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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 (302 Responses)
  1. Rabin

    I think RDA is 0.8 gm (NOT 0.8 mg/kg ) of ideal body weight for adult. 0.8 mg seems much less !!!!!! Pls correct me if I
    am wrong.

    December 17, 2010 at 23:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. gladysdavis

    I love the free sample site "123 Get Samples" search online to find their official website, that's where i get most of my samples from!!! yay i love free stuff.

    December 18, 2010 at 00:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. George B from Ohio

    I'm a vegetarian but not vegan. As far as protein I eat three egg whites per day (from free range chickens) and maybe a couple of cubes of goat cheese, bean soup and usually drink a couple of whey protein drinks and eat a proetein bar ... so I get a lot of protein. Not cheap though. I lift weights and do sports functional fitness training and I'm pretty well toned. I've seen vegetarians that eat a lot of pasta and do not exercise and don't look like the "fountain of fitness" if you get my drift, but at least they are not feasting on the flesh of other living creatures. People can call me a flake if they want for being a vegetarian, like I said I'm in pretty good shape and a martial arts guys, so I not intimidated by the macho gun totin' NASCAR / NRA crowd. As far as the vegans who think I'm a horrible person for eating free range eggs and free range goat cheese ... sorry I have not reached your level of spiritual evolution.

    December 18, 2010 at 00:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. what to do

    I would love to increase my veg diet but because of allergies to nuts, fruits (mostly those with pectin in the skins), and ibs(which means lots o' greens and veg give me cramps) what am I supposed to do? I eat a lot of tofu, but I have to say it gets pretty boring after awhile. Beans too. I don't eat red meat, but given my limited diet I add in chicken and fish to at least keep me interested in eating.

    December 18, 2010 at 04:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LEB

      Insoluble fiber is what triggers your IBS, so one of the easiest things to do is peel your fruits and veggies (a huge amount of plant fiber is in the skin), and them cook them so they get tender... steam, grill, saute, whatever your fancy. It also helps if you eat them mixed with or alongside foods with soluble fiber, and only mix a little in to start. For example, some fried white rice with carrots and peas. Start with a small amount (2 or 3 bites) of these veggies, then slowly increase over time as your digestive tract becomes accustomed.

      December 20, 2010 at 04:07 | Report abuse |
  5. jim d

    i'm no biologist but i'm 100% positive plants were alive at one time

    December 18, 2010 at 09:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. J-Mo

    The Hemp seed is the best choice in this world for protein that includes all amino acids and all the omega 3,6,and 9 a person wants. Our bodies desire this meat!!!

    December 18, 2010 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. momie8x

    Obviously the person who wrote this article hasn't a clue about what it is to be a Vegan or a Vegetarian.I for one am not, but my 19 yr.old dauughter is and has been since the age of 7. She is meticulous about reading every single ingredient lable..Take a supplement for omega-3? lol.. dumb butts.. it contains fish !

    December 18, 2010 at 09:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JR

      Actually you can get Omega 3 supplements made from algae.

      December 18, 2010 at 09:33 | Report abuse |
    • non-militant vegan

      there is also flaxseed oil which contains the good omegas...

      December 18, 2010 at 10:34 | Report abuse |
    • Cole

      Flaxseed oil isn't as good as fish oil when it comes to the omega 3.

      December 18, 2010 at 10:43 | Report abuse |
    • JD

      I thought the same thing. There was actually a weed in my yard when I lived in Denver that turned out to be a plant that has the highest omega-3 content of any plant–can't remember the name now. I remember it was used a lot in medditeranian (sp?) food, and it tasted like green apple. Anyway, it literally grows like a weed! Get some of that for your omega-3. It's a common yard weed in the Rocky mountain region, at least.

      December 18, 2010 at 13:39 | Report abuse |
  8. JR

    I'm an omnivore, but want to point out that if you are a vegetarian and you ask a simple question like this, you haven't done your homework.

    Nine essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein, are necessary for life. Get some books, google your heart out, but get educated on the physiology. Then do what you want.

    You can function in life with a rudimentary knowledge about nutrition if you're an omnivore. You'll end up getting those nine by eating animal based material. However, if you're a vegetarian and most especially if you're seriously vegan, you need to know a lot more about what your body requires in order to do it right, else you can end up deficient.

    If you care enough about the subject matter to be that strict with your diet, you should care enough to take the time to get the knowledge necessary to do it in a healthy way.

    December 18, 2010 at 09:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. betsy shipley

    We have developed an easy way of making tempeh at home. Tempeh is a high protein alternative to meat and will absorb any flavors that you marinate it in.
    http://www.makethebesttempeh.org

    December 18, 2010 at 10:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kim

      Sorry, Betsy, but tempeh looks abolutely disgusting.

