December 17th, 2010
08:44 AM ET

Where can a vegetarian get good protein?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Friday, it's Dr. Melina Jampolis, a physician nutrition specialist.

Question asked by Mary from Royal Palm Beach, Florida

As a vegetarian, what is a  good source of protein? Do I use protein drinks or protein bars and if so, could you recommend a good one? I do not eat fish or chicken or any seafood, etc. Basically, if it was alive at one time, I will not eat it.
Expert answer

Hi Mary. Your choice to be a vegetarian is a very good one. In fact, the newest version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages moving toward a more plant-based diet for optimal health. Getting adequate amounts of protein can be challenging for some vegetarians, especially vegans.

The recommended daily intake for most adults is 0.8 grams of good quality protein per kilogram of body weight each day. If you are a lacto-ovo vegetarian, meaning you eat dairy and eggs (they were not alive at one time so I'm assuming that you do), these are both very good sources of high-quality protein. I would encourage you to limit yourself to seven whole eggs a week to keep cholesterol intake down, but you can consume as many egg whites as you like, as they are one of the highest-quality proteins you can find.

Low-fat or fat-free dairy is also a very good source of protein and provides bone-building calcium and, in the case of fortified milk, vitamin D. If you do not eat eggs or dairy, there are still plenty of protein options including beans, peas, nuts, seeds and soy. Just watch your consumption of processed and packaged soy products, which are often loaded with sodium. And make sure to consume a variety of sources of protein to ensure that you get all the amino acids (the building blocks of protein) that you need daily.

You can certainly choose protein bars or drinks for convenience, just make sure to limit products with a lot of added sugar or fat. (Full disclosure: I have my own line of protein bars.) I recommend finding a protein bar with at least 10 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and no more than about 10 grams of sugar and 2 grams of saturated fat (Note that these suggestions apply to the average 200-calorie bar - if you choose a lower-calorie bar, the numbers should be lower. Also, if a bar contains dried fruit, sugar may be slightly higher).

When it comes to protein drinks, giving specific recommendations is more challenging, because the range of products varies considerably, but again I would aim for at least 10 grams of protein and try to limit added sugar as much as possible. If a protein drink contains milk, it will contain some milk sugar, which does not count as added sugar. Many of these drinks, however, are made with either loads of sugar, artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols, which some people choose to avoid, so the healthiest option may be to make your own smoothie with protein powder and fresh or frozen fruit if you choose to get your protein this way.

As a vegetarian, it is also important to make sure you get adequate amounts of iron, B12, zinc and calcium, so make sure to include foods rich in these nutrients, fortified foods or a supplement if necessary. In addition, because you do not eat any seafood, you might want to consider taking an omega 3 fatty acid supplement containing EPA and DHA (healthy fats found in fatty fish like salmon), especially if you are at risk of heart disease (risk factors include family history, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes and smoking).

soundoff (313 Responses)
  1. Kristin

    Beans, baby! Beans! I think it could also be argued that we all eat TOO much protein! I also think it could be argued that people should focus on quality amino acids, the building blocks of healthy muscles, rather than any kind of animal-based "protein". You are what you eat, and I don't want to be a cow :). All jokes aside, it's just a better way to live. I've been vegan for quite some time. I have fallen off the wagon here and there, mostly regarding cheese and eggs...I always notice a difference, a certain sluggish feeling.

    December 17, 2010 at 09:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Suzanne

      I feel that way now whenever I eat something that's really overprocessed or contains refined sugar, etc. Being veg has effectively gotten my body hooked on whole foods, because that's mainly what I eat (I do a lot of my own cooking, from scratch). It's a great feeling to look at breads, pastas and other things and think, "no, I'd better not, I'll regret it later" and go munch on some fruit instead.

      December 17, 2010 at 12:22 | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      I believe there should be a decent balance. why would you fall off a wagon, if you were not tempted. Key is not to avoid completely, but to have a good control. So, why not eat meat or whatever you are tempted to on the weekend (either you will look forward to it or you will slowly start hating it) – and be strict vegetarian rest of the week ??

      December 17, 2010 at 13:53 | Report abuse |
    • Valerie

      The writer of this article also does not mention that the more protein intake for women means less calcium absorption (and even calcium loss). Women need to watch their protein intake.

      December 17, 2010 at 14:01 | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Well, my previous post was never registered, so I'll just hit the high point-

      Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, which ultimately go to serve the function of reaction catalysts -> enzymes. So, if you eat protein, you are eating amino acids, be it animal or vegetable. Doesn't matter.

      December 18, 2010 at 11:58 | Report abuse |
    • JD

      There's no such thing as "quality" amino acids–amino acids are amino acids. However, there are ESSENTIAL amino acids that cannot be synthesized by the body and therefore must be consumed in food, in the form of protein. When people refer to "good protein" in food they are referring to the total protein content, the amino acid composition (whether it contains the essential amino acids), and whether or not it can be easily digested by the body. Where plant-based foods fall short is in the "total protein content" and "easily digested" categories. You are correct, though–beans are the best plant-based protein source based on those criteria.

      And not to be "that guy", but I DO have a Ph.D. in protein science:)

      December 18, 2010 at 13:01 | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Who offers a doctorate in Protein Science?

      December 18, 2010 at 14:31 | Report abuse |
    • NA

      Beans, EXACTLY! Actually, many people don't know this but in order to get all necessary amino acids (the building blocs of proteins) one only needs to eat a combination of lentigumes (lentils or legumes) and grain.

      December 18, 2010 at 18:21 | Report abuse |
    • Jessica

      Exactly...I'm dissapointed that this article did not mention any vegan sourses of protein, such as nuts and beans. We do not need any animal-based proteins to survive, and most people eat too much protein.

      December 18, 2010 at 21:52 | Report abuse |
    • Xilo

      Kevin – do a google search and you'll find a number of schools advertising PhD programs for protein science (or people who have one). And of course that doesn't include programs which are essentially that but by a different name.

      December 18, 2010 at 22:42 | Report abuse |
    • Jay Garth

      Yea , love the sprouted breads ! But I still eat butter and eggs and cheese.

      December 19, 2010 at 10:28 | Report abuse |
    • diggit

      Reading all the posts below, people being vegitarians why limit yourself like that? You should absolutely eat everything you can that you need to remain healthy. Atleast definately eat fish. To cut out dairy, eggs, fish, red meat and chicken all at once, you're probably doing yourself more harm than good in maintaining 100% health. Just be careful.

      December 19, 2010 at 16:03 | Report abuse |
    • NA

      Diggit, fish is unnecessary. There's a myth that we need fish for Omega 3, NOT TRUE! First of all there are nuts/nut oils. And second of all, how do fish get their Omega 3? SEA WEED! And though certain people may need animal flesh for health reasons, that is untrue for most people (and I'm speaking as a health professional). In fact, considering the status of most of our meat (at least here in the US), the feed, the environment in which they're kept, the hormones (the growth hormones given to cattle), the animal flesh most people eat is unsafe.

      December 19, 2010 at 19:53 | Report abuse |
    • diggit

      NA, fish is unnecessary? That's a myth? Really? If you really are a "health professional" I would think you would know fish is really, really good for you. It's good for the brain as well as other healthful benefits as well.

      December 19, 2010 at 21:07 | Report abuse |
    • born vegan

      Lentils, lentils, lentils. They are excellent source and beat eggs in protien and nutrition. There are some lentils, that provide 40% daily value of calcium. Any speciality Indian grocery store would have them. Get lentils and search for recipes on each them.

      December 19, 2010 at 23:10 | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      I eat lots of lentils and other beans (mostly lentils and black beans, though). I have also started eating quinoa. Also, lots of leafy greens, fruit and other strong anti-oxidants.

      December 20, 2010 at 06:00 | Report abuse |


      December 20, 2010 at 11:42 | Report abuse |
    • NA

      Diggit, yes fish is unnecessary. Fish is good for the brain because of its Omega 3 content, which is readily available in other foods, including the source from which fish get their Omega 3. And while there are health benefits, there are also health dangers, such as Mercury poisoning. So yes Diggit, as a health professional I stand by the fact that fish is unnecessary.

      December 20, 2010 at 16:42 | Report abuse |
    • Sylvia

      Beans don't digest well with most people, causing gas
      Try smashing them
      Other sources of protein soy milk, or almond milk – tofu products, edamame, and seiten. There are excellent mock proteins from the orient, that taste like meat chicken or fish, for new vegetarians.

      January 15, 2011 at 11:01 | Report abuse |
  2. AS

    I am surprised that you didnt mention enough about Lentils at all. Most Indians who are vegetarians since thousands of years have figured that this is their main source of protein and a vegetarian diet which does not depend enough on it is not complete and proven over generations.

    December 17, 2010 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • km

      I agree.

      December 17, 2010 at 13:34 | Report abuse |
    • NS

      Totally agree.. lentils are the best source of protein for Vegetarians.

      December 17, 2010 at 14:09 | Report abuse |
    • Stefan

      Lentils are a type of bean, which she did mention.

      December 17, 2010 at 14:49 | Report abuse |
    • Ma Kettle

      Also not mentioned is quinoa. It's one of the few grains (although technically a seed) that contains whole proteins in great abundance. http://chetday.com/quinoa.html

      Very poor research on this article. Hardly useful at all to someone looking for correct information.

      December 17, 2010 at 17:20 | Report abuse |
    • Venkat

      Amen! Been a vegetarian all my life and lentils (aka dal in India) is the best source of proteins for vegetarians. Curried lentil soup is the best!

      December 19, 2010 at 21:54 | Report abuse |
  3. Jose

    Let us evaluate this article: Eggs, Dairy and Milk are good sources of protein for Vegetarians. Gee I wonder.. since all of those are meat derived why not just tell them to eat meat? The only other suggestions for getting good protein include protein bars? Wasn't vegetarianism linked to natural foods? When was the last time you saw a protein bar growing wildly in the plains of the Serengeti (spelling) ? The nuts and seeds I can agree with are good food, but again, high in fat, so why limit yourself to low fat milk? Neither of these are the deep fryer fat that our doctors tell us to avoid?? And fish for a vegetarian?

    So lets add this up.. eat fish, eggs and dairy if you want to get a good amount of protein needed for sustaining your life. How is this a vegetarian diet? If anything, this would be a 'avoid red meat because I saw a video of an animal being slaughtered but I'll eat anything that can't make a cute face before it dies' diet.

    pure weapons grade balonium.

    December 17, 2010 at 11:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Suzanne

      "Eggs, Dairy and Milk are good sources of protein for Vegetarians. Gee I wonder.. since all of those are meat derived why not just tell them to eat meat?"

      Because you don't have to kill anything to get eggs and milk.

      Because eggs and milk are nutritionally different than meat.

      Because eggs and milk do not begin the decomposition process in your colon the way meat does.

      December 17, 2010 at 12:17 | Report abuse |
    • Valerie

      Death would be sweeter than the ways dairy cows and chickens are treated in factory farming operations.

      December 17, 2010 at 13:59 | Report abuse |
    • Ascended One

      Vegan is the only lifestyle that is a fully compassionate lifestyle since vegetarian eating includes eggs and milk. Chickens and cows are treated WORSE than ANY OTHER farm animals on earth. In order to produce milk, cows MUST be pregnant CONSTANTLY. The by-product of the dairy industry is the baby cows that are brutally mistreated, starved to death, stomped, ripped and torn away from their mothers as soon as they are born so that the milk that was intended for the baby cows can be stolen to provide milk-sucking humans with milk and cheese products. Chickens are tortured beyond belief just so egg-sucking humans can eat these bird eggs! Vegetarianism should be just a stepping stone to Veganism.

      December 17, 2010 at 15:53 | Report abuse |
    • Ma Kettle

      Not all people who eat eggs and drink milk are inhumane. I raise chickens for our own eggs. Best tasting eggs you'd ever have! My chickens frolic in the yard eating the diet God planned for them. They have a secure hen house with free access and enjoy following the kids around while they play outdoors. The only fence or cage you'll find on our land is a safety fence near the hen house to protect the chickens from woodland critters looking for an easy meal and a single cage stored under the hen house that we use to protect the random one that might get injured. Chickens are fickle creatures you see... if a chicken is removed from the flock long enough to heal the others are unlikely to let it back in afterwards. So the caged chicken is placed inside the coop safely with the others until it's healed enough to rejoin them. And they even get to raise their own chicks every spring. Life doesn't get any sweeter than enjoying a well lived life and giving life when you're done.

      Not all chicken farms practice such cruelty. If you want eggs from humanely treated chickens or milk from humanely treated cows shop locally and buy direct. Most farmers will happily allow you to visit the animals providing the meal ..... volunteer to shovel some poo while you're there!

      December 17, 2010 at 17:40 | Report abuse |
    • Ma Kettle

      And of course the diet God planned for the chickens coincidentally includes a majority of MEAT.

      December 17, 2010 at 17:42 | Report abuse |
    • oldguy

      So, MA ! Are you calling insects and worms 'meat'? or what? :
      "Ma Kettle
      And of course the diet God planned for the chickens coincidentally includes a majority of MEAT."

      December 17, 2010 at 23:21 | Report abuse |
    • Ma Kettle

      They most certainly are. And thank goodness we have chickens to eat them first so we don't have to. Chicken tastes much better.

      December 17, 2010 at 23:30 | Report abuse |
    • Indyman

      To all you narrow minded, "born-again" vegans: Vegetarians are doing their share, everyone must start somewhere. If you're concerned about "compassion" then show compassion for all humans, omnivores and veggies. I've been a veggie for over 25 years and I am always astounded at how small minded you vicious, foul mouthed, arrogant vegans can be. You are the worst PR for veganism AND vegetarianism. You make us all look like religious fanatics, mind your own business.

      I was vegan for many years then I started buying eggs from a local woman who raises chickens, cage-free and vegetarian grain fed. No cruelty at all. I buy soy milk only. Occasionally I'll enjoy a slice of pie or cake at a party, and sometimes I'll have a veggie sandwich at a restaurant and the chances are pretty high that the bread will have milk or eggs as an ingredient. You've done this too, unless you NEVER eat out. In fact, Jane Goodall once mentioned to Jon Stewart how ridiculous some borderline "militant" vegans are. If you have compassion for animals then have the same compassion for your fellow humans.

      December 18, 2010 at 02:31 | Report abuse |
    • with Ma Kettle

      Absolutely not all farms treat animals horribly! I get my eggs from a nearby family farm with free roaming ducks and chickens. They are only put into their coops at night to keep the coyotes from munching them. During the day, they wander around, eat the pest-bugs, worms, and whatever they'd like, and the ducks have their own pond for swimming. We also get some of our milk and cheese from their goats, which have babies once a year in spring. And those babies are raised with their mamas, get all the milk they need when they're young, and are very happy and socialized. We buy our meat from a local farm which feeds them right, treats them well, and doesn't go through large-scale processing facilities. Eating meat doesn't make someone evil.

      December 18, 2010 at 06:55 | Report abuse |
    • SA

      Dude, Milk is NOT meat derived. You will milk the cow to get milk, you would kill the cow to get the meat.
      And vegetarian food does NOT include Eggs, 'cos eggs are the early life of chicken!!!
      If one is a vegetarian or claim to be one or wanting to be one would eat only plant based foods and dairy. For dairy: refer to my first statement.

      December 18, 2010 at 10:28 | Report abuse |
    • Chimps and apes also eat other primates DUH!

      MA KETTLE- I love chicken and I love your comments. An oasis of sanity in the militant vegan church of thou shall not eat meat.

      December 18, 2010 at 16:44 | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      "And vegetarian food does NOT include Eggs, 'cos eggs are the early life of chicken!!!"

      That is not true. Only fertilized eggs are the early life of chickens. An unfertilized egg is not ever going to grow up into a chicken. Ever. In fact if vegetarians won't eat unfertilized eggs because they are "the early life of a chicken", then I would expect them not to have oral $ex either because the result is exactly as likely to grow up into a human as an unfertilized egg is to grow into a chicken.

      December 18, 2010 at 22:54 | Report abuse |
    • bathory

      i recently started eating tons of veal because i love how its made.

      December 20, 2010 at 09:00 | Report abuse |
    • Megan

      Whether or not to eat meat (beef, chicken, pork, fish, etc.) is a personal choice. I prefer to buy organic and free-renge products. That means the animals producing the eggs or milk don't come from factory-farm settings. However, the other reason I don't eat meat is because I'm overall healthier by refusing to eat it. Meat is a legitimate source of nutrients, but not necessarily the healthiest depending on how you use it and how often. Cholesterol is under control, and my blood-pressure lowered to normal levels (it used to be a little high when I was younger. I'm 26 for reference). It was also easier to begin to lose weight when I needed to because I already ate a lot of foods that are concidered "diet foods": namely fruits and vegetables. The one caveat of being vegetarian is where to get B12 which is only found in animal products. If you include milk and dairy then vegetarians need to worry about ever becoming B12 deficient. You get protein from nuts, beans, cheese, and dairy, and you take a supplement, which everyone should do anyway just to support your nutrient balance. It's not an unreasonable way to eat at all.

      December 20, 2010 at 13:58 | Report abuse |
    • JFS

      Do vegans not understand that hens lay unfertilized eggs, every day or two, with no roosters around? And that those eggs are not fertilized / not chickens-in-the-making? This is not a source of misery for the chicken. Furthermore, chickens can forage very effectively on chickweed and insects in your veggie garden, and return nutrients in bio-available form for the plants (aka chicken poop) helping to grow better vegetables with basically zero carbon footprint.

      As for beans, corn and beans complement each others amino acid profiles very well. Beans have plenty of lysine, which corn doesn't. And corn contributes some of the other essential amino acids that beans are rather low in. Together, they are food magic for vegans. The one major remaining issue is B vitamins. Look up vitamin B12 anemia. Nutritional yeast works, and so do some bacteria (a lot is synthesized by the bacteria in your lower gut, but too far down for you to absorb it.)

      December 21, 2010 at 21:32 | Report abuse |
  4. Jeepers

    Weren't most plants alive at one time?

    December 17, 2010 at 12:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NB

      A plant does not have a central nervous system.

      December 17, 2010 at 12:03 | Report abuse |
    • Suzanne

      Neither does a plant try to run away, bite me, or scream when I try to eat it.

      December 17, 2010 at 12:12 | Report abuse |
    • Lincoln Brigham


      A central nervous system is not an indicator of life. Can a plant be killed? Absolutely. Do plants react to attempts to kill them? Absolutely.

      Many plants are best eaten when as far from dead as possible.

      December 17, 2010 at 12:17 | Report abuse |
    • Suzanne

      @Lincoln – okay, LOL, you win. The day an eggplant in my garden rebels when I try to pick it and eat it is the day I'll just stop eating altogether and suck on rocks until I starve to death.

      December 17, 2010 at 12:19 | Report abuse |
    • Ascended One

      Plants were alive at one time. So are rocks. And your point is???

      December 17, 2010 at 15:55 | Report abuse |
    • Lincoln Brigham

      Rocks are (were) alive? Holy cow, if a line can be drawn anywhere between alive and not alive, one usually assumes that if only one thing could be on the side of "not alive" then rocks would be it.

      Are irrational people drawn to vegenism or does veganism make them irrational?

      December 17, 2010 at 17:11 | Report abuse |
    • Indyman

      Vegetarians don't kill plants. When you eat a potato or corncob or pea the plant still lives on, you just eat the product they produce, which they want you to eat anyways, so that they can propogate.

      December 18, 2010 at 02:21 | Report abuse |
    • JD

      Not to mention the earthworms and moles and insects that are killed by plowing the ground, or the bacteria and fungi on the surface of the tomato that get killed by your stomach acid... unfortunately it's just not possible to survive on truly inanimate objects.

      December 18, 2010 at 13:10 | Report abuse |
    • Jill

      The Jains are the only true vegetarians.

      No animals, no eggs, no milk, no beer, no wine, no honey, no eating the roots of plants (because it would kill the plant), no unfiltered water (so you don't kill bugs), no eating anything that has decayed (bugs), no eating at night (bugs), no storing food overnight (bugs).

      If you do any of these things, you're just a murderer who doesn't care about animals.

      December 21, 2010 at 13:56 | Report abuse |
  5. NB

    Note, it's 0.8g per kg, not milligrams i.e. about 55 grams for a man and 40 for a woman. There are many high quality proteins in great tasting fake 'meats'. Look out for Quorn, Morningstar, Boca, Gardein to name just a few and many of those are available in most regular grocery stores.

    December 17, 2010 at 12:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Suzanne

      I LOVE QUORN! Also, Morningstar's "Grillers Prime" tastes like every other pre-fab meatburger I've ever had before going veg, and it works great on the grill. My dad didn't even know he wasn't eating meat when I served him one. 🙂

      December 17, 2010 at 12:07 | Report abuse |
    • Ascended One

      Most of the products that you mention are GMO products and are POISON; I know for a fact that Morningstar is big time GMO. Eat only ORGANIC foods. Otherwise you are compromising your health.

      December 17, 2010 at 15:58 | Report abuse |
    • Indyman

      Ascended One – Calm down. We can't all be an "Ascended One" like you. So you can walk on water; try being nice. You'll influence many more people. Arrogance is so passe.

      December 18, 2010 at 02:36 | Report abuse |
    • JD

      GMO foods are "poison"? Most genetic modification is done by getting a plant to produce a protein that is normally made by another organism–that itself would be totally safe to eat–whose function is staves off pests without the use of pesticide. So when you eat GMO you are eating a tiny amount of an innocuous protein that would not normally be in that food. Big Whoop. "Organic" food, on the other hand, has usually been treated with "organic" pesticides (derived from plants) like the chemical rotenone, which we actually use in my laboratory to induce Parkinson's disease in mice. I'll take the GMO, please...

      December 18, 2010 at 13:19 | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      "Organic" has become as cliche as racist, fascist, and socialist. There's nothing intrinsically better about organic food or non-processed food. You want all natural, try some aflatoxin, an all natural compound that you'll find on some peanuts if they get a little moldy, and is more toxic than anything humans have manufactured. Selective breeding counts as genetic modification, and you'll not find anything out there in the food chain that has not been modified in that way.

      December 18, 2010 at 14:38 | Report abuse |
    • Chimps and apes also eat other primates DUH!

      Kevin- You have demonstrated yourself the fundamental difference in selective breeding and genetic modification. Selective breeding is what happens when you cross two or more genetic lines, resulting in hybrids with varying expressions of the characteristics contained in the parents. A GMO has been modified through alteration of the base genetic code. There is no procedural difference, one is the result of modifying the base genome and the other is still true breeding(albeit selective ie present cows have more vertebrae than their bovine ancestors due to selective breeding, resulting in more meat per animal). How are you not able to understand the difference in breeding a tulip for it's color compared to altering the genetic composition of a corn plant so it is unaffected by herbicides? I am not commenting on the safety of GMO food, just illustrating the significant difference between the two.

      December 18, 2010 at 17:06 | Report abuse |
  6. becca

    Eat a healthy vegeterian diet of nuts, fruit, vegetables, and legumes that include a wide variety of foods in each group when they're in season. Drink water and get plenty of rest at night and exercise through the day.

    December 17, 2010 at 12:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Suzanne

    I, too, am a vegetarian, and the majority of my protein comes from legumes, as well. I try to avoid all that processed stuff (protein bars, etc.) and stick mainly to whole foods... unbelievable difference in my body. I lost forty pounds without even trying, my digestion's better, my cholesterol's good, I have more energy, and my skin cleared up. About the only BAD thing about being veg is having more gas! (sorry!)

    December 17, 2010 at 12:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sam

      LOL @ gas ! All protein release gas when they decompose in the body. Eggs are the worst ! 😉

      December 17, 2010 at 13:58 | Report abuse |
    • At work

      Beans, beans, good for your heart. The more you eat, the more you fart 🙂

      December 17, 2010 at 14:42 | Report abuse |
    • Dolores

      Try Beano. It works quite well.

      December 18, 2010 at 01:21 | Report abuse |
    • with Ma Kettle

      The higher quality and fresher you go with eggs, the less gas you'll have. We switched to farm eggs (as in.. from the farm just down the road, and laid in the past 1-2 days) and they don't give you gas at all! But we bought store eggs to color for Easter, and just trying to eat them made us sick. The sulphur content was sooooo much higher in the store eggs that we were felt awful just trying to eat them.

      December 18, 2010 at 07:01 | Report abuse |
  8. Alicia

    So plants have never been alive?

    I'm just a bit confused ... I do believe that plants live and grow. Oh, but they don't have a 'brain' or 'feelings' ? Of course if you have a conversation with a very dedicated gardener, I think they'd disagree with you. Plants who are kept in a shaded area will grow towards the closest sunlight source because they need sunlight ... but I guess because they don't have fur or can't make noise, they don't count as 'living' things.

    December 17, 2010 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Suzanne

      They do not have central nervous systems. They do not have faces. They do not have brains.

      Not all vegetarians/vegans choose that lifestyle because of ethics; some do it for the health benefits, of which there are many.

      It's a personal choice.

      December 17, 2010 at 12:14 | Report abuse |
    • vman


      December 17, 2010 at 12:17 | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      Alicia, here's an experiment you can try. Cut a carrot in half with a knife. Then kill and slaughter a lamb. Then come back and engage us in a fascinating philosophical discussion about how killing plants and animals are basically the same thing.

      December 17, 2010 at 13:44 | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      Now Suzanne, we all know that potatoes have eyes, corn has ears, and artichokes have hearts. Also you are killing millions of innocent microorganisms every time you breathe.

      I have no idea where I'm going with this.

      December 17, 2010 at 13:44 | Report abuse |
    • At work

      Quit eating and die then...

      December 17, 2010 at 14:43 | Report abuse |
    • rab

      Yes, but Animals cannot be grown like Plants in cages for their entire lives. They don't undergo torture for their entire life only to be slaughtered in the end. They don't experience fear, feelings, sight, hearing, pain etc.. Just a name a few. It is not just killing in the end, but how they suffer thru their entire lives is the question that needs to be answered.

      December 17, 2010 at 15:46 | Report abuse |
    • Indyman

      When you eat a potato or corncob or pea the plant still lives on, you just eat the product they produce, which they want you to eat anyways, so that they can propogate.

      December 18, 2010 at 02:38 | Report abuse |
    • Ruby

      Clamw don't have a brain either.

      December 18, 2010 at 11:48 | Report abuse |
  9. ACL

    There is such a misconception about protein in this country. As an advocate for raw vegan cuisine I have people asking me all the time, "But gee, where do you get your protein?" If I wasn't getting protein I'd be ill, and I'm healthier now than I ever was. The reason is because ALL PLANT FOODS CONTAIN PROTEIN. Protein exists as a variety of amino acids, approximately 22 of them. Out of these 22 amino acids, the body can manufacture all but 9. These 9 amino acids are called essential because they can only be obtained through the food we eat.

    Animal flesh contains all 9 of these essential amino acids, while only a few plant sources have this complete essential amino acid profile. Those foods are buckwheat, quinoa and soy. Otherwise a vegetarian can practice food combining so that the amino acid missing from one plant source can be supplied by another to get the 9 essentials in one meal. Combos like beans and rice, peas and corn or legumes and seeds create a complete protein profile.

    However, it actually isn't even necessary to eat a complete protein profile at the same meal. Eating a varied diet throughout the day so that you get all the essential aminos in a 24 hour period will meet your protein needs.

    By the way, how did the cow, chicken or pig get the protein into it's flesh? From eating plants.

    December 17, 2010 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CMH

      The chances of me eating a raw vegan diet are nil but thank you for the lesson on amino acids! And I love quinoa – usually eat it as a side at dinner but I'm trying to incorporate into my breakfast as well.

      December 17, 2010 at 14:42 | Report abuse |
    • JD

      Agreed, but the issue is not just essential amino acids, but total digestible protein content (0.8g/kg/day, according to the article). For someone eating meat, this is no problem. Yes you can get there with beans and nuts and tofu, too, but it takes a lot more of them, and some people (myself included) may just not like to eat that much of those foods.

      December 18, 2010 at 14:05 | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      What do you think of hemp protein? Does it not have all the essential amino acids?

      December 22, 2010 at 15:09 | Report abuse |
  10. Lincoln Brigham

    Some comments about this quote from the article:

    "Your choice to be a vegetarian is a very good one. In fact, the newest version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages moving toward a more plant-based diet for optimal health. Getting adequate amounts of protein can be challenging for some vegetarians, especially vegans."

    First, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans might be responsible for the current obesity crisis. This is advice from a group that has a miserable track record by any standard.

    Second, it's important to note there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that a vegan diet is superior to a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. No evidence. There's also no evidence to suggest it's superior to a flexitarian diet either, aka the occasional vegetarian. People who say things like "I won't eat anything that had a face" are clearly making sacrifices to their health for some moral beliefs. Having to work extra hard to keep up the healthiness of other diets is NOT the sign of a superior diet, it's the sign of an inferior diet.

    December 17, 2010 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Suzanne

      I'm a vegetarian, and I feel great. It's a personal choice on a lot of levels. I happen to not eat meat because of ethics, but the side benefit is that I am in the best health of my life – and that's all the evidence I need to convince me that it was the right thing to do. Don't need any nutritional councils or animal rights activists to tell me what to do; I am my own evidence. 🙂

      December 17, 2010 at 12:53 | Report abuse |
    • abluesky

      Actually, there is incredibly significant evidence suggesting that vegan diet is superior to an ovo-lacto diet: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell.

      "most comprehensive large study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease." The New York Times

      The research project culminated in a 20-year partnership of Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, a survey of diseases and lifestyle factors in rural China and Taiwan. More commonly known as the China Study, "this project eventually produced more than 8000 statistically significant associations between various dietary factors and disease."

      The findings? "People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease ... People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease. These results could not be ignored," said Dr. Campbell.

      Here is my summation of the key finding: direct link between casein (milk protein) intake and cancer. Direct link between animal protein consumption and disease. No link between plant protein consumption and disease.

      Link: http://www.thechinastudy.com/

      December 21, 2010 at 19:48 | Report abuse |
  11. J

    Ha....I was thinking the same thing too. Um yeah, plants were once alive. This article is terrible. At least name some specific foods the woman can eat with lots of protein instead of naming food categories. For instance-some high protein extremely nutritious vegetarian foods are hemp, quinoa, lentils, tofu, tempeh. I should be writing this article.

    December 17, 2010 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Debbie

    Worms don't have faces, can a vegan eat them??? LOL.

    December 17, 2010 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lil johnny

      Hey, my worm has one eye.

      December 17, 2010 at 13:07 | Report abuse |
    • At work

      Eeew! lol

      December 17, 2010 at 14:46 | Report abuse |
    • Christina

      Thank you, you made me laugh out loud at work!!!


      December 17, 2010 at 15:41 | Report abuse |
  13. Kelli

    Isn't it 0.8 GRAMS of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, not mg – miligrams?

    December 17, 2010 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sebastian

      Glad to see someone pointed it out.
      According to the author, since I way 84 kg I would need 67.2mg which translate into .067 grams or .0002 ounces....

      This should be grams, giving a total of 67.2 grams for myself or 2.37 ounces of protein. (much more reasonable)

      December 17, 2010 at 14:51 | Report abuse |
    • Alan Meyer

      Yes. I hope the author or publisher made a typo and not that the author actually believes it should be .8 milligrams. .8 grams is a more reasonable number.

      December 18, 2010 at 16:08 | Report abuse |
  14. DragonAss

    Love plants, don't eat them.

    December 17, 2010 at 12:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Denial

    For those of you who think that no animals are killed to get milk and eggs, think again. If you drink milk you contribute to the veal industry. Male calves are taken from their mothers and sent to veal farms. So, if you don't agree with veal, you shouldn't drink milk. Also, you are contributing to the fact that babies are stolen from their mothers shortly after birth. As for eggs, male chicks are ground up after birth. They are not "needed" since they can not produce eggs and are not the proper species to produce optimum meat output. Here are the animals that are dying for your milk and eggs. The dairy and egg industries are equally, if not more, inhumane than the meat industry. Check into it.

    For those who say we shouldn't eat plants, vegetarians and vegans eat less plants that carnivores. How you ask? Well, about 60% of the plants that we grow in the US are grown to feed livestock. Thus, we eat less plants and are reducing our impact on living beings even more. Less plants are sacrificed by us as well.

    December 17, 2010 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CMH

      Denial – just so you know a lot of us are not in denial. I eat meat. I eat dairy. I eat eggs. And I am aware that animals are killed in the process. I obviously don't feel the same outrage you because I am not bothered by it. Also some people choose to get their milk, eggs and cheese from small independent farmers that do not 'kill' everything like you are describing.

      December 17, 2010 at 14:51 | Report abuse |
    • Lincoln Brigham

      Nobody with half a brain is under the impression that chickens don't die in the process of producing eggs and meat. Like many vegetarians, you make a straw man argument.

      Chickens are nothing more than little 4-pound factories that convert poor quality protein into high-quality protein, with astonishing efficiency. It's a renewable resource, it's a natural process. Compare that to soy protein, which is not natural and not efficient and not very high quality and possibly not even all that healthy. Oh yeah and soy protein doesn't taste like chicken, it tastes like crap.

      Oh and by the way for what it is worth: chickens themselves are not vegetarians. They are omnivores.

      December 17, 2010 at 15:40 | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Bones

      I don't get where people are coming from saying that we shouldn't eat plants. It's like they're trying to make a point against vegetarianism by attacking the shorthand language veggies use, i.e. "I don't eat anything that was alive" or whatever. No vegetarian is arguing that plants aren't alive. Are they basically saying, "You have to eat the way I eat and think the way I think, or you deserve to die?" That's immature thinking. That's how a 13 year old boy acts when he finds out you don't like his stupid screamy goth-metal music.

      I think seeing animals as "protein factories" is a little bit selfish and disrespectful, a nasty byproduct of fundamentalist religious beliefs that interprets certain words in Genesis as God saying, "These are for you. KILL AS MANY AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN, ALL THE FREAKING TIME!!! YAAAHH! TED NUGENT RULEZ!!!!." I mean, these creatures are giving up their lives so you can eat something that tastes good. I think you can show them a little more respect.

      And people have to work out their optimal diet for themselves. Check this out: I've experimented on myself. The Standard American Diet makes me feel like crap. An omnivorous but plant-heavy, high quality diet makes me feel very good. Lacto-ovo vegetarian makes me feel awful, but vegan made me feel like I was crackling with energy. So who's right? YOU are, but only if you arrive at your decision consciously.

      December 17, 2010 at 17:41 | Report abuse |
  16. Ken

    Fish oil is good. Those pesky fish feel no pain. Are we good or what?

    December 17, 2010 at 13:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Tonia

    As a vegetarian, there are way, way too many misplaced modifiers in this question and answer. Who's the vegetarian? Honestly.

    December 17, 2010 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Skottikins

    I was a lacto ova veg for a long time and then began eating meat again out of convience as my boyfriend is not veg. I dont feel all the worse for it, just keep it in moderation.

    December 17, 2010 at 14:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. ExB

    My husband and I have been vegetarian (occasionally ovo-lacto) for about 3 years. I am not going to spout off about the why, but the how is more important. We have found meat replacement very easy. We eat the Morning Star farms stuff, some Quorn and most recently we have found the Gardein stuff, it is the best! It tastes the closest to meat and therefore makes the desire to eat real meat less. Also, we have added a lot of beans, pasta and rice. You can get things like Tofurkey jerky to snack on and other sources of protein include seiten and tempeh. Do a google search for any of the things listed here and you will be on the right track for being a vegetarian. Keep in mind that if you are doing it for health reasons, frying foods in any kind of fat won't help. The closer the food is to fresh and raw, the healthier it is. So eat lots of fresh veggies. Whether you choose to become a vegetarian/vegan for health reasons or ethical reasons give yourself some time to get adjusted to your new diet and don't beat yourself up if you slip up. It happens! 🙂 good luck!!

    December 17, 2010 at 14:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Mike

    Tofu is a very good alternative to meat or fish products for a good source of protein. Some people don't like the flavor but I love it...

    December 17, 2010 at 14:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. DS

    I am pretty sure if she was a true vegetarian, she would not want to take fish oil pills as a supplement...

    December 17, 2010 at 14:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. rab

    You guys are crazy. All the articles that I have read about Vegetarianism asks the same question, how vegetarians get their protein as if vegetarians don't consume proteins and the only source is from meat.. There are 'millions' of people living in India as Vegetarians and are pretty healthy by following vegetariaism for 'generations'. You get it from lentils, beans..You can start with an Indian restaurants or an Indian Grocer to see the dozens of varieties of lentils we consume.

