Who knew?! October is World Vegetarian Month and October 1st was World Vegetarian Day. Until I received an email from my book editor Oriana Green, I had no idea. I find it really exciting that there is a an organization and month committed to education about healthy eating. Of course The McDougall Wellness Center and the Physicans Committee for Responsible Medicine have been providing nutritional health information for years. My own book, Becoming Slender For Life is a great resource if you are interested in eating healthy, losing weight and in maintaining your ideal weight.
There have been so many crazy fad diets like Atkins and the Southbeach Diet and most recently Gary Taubes book Good Calories, Bad Calories tries to convince us that no compelling scientific evidence demonstrating that saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease. (As John Robbins says, there is never been an autopsy showing that heart disease was the result of broccoli and tofu!)
It is frightening to me how little most physicians know about nutrition and what little they do know seems to be from the old Dairy Council posters we had in grade school. Did you know that all the protein you need to grow large muscles is present in vegetable foods? Vegetables provide two to four times the protein anyone would need during any activity. Scientific studies tell us we need 2.5% of our calories in the form of protein. The World Health Organization has added a safety margin to protein requirements and says that we need 5% of our calories in the form of protein.
- Potatoes provide 11% protein
- Corn provides 12% protein
- Oranges provide 8% protein
- Cauliflower provides 40% protein
And all of these provide complete proteins meaning that these foods provide all the essential amino acids.
If you still want more protein, then eat beans, peas and lentils which provide 28% of their calories from protein, just like beef.
Too much protein has a variety of negative effects on the body – but I will save that for another blog.