      December 20, 2010 at 21:21 | Report abuse |
  10. non-militant vegan

    I've been vegetarian for 26 yrs, and vegan the last 18 months. It is my CHOICE. I don't try to "convert" others. I respect their own choices. What I do is try to share my delicious vegan dishes with others - to show them that it isn't all tofu and tempeh. My chili has won a cook-off against chilis with meat ingredients. I find that positive actions demonstrating that a truly plant-based diet can be absolutely delicious, satisfying and, of course, healthful has a greater impact than being disrespectful of others' choices.

    December 18, 2010 at 10:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Joe Vegan

    Go VEGAN, Everyone listen to me.
    There is no need to eat the flesh or by product of animals.

    We have beans and lentils and greens and wheat. Thats all we really need to live a long and healthy life.

    December 18, 2010 at 10:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cole

      I'd rather eat meat and everything else and live a long, healthy, happy life.

      December 18, 2010 at 10:47 | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      There's no need to do a lot of things in life, but like most of the things we want to do, we do what makes us happy, what we enjoy, and often it is a result of weighing competing interests, concerns, etc. against that.

      December 18, 2010 at 14:33 | Report abuse |
    • Chimps and apes also eat other primates DUH!

      Listen to me, not Joe! Everyone become an omnivore, be what your body was designed to be. Eat meat, eat veggies, just eat good sources of food. Just because a cow has a cute face doesn't mean that eating meat is murder. On the contrary, it's just so yummy to dig in to a nice rare rib-eye( especially since I get my beef from a local farm ).

      December 18, 2010 at 14:37 | Report abuse |
  12. oneSTARman

    COMPLIMENTARY PROTEINS – I didn't see anybody talking about this and if they did its IMPORTANT to mention again – since THE ARTICLE IS SUCH A POOR ANSWER TO TH QUESTION POSED – the idea is to get NATURAL protein – not chemical sludge drinks. BEANS an RICE – PEANUT BUTTER on WHOLE WHEAT bread – its about COMBINING, usually grains with beans and nuts – soy products like TOFU and also MEAT-LIKE vegetarian products added on for variety. This gives all the protein components needed to build a strong, healthy HUMAN.

    December 18, 2010 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cole

      Body builders and a lot of professional athletes, some of the fittest people on the planet, regularly consume these "chemical sludge drinks." Would you care to revise your biased statement?

      December 18, 2010 at 10:50 | Report abuse |
    • oneSTARman

      processing food into chemicals is not what God or Mother Nature intended. Our bodies are meant to be from the Earth not from a BORG hive production facility PUMPED UP by IRON and JUICE.

      December 18, 2010 at 10:59 | Report abuse |
    • Cole

      And how do you know what God or Mother Nature intended?

      December 18, 2010 at 11:01 | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Cooking food is processing it. Everything we do to food, even the crops we raise, be they directly engineered or indirectly through selective breeding, are processed in some form. A reasonably well balanced diet, moderate calorie consumptions, and some measure of exercise is what one needs to target. All of the minutia about food over which we obsess is a waste of time and energy when taken in the greater context of risks we face in life.

      December 18, 2010 at 14:34 | Report abuse |
    • JD

      Kevin–that's the most sensible thing I've read on here. One of the reasons I reject vegetarianism is that I feel it is partly based on an inflated sense of our own power over our fates. I doubt that the differences between eating omnivore, vegetarian, vegan, organic, or non-organic has any statistically significant effect on our lifespan or quality of life (eating nothing but cheeseburgers and pizza probably does, however)–besides which that any one of us could die in a car wreck today, regardless of what we ate for breakfast.

      December 18, 2010 at 14:51 | Report abuse |
    • NA

      Exactly! Though I'd be careful with soy/tofu products. Many people (especially women) have allergic reactions to soy. And since soy is in nearly everything found in the US, it isn't necessary to add more to the diet.

      December 20, 2010 at 16:44 | Report abuse |
  13. CowsAndHorsesEatGrass

    Simple bio science: neither cows nor horses nor elephants eat any animal based proteins, just mainly grass, and yet they have powerful muscles and skeletal systems. Our biology is only a little different and more similar to apes and chimps who also eat mainly green vegetable sources and fruits. Chimps do eat about 5-10% bugs. So the conclusion is that we humans can get most of what nutrition we need from the plant world. The fresh plant world. But each human is different so some may want to eat a few creatures that walk around and try to run away. The bottom line is if the body gets the necessary nutrients it can build muscle just like cows and horses do.

    December 18, 2010 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cole

      Cows and horses can also properly digest cellulose while human beings and many other animals can't. Cows also do the whole cud thing – Would you like to throw up what you ate so you can chew it over again?

      December 18, 2010 at 11:13 | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      Actually, the digestive tracts of humans and chimps ARE dissimilar. We are not descended from the modern great apes, we branched off from them well over 1 million years ago. Just look at the comparative ratios of our small intestines : colons, and you'll see that we have a great deal more small intestine compared to chimps.