    December 17, 2010 at 14:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Itnobars

    Considering that India is one of the few countries with a majority vegetarian population in the world, I am surprised there was no mention of lentils, cheese, etc....even for those who are non-veg in India only 25-30% of their meals are non-veg the rest is usually legumes and veggies. One is spoiled for choice there in terms of variety of food, for vegetarians.

    December 17, 2010 at 14:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rab

      I beg to disagree. You can start with http://food.sify.com/. India is a land of diversity in terms of food, language, religion, sects, Gods etc....Vegetarianism is followed thru out India for centuries and each state (25+ states) cannot identify or recognize the other dishes even though you will find some common varieties everywhere. I challenge I can name more vegetarian dishes than you can identify non-vegetarian foods with totally different recipes.
      Most people think that vegetarianism is eating salads with spinach, lettuce etc.. I am trying to change the mind-set here. You just have to be open your eyes.. However having been in the US for the last 15 years, I can very well understand where most of you come from..Vegetarianism is not a new concept.. It so happens that Hinduism promote vegetarianism than most other religions..It has been there for centuries in India unlike Europe where most of the comparison is drawn from..

      December 17, 2010 at 15:03 | Report abuse |
    • Lincoln Brigham

      Vegetarianism in India is probably more a product of economic reality than health concerns. Meat is expensive.

      Life expectancy in India is not a statistic worth crowing about; it's in the bottom half worldwide. Life expectancy in India is even ranked lower worldwide than per capita income, so poverty alone does not explain their poor life expectancy.

      December 17, 2010 at 15:53 | Report abuse |
    • rab

      Africa's economy is worse than that of India. Just because you have the money and you can afford it doesn't make it a right. There are several millionaires and billionaires who follow vegetarianism..

      December 17, 2010 at 16:07 | Report abuse |
    • rab

      Even for health reasons, For a start, There are lot less cancers and autism rates in India than in the US. I would gladly live till 70 eating vegetables rather than be like a vegetable for the next 20 years..

      December 17, 2010 at 16:12 | Report abuse |
    • Itnobars

      Lincoln Brigham: Since you have obviously never been to India, I don't think you any right to comment and should just keep shut about things you don't know. Vegetarianism in India was rampant when Indian was the richest country in the World. There is a reason it is the only country with an Ocean named after it. Asia was far richer than the west for thousands of years. It's only in the past 4-500 years that West has become richer, so a little more humility on your end is required. Who knows in a few hundred years the tables might turn. The reasons for vegetarianism is religious, subject to the weather being hot (difficulty in storing meat safely) and just because eating an excessively meat based diet is was considered unhealthy.

      December 17, 2010 at 17:32 | Report abuse |
    • Lincoln Brigham

      If vegetarianism is so rampant in India, why does it have the third largest fishing industry in the world?
      Should someone in the West make health decisions based on religious views and climate in India?

      December 17, 2010 at 17:42 | Report abuse |
    • Itnobars

      Lincoln Brigham: You seem to be contradicting yourself! You just said how meat is so expensive! But isn't seafood much more expensive than meat? India happens to be surrounded by water with the Arabian Sea to the West, Indian Ocean in the south and Bay of Bengal in the East. So yes we have may have a big fishing industry. But we are also a very big country. The coastal region cuisines are primarily seafood based except few, but there are many landlocked regions where vegetarianism is the norm. IIt is a fact that a huge majority of Indians are vegetarian by choice, And no, I don't expect anyone to follow vegetarianism for the sake of religion or any moral reason. I myself am not one, however I do think the Western diet is excessively meat based (which may make sense in very cold climates). I mentioned India, to only point out that there is a whole array of vegetarian foods available which are just as nutritious as meat based diets....The variety of vegetarian cuisine recipes in India runs into thousands and is not confined to eating just salads. These cuisines have evolved over thousands of years.

      December 17, 2010 at 23:35 | Report abuse |
  24. Joseph

    As a long time vegetarian (over 20 years) it's easy to get quality protein. Legumes, soy products, etc. And the grain quinoa has complete protein of a higher quality than animal flesh. Find some good vegetarian cookbooks; it's not hard at all. You don't need protein bars or drinks. Some people use a product like Braggs Complete Amino Acids instead of soy sauce too.

    December 17, 2010 at 14:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Matt

      I love Braggs! I was a vego for 18 years and converted back to meat. Sill love the the vegetarian diet, but I feel so much better with a little red meat thrown in. Meat is a drug and nothing compares. Don't need much, but a little and your body will thank you. Were ARE omnivore by design, do with it as you will.

      December 18, 2010 at 22:53 | Report abuse |
  25. Noocrat

    I've never understood how nuts are considered a good source of protein.

    The average nut, cashew, almond, etc will have 6g-8g of protein per 180 kilocalorie servering. The average American male needs 60g of protein per day. This means to get the necessary amount of protein they would need to eat approximately 1350-1800 kilocalories worth of nuts a day to make their minimum. That means 67.5-90% of an average 2000 kilocalorie diet would be nuts. Do you know how ridiculous that sounds?

    Of course their are other sources of protein, eggs, cheese, etc, but I'm just trying to illustrate how nuts are not necessarily "good." I would understand "average" or "adequate", but math doesn't makes nuts sound like a really "good" source to me.

    90 kilocalories worth of egg beaters can get you 18g. THAT is a good source of protein.

    December 17, 2010 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Erica F

    Excuse me, but I believe plants are also alive before they are harvested for eating. Just a thought.

    December 17, 2010 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rab

      Yes, but Animals cannot be grown like Plants in cages for their entire lives. They don't undergo torture for their entire life only to be slaughtered in the end. They don't experience fear, feelings, sight, hearing, pain etc.. Just a name a few. It is not just killing in the end, but how they suffer thru their entire lives is the question that needs to be answered.

      December 17, 2010 at 15:38 | Report abuse |
    • Lincoln Brigham

      Of course animals can be grown in cages for the rest of their lives. Happens all the time. They often live longer and more stress-free lives than their wild brethren.

      There's a myth going around that animals in the wild live peaceful, happy lives. Nothing more could be further from the truth. Animals that live in the wild, especially the ones that humans most frequently use for food, exist in abject terror and paranoia most of the time. Then they invariably die horrible, painful deaths. There is nothing humane about death in the wild. What on earth makes people think that a painfree death is an animal's right?

      December 17, 2010 at 17:01 | Report abuse |
  27. es4d

    no mention of tempeh or hemp? – both GREAT sources of unprocessed protein, O3s, O6s, etc. supplementing a meat free diet with processed soy products in not healthy. most soy is processed and genetically modified to use caution when consuming. those societies that have used soy for centuries do use soy as meat or protein replacement. too much soy inhibits thyroid function and contributes to an increase in estrogen production. GROW MORE POT!!!

    December 17, 2010 at 15:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • es4d

      "centuries do use soy as meat or protein replacement."
      CORRECTION (typo): do* NOT* use soy as a meat or protein replacement.

      go for fermented soy.

      December 17, 2010 at 15:18 | Report abuse |
  28. Joe

    I'm a bit surprised that seitan, tempeh and soy-based products were not included in the answer here. Those are great and delicious and even non-vegetarians enjoy them.

    December 17, 2010 at 15:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. CatastropheCathy

    I'm not a vegetarian but I often have vegan meals. Healthy veggies, nuts and fruit are where it's at as far as I'm concerned. I don't like dairy products at all. They seem to bother my sinuses.

    December 17, 2010 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Carl L.

