My mom makes the BEST ribs I have ever tasted, which is probably why I could never become a pure vegetarian. I am what is called a “flexitarian” or semi-vegetarian. I have always allowed myself to eat all kinds of meat, raised on the belief that I needed my iron and protein from these sources. But being an animal lover and now a nutritionist, I have cut down significantly the amount of red meat in my diet. The only time I allow myself to eat red meat is to treat myself – if I go out for dinner or if I eat at my Mom’s house, mainly because of her signature ribs =).
Living in a more health-conscious society, most people are trying to watch their weight, their cholesterol, and their blood pressure. And too many girls are vegetarians for the wrong reason – to be skinnier. More and more people are becoming vegetarians and/or vegans. And because there are so many food options other than red meat from which you can get your daily intake of protein, it is easier to become a meatless connoisseur and still be healthy and fit, for the right reason.
Protein is a macro-nutrient that is needed to help build muscle. That is definitely why you see so many guys drink protein shakes after a gym work-out. Protein helps to build not only muscle mass, but also bone, skin, cartilage, and girls listen up, protein helps to build strong hair and nails. For these reasons, protein is needed in large supply, especially since the body does not store protein like it stores fat.
Now that we’ve established why protein is needed in our diets, there are many options other than red meat from which you can get that protein to help you build strong, sexy muscles and long, thick hair. Most adult men and women need only about 50 to 70 grams of protein a day, depending on their respective body weight. So if you are ordering a 6 ounce steak for dinner, you are already getting about 40 grams of protein – and also upping the chance that you are clogging your arteries with saturated fat.
Did you know that you can eat two slices of whole wheat bread with turkey deli meat and an ounce of almonds and fulfill 34 grams of protein needed in your diet? That’s already half of what you would need for your daily protein intake! Not bad for healthy eating.
Chicken, salmon, tuna, sardines, tofu, tempeh, peanut butter, beans, all kinds of nuts, yogurt, quinoa are just some of many options you can choose from other than red meat to fulfill your protein needs. I know you are thinking that it’s not the same as taking a bite into a juicy, medium-rare Filet Mignon. And it’s not. If you just HAVE to eat red meat, like I HAVE to eat my Mom’s ribs when she makes them, then stick to the leanest cuts and control your portion size. Try to make eating red meat a treat for yourself and eat it only once or twice a week.
Since you shouldn’t be eating Filet Mignon every night, at least now you know you can mix up your protein meals with white meat chicken breast and a side of quinoa or a wild salmon dinner with a side of string beans and tofu. Not as appetizing as a Porterhouse Steak but give these other protein options a chance and your body, and arteries, will thank you!
Also refer to my other post on Protein Options by clicking below: