirling and plieing or popping and locking with my dreams of grandeur.

Which makes me incredibly upset that I was not part of this little number last night at the KU v MU game:

[Insert heavy sigh here.]

On a totally unrelated note, the issue of protein has been coming up in conversations with friends lately.  Typically, it’s related to my vegetarianism. 

“Oh, I could never be a vegetarian, I just don’t know how you get the protein you need!” 

“Well, sometimes I’ve thought about it too, but I know my body can’t handle the lack of protein.”

Not to be a cynic, but I believe more than anything, these quips are given simply as an easy out in a conversation or as an excuse for why people aren’t willing to try not eating meat.  I am a proponent of everythingtarianism; I don’t think that everyone needs to be a vegetarian.  But I do feel, especially with the current environmental climate of our world, that cutting back on meat eating and increasing plants in our diet will give us a happier, healthier, brighter planet.

Avoiding the issue makes sense.  Cutting meat out of the diet is a BIG change for a lot of people.  All of a sudden there’s a host of questions you never had to think about before.  What do I buy at the store?  What do I cook for my family or guests?  What do I order at restaurants? (This one is still hard for me!)

Meat-eaters don’t want to feel like they are being judged by vegetarians or that their diet is far inferior or “less healthy” so the meat-eating diet is defended with the almighty “protein excuse.”  Classic.

Here is the low-down on protein, courtesy of myself, Brendan Brazier, and Georgetown University.

“Protein: What does it do?

  • Protein is necessary for the building and repair of body tissues. 
  • It produces enzymes, hormones, and other substances the body uses. 
  • It regulates body processes, such as water balancing, transporting nutrients, and making muscles contract. 
  • Protein keeps the body healthy by resisting diseases that are common to malnourished people.
  • Prevents one from becoming easily fatigued by producing stamina and energy.

Protein is found in muscles, bone, hemoglobin, myoglobin, hormones, antibodies, and enzymes, and makes up about 45% of the human body.  Muscle is approximately 70% water and only about 20% protein. Therefore, increasing muscle mass requires extra water, extra energy in the form of carbohydrates (to maintain the needs of that extra muscle), and a little extra protein. 

According to Dr. Dan Benardot, for an athlete (NOTE: ATHLETES increasing muscle mass, not normal people!) increasing muscle mass at an extraordinarily high rate of 1 kg/week (2.2 lbs of extra muscle per week), only 4 extra ounces of meat per day would be needed.  In most surveys that have been done on athletes, protein intake from food far exceeds requirements.  The generally accepted athlete requirement for protein is between 1.5 and 2.0 grams per kilogram of body weight.  Many studies show that athletes commonly consume well over 3.0 grams per kilogram of body weight. Most athletes need slightly more protein than non athletes. However, muscle strength, size, and shape comes from athletic training, not dietary protein intake

  • Two to three servings of lean meat or alternatives each day should give enough protein to meet requirements.
  • Vegetarian athletes may need two to three servings of legumes, eggs, nuts, seeds or additional dairy products each day.”

And a problem with meat-eaters who consume too much protein: What happens to extra protein?

  • Excess protein will be stored as fat. (FAT!)
  • Without exercise, the fat will continue to increase.
  • Excess protein may also result in osteoporosis and kidney stones.

So, what do I eat?: A huge help in understanding what to actually eat is this article  (Protein: Quality, Not Quantity) courtesy of Crazy, Sexy, Life by Brendan Brazier.

Or, check out this handy dandy chart:

Complete proteins are foods that contain all of the essential amino acids.  These foods include beef, chicken, fish, eggs, milk and just about anything else derived from animal sources.  Incomplete proteins do not have all of the essential amino acids and generally include vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds and nuts.  Vegetarians can get complete proteins from their foods by combining incomplete proteins.  To get all of the essential amino acids, simply choose foods from two or more of the columns.

Grains Legumes Seeds & Nuts Vegetables
Barley Beans Sesame Seeds Leafy Greens
Corn Meal Lentils Sunflower Seeds Broccoli
Oats Peas Walnuts  
Rice Peanuts Cashews  
Pasta Soy Products Other Nuts  
Whole Grain Breads    

 

This is not a challenge to omit meat from your diet (unless you think you’re ready to, in which case, YAY!), but a challenge to simply lessen your animal protein intake.  Even one Meatless Monday or Fresh Friday per week can make a huge difference in your overall health and the well-being of the planet.

Even more of a challenge: drop the “protein excuse.”  If you are talking to one of those veg-heads who is overly adamant that you “cease and desist, stop all meat eating NOW,” simply tell them that it isn’t your gig.  You don’t need to make ill-informed excuses and snooty-vegetarians (or vegans) don’t need to put unnecessary strain on others to adapt to their lifestyle.

Live in peace. Eat yer veggies. Be in flash mobs.

The End.

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1 Comment

Filed under Healthy Living

One response to “It’s tricky to rock a rhyme that’s right on time.

  1. sarahatoms

    It’s Tric-KAY!!! Tricky

    TRICKY
    Trrrrrrrrrrrricky!

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