    I think Dr. Melina Jampolis is a bit short-sighted or just wants to talk about protein-bars and shakes because she sells them. No mention of nuts and beans and rice? A good combo of those and you get all the protein you need. And saves lots of money over buying the over-sweet and sticky protein bars – yuck. A vegi or vegan diet can be a tasters delight and very good for you.

    December 17, 2010 at 15:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BDean

      Dr. Jampolis was simply answering the readers question. Did you read it? They asked what protein drink or bar would be recommended. And in fairness the doctor says to used these only for convenience.

      December 17, 2010 at 16:19 | Report abuse |
  31. HS

    Diary, eggs, soy, nuts, beans and legumes are some of the good sources of protein for vegetarians. It is unhealthy to stick to just one or two sources for all the protein needs since all of the above sources provide more than just protein. You will be missing other benefits. For an optimal health, get protein from all the different sources mentioned above. Whole foods and other stores who carry ethnic foods sell few varieties of beans and legumes. In addition, if you visit some ethnic grocery stores, you will see many varieties there.

    December 17, 2010 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. peaceandlove

    you do not need protein from dairy or animal sources. Dark green leafy vegetables, a raw organic green juice diet will give you all the necessary nutrition.

    December 17, 2010 at 16:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cole

      Except that leafy greens and juice don't have any protein worth mentioning. It'd take over 300g of spinach just to get 10g of protein. And, if you eat nothing but vegetables (no supplements), you'll die.

      So, no, vegetables don't supply all the necessary nutrition.

      December 17, 2010 at 16:36 | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      Let me see if I can pick you out of a lineup. Ah, yes, the green sickly-looking person who has a cabinet full of vitamins to make up for the lack of nutrients in their scientifically unsound, unnaturally herbivorous diet.

      December 17, 2010 at 21:08 | Report abuse |
    • JD

      Raw organic green juice diet? Yum! Sign me up!

      Sorry, not trying to be judgmental–more power to you. But that does not sound appetizing at all.

      December 18, 2010 at 14:15 | Report abuse |
  33. Boka

    I tried going vegetarian. I would eat veggies during the week and then meats on weekend. But I just felt tired all the time. And interesting I wasn't loosing any weight. Now I eat meat at every meal including veggies. But I reduced the carbs to very little. I lost 40 lbs and I feel great. People eat way too much carbs. Stick to protien and leave out the pastas breads and starchy veggies.

    December 17, 2010 at 16:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BDean

      To be healthy, excess protein is not what you need. It may work for short-term weightloss but not your overall health. There are many more choice to vegetarian diet than breads and starchy potatoes. If you decide to try again, I'd recommend you read about healthier vegetarian options.

      December 17, 2010 at 16:24 | Report abuse |
    • JD

      He/she didn't say he was eating EXCESS protein, just meat. If he/she sticks to that 08g/kg/day rule and gets all his veggies and vitamins and limits carbs, that's probably about as healthy a diet as you can get, I would bet. I would like that diet, actually, but I love carbs too much!

      December 18, 2010 at 14:19 | Report abuse |
    • NA

      People do eat too many carbs, especially considering the inactive lifestyle most of us leave, but carbs are essential. For most people carbs are the most important part of one's diet. Carbs= energy. We shouldn't cut out all carbs, but should modify the type of carbs we eat. Whole grains, and carbs from fruits/veggies are key. White carbs and simple sugars are the problem. As long as we rely on complex carbs, and don't overfeed ourselves, there shouldn't be an issue.

      December 20, 2010 at 17:42 | Report abuse |
  34. DNA

    We all come from the jungle. If it grows in the jungle, EAT IT! ... nuts, fruit, green leaves, beans, even the occasional egg, bird, fish or pig!

    December 17, 2010 at 16:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Zee

    Protein bars and drinks? Really? Loaded with garbage, and fattening to boot. I've been eating vegan for years, my hemoglobin is 14.4 (I know, not protein related, but I included it to emphasize general state of health) and I have no problem getting protein, either – I eat a lot of tofu, some seitan, lots of beans, some nuts/nut butters, sprouted grain tortillas. One need not look too far for low fat, high quality non-animal proteins. Relying on lacto-ovo proteins is high in cholesterol and fat. Unfortunately, successful veganism means learning how to prepare your own food....but wait, being healthy and not eating junk in general means learning how to prepare your own food..... Stock up on vegan cook books.

    December 17, 2010 at 16:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cole

      You brought up hemoglobin for general health? Are you kidding me? Relying on eggs and dairy bad because of cholesterol and fat? Are you kidding me? I'll just make the obvious corrections in your post.

      1. Protein bars and drinks are low in fat (but tend to be high in sugar).
      2. The staples for the ovo-lacto vegetarian, milk, eggs and yogurt are very low in fat.
      3. Dietary cholesterol is fine and has a minor impact on your total levels. The big impact is from...
      4. Consuming too much (bad) saturated fat, which is used by the body to produce (bad, LDL) cholesterol, isn't good.
      5. Fat isn't the enemy. Plenty of fats are good for you. "Low fat" doesn't mean it's good for you.

      December 17, 2010 at 17:08 | Report abuse |
  36. Kurt

    You know you might be gay if you either #1 are a vegetarian and #2 have a pounding sensation in your bung.

    December 17, 2010 at 16:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lesann

      God, your stupid.

      December 17, 2010 at 21:34 | Report abuse |
    • lesann


      Why would you make such a ridiculous statement?

      December 17, 2010 at 21:35 | Report abuse |
  37. Zee

    Did a health professional recommend protein bars and drinks? Really? Loaded with garbage, and fattening to boot. I've been eating vegan for years, my hemoglobin is 14.4 (I know, not protein related, but I included it to emphasize general state of health) and I have no problem getting protein, either – I eat a lot of tofu, some seitan, lots of beans, some nuts/nut butters, sprouted grain tortillas. One need not look too far for low fat, high quality non-animal proteins. Relying on lacto-ovo proteins is high in cholesterol and fat. Unfortunately, successful veganism means learning how to prepare your own food....but wait, being healthy and not eating junk in general means learning how to prepare your own food..... Stock up on vegan cook books.

    December 17, 2010 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cole

      Yes, a health professional did, because she, unlike you (which I've pointed out in your previous post), knows what the hell she's talking about. You're clearly one of those ethical-veg-nuts who is hell bent on trying to prove that your life-style is somehow superior, and you'd stoop to stating blatantly false information in order to support your baseless case.

      December 17, 2010 at 17:11 | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      Your body naturally produces cholesterol. And carbohydrates make you fat. Fat does not make you fat. The Inuit and the Masai eat just meat and fat and have no cardiovascular disease. You're thin because you don't eat enough, not because you are eating healthy. If you don't like eating animals, just say so. But don't claim that humans are natural herbivores.

      December 17, 2010 at 21:05 | Report abuse |
  38. kc

    i love that you eat nothing living b/c plants and fungi are both living.

    December 17, 2010 at 17:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. confused042586

    To all those talking about meat substi-tutes used in order to quell meat cravings, isn't it possible that you crave meat because you should eat it

    December 17, 2010 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rk

      Possibly. But people crave sugar, alcohol, and cigarettes too... and those aren't good for us.

      December 20, 2010 at 17:59 | Report abuse |
  40. Lincoln Brigham

    Am I the only one who noticed that Dr. Jampolis is advising the consumption of 0.8 milligrams (mg) of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day? For a 75 kilo man that would be 0.06 grams. That's not right.

