I don’t expect people to understand my motives for the way I eat. As I have mentioned before, some would consider it “extreme” to remove meat, dairy products and oil from diet. Nor do I expect people to adopt this way of eating, even if being able to live a healthier, prescription drug free life are two of the positive results. As of today it has been 4 months, 10 days since I have changed my diet and cut out many foods that were leading me towards obesity, high cholesterol and heart disease. The results I have experienced have been nothing short of amazing!
What else I continue to find amazing are the number of comments directed at me since changing to a “plant strong” lifestyle. The most common thing I hear is “I can’t give up meat!” This usually leads to some banter about “Where do you get your protein?” Funny that is what my doctor asked me. I guess he doesn’t know much about nutrition either. For a moment, let’s take the protein argument.
First off statements like those listed below from the American Heart Association and the Harvard School of Public Health are wrong.
“Although plant proteins form a large part of the human diet, most are deficient in 1 or more essential amino acids and are therefore regarded as incomplete proteins. (American Heart Association)”
“Other protein sources lack one or more amino acids that the body can’t make from scratch or create by modifying another amino acid. Called incomplete proteins, these usually come from fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts. (Harvard School of Public Health)”
Many people do not know where their protein comes from other than saying meat. In the words of Dr. John McDougall, “Misinformation leads to disastrous outcomes” (source). In January I had my doctor tell me cutting out foods, like meat and dairy wasn’t the way to go. He followed that up by “where are you getting your protein from?” I was shocked, maybe I shouldn’t have been but I was (read about it here).
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that men and women obtain 5% of their calories as protein. Looking over a random selection of food we see the protein content exceeding 5% in brown rice (9%), oatmeal (15%), black beans (27%), sweet potato (7%) and lettuce (40%). Dr. McDougall’s conclusion, “Thus protein deficiency is impossible when calorie needs are met by eating unprocessed starches and vegetables” (source).
For the most part I don’t put much into comments made by others. We all have a choice when it comes to how we eat. I made an effort to change my way of eating because I was seeing my blood work numbers declining, my weight increasing and I was getting more unhealthy. If you don’t want to change your lifestyle, fine. I won’t push my way of eating on you, but don’t question how I choose to eat or that I am wrong not to include foods like meat and dairy.
While I might not see it directly, I might be pushy when it comes to how I eat. I know I am more aware or labels and how to read them and what to look for. Many foods I used to favor have fallen by the wayside, usually because of the oil content or percentage of fat included. I have learned more about nutrition in the past 4 months than I learned in the previous 25 years growing up. So while my intentions are good, I could see my message come off as extreme. I want others I know, some I love to experience the positive changes I have.