    December 17, 2010 at 18:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. thewindup

    It's super easy for veggies to get enough protein : http://windupwagon.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/what-the-teff-3/

    December 17, 2010 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. realisticexpectations

    Interestingly enough, we're designed to be omnivores, not herbivores, despite what the more rabid treehuggers amongst us would have us believe.

    And has an addendum, I knew a rabbit who loved to eat chicken. (not my rabbit, but it was reminiscent of Monty Python and the Holy Grail)

    December 17, 2010 at 18:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Marco

    I heard a great source of protein is STEAK. And BACON. But if you don't like that, I have a buncha man gravy you can eat.

    December 17, 2010 at 18:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RICK

    Too much work !!!!!!..............Im going to Mc Donalds

    December 17, 2010 at 18:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RICK

    ....and then Im having a smoke

    December 17, 2010 at 18:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Bob

    The government's protein recommendation is 0.8 grams / kilogram body weight, not 0.8mg as stated in the article.

    December 17, 2010 at 19:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Peter

    How about meat? That is what we were designed to eat: carnivorous teeth, proteases, short gut most like cats, inability to synthesize certain essential nutrients (again, like cats). Humans were healthy until they started eating things they were not fit to consume: namely, grass seeds (wheat and other grains). That is the same time that chronic inflammatory and auto-immune diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc. began. Eat what cavemen ate – the paleolithic diet: grass-fed beef (low in omega 6 and high in omega 3), fish, nuts, fruit and vegetables, no wheat or other grains. The healthiest people on the planet are hunter-gatherers and there are almost no native peoples that are naturally strictly vegetarian. Vegetarians are not thin because they are healthy but because they are calorically restricted. And if they don't consume handfuls of vitamins and other essentials like B12 then they get even sicker. The obesity epidemic began when everything went "low-fat" and people started eating less meat and fat and more carbohydrates, and the increase in cardiovascular disease (metabolic syndrome) followed. The sad thing is that most 'experts' are dead wrong – physicians (and i am one), nutritionists, and the FDA food pyramid. Do you see the problem getting better? I thought so.

    December 17, 2010 at 20:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lesann

      I'm a vegetarian, and I am not thin. I don't take handfuls of vitamins either. Making such sweeping generalizations makes your argument and logic flawed. I recently had my bloodwork done and everything, including my B12, is within range. You know, I don't care what you eat or why you eat it. I don't like meat and it has never appealed to me. I'm not going to force myself to eat something I just don't like. I eat a balanced diet with plenty of protein and vitamins. My cholesterol is 188, and I am extremely healthy.

      Your post comes across as a threatened, petulant child. I am curious as to why you are so threatened.

      December 17, 2010 at 21:44 | Report abuse |
    • DsylexicHippo

      We were "designed" to eat meat because we have carnivorous teeth? Coming from a physician, I suppose that is very impressive. Did you forget, good doctor, that besides carnivorous teeth we humans also possess something called a brain that is significantly more evolved than those in cats? The ability to make conscious, considered, ethical and pro-health decisions is uniquely human. Please desist from making ignorant statements like "there are almost no native peoples that are naturally strictly vegetarian". There are many in India. I am a vegetarian and I am not thin – not fat either but certainly not thin or sick in a nutritionally deficient way.

      I am frankly astounded that you are a physician. Your knowledge or lack thereof is a humbling reminder that not all is good at the Neanderthal School Of Paleolithic Medicine.

      December 17, 2010 at 23:14 | Report abuse |
    • R

      Carnivorous teeth? Because, yeah, let me tell you, we certainly have the physical ability to rip a raw carcass apart with our mouth alone. First thing I think of when I look at my teeth is how similar they are to a lion's...

      I'm so sick of being attacked not only for my choice to be as compassionate as I can toward other beings, but of also constantly having to prove that vegetarianism is a healthy alternative to a meat-based diet. I am not under or overweight, have plenty of energy, and am perfectly healthy. I get plenty of protein – it's not that difficult , and as some have mentioned, the SAD is often loaded with far too much of it.

      I don't understand why some people are so deadset on proving the evil vegetarians wrong. Most of us are trying to make a change that is best for ourselves and the creatures that we believe should protect instead of exploit. Simple as that.

      December 18, 2010 at 08:22 | Report abuse |
    • JD

      I don't agree with all of the things he wrote, but I don't see this as an attack on anyone, just someone expressing his viewpoint about the issue. He didn't call anyone any names. Why are you all getting so defensive? I know it is tough to be vegetarian in our society, but so many people make it tougher by being constantly defensive and hyper-critical of anyone who challenges them.

      Anyway I agree with the general argument: our bodies are clearly "designed" to be omnivores, not strict carnivores or vegetarians. At the same time, I'm sure a vegetarian diet is healthier most of the time.

      December 18, 2010 at 13:54 | Report abuse |
    • R

      I wasn't quite speaking to this person in particular, but just expressing my frustration at constantly being made to feel that I am doing something wrong by making compassionate, healthy choices. Am I defensive? Sure as hell I am. This is an article about vegetarianism and some people are coming in and posting "meat is neat!", "plants are alive, too!" and the like. It's ridiculous. I don't force my opinions on anyone else and would never go onto an article about hamburgers and steaks (and I've seen a few here on CNN all about grilling) and try to tell people they can't do that . It's disrespectful. People have likes and dislikes and reasons for choosing to abstain or not abstain from animal products.

      Also, the above poster came in and said that vegetarians are thin because they lack nutrients and calories. That's one of the most common responses I see from defensive omnivores and it makes me laugh. Anyone who would say such a thing obviously knows nothing about what vegetarianism means. So yes, if my way of living is questioned, of course I am going to defend myself.

      December 18, 2010 at 15:32 | Report abuse |
    • NA

      OMGoodness! Where'd you get your information from? HUMANS ARE DESIGNED TO BE OMNIVORES, NOT CARNIVORES. We are not like cats, we are NOT members of the CARNIVORA order. Hunter gatherers are healthy because they have a varied diet, they travel and get many different types of fruits and nuts, and the GATHERING actually provide them with the majority of their food over large game hunting. We like most other apes are omnivores, and as such we can adapt as either herbivores or carnivores depending on the demands of the environment. Though because of the status/treatment of our "meat," our lifestyle, and the availability of varied nutrients in the US a meatless diet (I say meatless because most vegetarians/vegans probably eat fungus) is probably the better choice over a purely "carnivorous" diet, and would provide the same nutrition for most people as an omnivorous diet.

      December 20, 2010 at 18:01 | Report abuse |
    • NA

      Oh wow, you're a physician? I'm SHOCKED!

      December 20, 2010 at 18:05 | Report abuse |
  48. Andrew

    Poorly written, one big mistake it is 0.8g/kg of protein per day is the current recommendation. Not 0.8 mg/kg! How many hours of dietetic classes have you had??

    December 17, 2010 at 20:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. JB

    The writer of this article is not very vegetarian savvy. Vegetarians do NOT have trouble getting protein! That's a myth. And we dont' usually get it from cheese and eggs. You can get great healthy protein sources from beans, nuts, seeds, legumes, lentils. These are options are high quality protein options because they are also low in fat and high in fiber. Skip the cheese and dairy, they cause cancer (read The China Study).

    December 17, 2010 at 22:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lincoln Brigham

      The China Study has been debunked ad nauseum.

      December 18, 2010 at 02:07 | Report abuse |
  50. JB

    P.S. Also quinoa... it is a complete protein, so it is an excellent vegan source of protein!

    December 17, 2010 at 22:58 | Report abuse | Reply
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