      With that being said, elephants and whales are distantly related to each other. Do you see them eating the same foods?

      December 20, 2010 at 21:28 | Report abuse |
  14. ChimpsAndApesEatGrassAndLeaves

    Chimps and apes are very close to the bio-chemistry of humans. They don't need to eat protein sources to have strong muscles. Humans can have very good health with very small amounts of animal protein in the diet. One egg a week is sufficient for most. Some humans can get all necessary proteins from legumes. But it's important to eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruits that are fresh and not over cooked, so that maximum nutrients can be absorbed by the body.

    December 18, 2010 at 12:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Not a liberal schmuck

    Well, women vegitarians have a ready and unending source of protein. All they need is to extract it from their male partners. Heck, these fella's even come with a convienient straw, too......

    December 18, 2010 at 13:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JD

      So I guess you're a conservative schmuck, then...

      December 18, 2010 at 13:29 | Report abuse |
  16. sunzane

    I've been an ovo-lacto vegetarian for nearly 15 years and regularly eat legumes. I recently implemented a new exercise regimen with weights and resistance training and have actually seen an increase in muscle mass! I'm not going into body building, obviously, but it's not a bad result for a woman.

    What kills me is that articles like this focus upon what vegetarians are missing from their diets. Nobody cares about what vitamins and minerals that the majority of people are missing from their diets because they don't eat enough fruits and vegetables (or because they don't go in the sun enough to get Vitamin D)! Maybe I'm missing a few things like Omega-3 because I don't eat fish, but cheeseburgers and fries don't replace everything that the body needs, either.

    December 18, 2010 at 13:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sunzane

      Also, I'd like to point out that, even if you get every single vitamin and mineral that you need, that you can still cut your life short with obesity! You should ask doctors how many of their patients have diabetes and high blood pressure. Frankly, it's not simply burgers that do that. Now, people are trained not to eat even a single serving of fruit unless it has a cup of sugary syrup dumped on it.

      December 18, 2010 at 13:47 | Report abuse |
    • Chimps and apes also eat other primates DUH!

      Neither does a glass of wheat juice.

      December 18, 2010 at 14:22 | Report abuse |
    • NA

      Sunzane, you can get plenty of Omega 3 from nuts, and the source of the fish's Omega 3 seaweed!

      December 20, 2010 at 19:27 | Report abuse |
  17. Gwen

    I'm so glad that I became a vegetarian this year. I decided after a weekend of doing research and background on nutrition if it was a choice that I could live with and I must say "Yes" I can. I love preparing my meals because I think about what I am putting into my body. I have had people ask questions out of curiosity but I don't try to make them feel bad if they still decide to eat meat. I also live in a small town but I am really happy that I can find products that fit my eating habits. Great thing for internet companies too. I love the variety actually of a vegetarian diet. http://www.freebiesrok.typepad.com

    December 18, 2010 at 13:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Chimps and apes also eat other primates DUH!

    I am SO glad that meat tastes so good! OH NO my karma-arghhhhh! Seriously, if you feel the need to be a vegetarian more power to you. My problem is that so many of you have your head in your oh-so-veggie colon that you cannot imagine that someone has a different view than you that is equally valid. Have you ever heard of an omnivore? What exactly are those Canines for in your mouth? BTW chimps and other primates have been shown to hunt, kill and CONSUME their prey which is usually another primate. Guess what, that is nature. Also, Humans do not have the ability to digest the same as an elephant. We are able to cook some damn fine BBQ pork though. HAHA

    December 18, 2010 at 14:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ChimpsAndApesEatGrassAndLeavesMostly

      But they don't eat meat very often. It's not in their daily diet 3 times a day. And they are getting loads more nutrients than industrialized humans get in a processed, packaged foods diet.

      December 18, 2010 at 14:33 | Report abuse |
  19. Gerald Gray

    Limiting egg intake because "they contain cholesterol" is moronic and ignores volumes of research of how your body processes food. In fact, if your diet consisted of nothing BUT eggs, all things being equal, your cholesterol would go DOWN. Bottom line, if you enjoy eggs, have at it.

    December 18, 2010 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Chimps and apes also eat other primates DUH!

    MEAT TASTES NEAT. I love to comment with the veggie crowd. it is so easy and fun, kinda like cooking a steak. a nice bloody rare steak. Anyone want some?

    December 18, 2010 at 14:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ChimpsAndApesEatGrassAndLeavesMostly

      Most Americans have a dulled sense of taste because of eating so much overly salted and sweetened foods devoid of much nutrition. That's why it's hard for most meat eaters to appreciate the more subtle flavors in fresh plant foods. And most meat eaters don't eat their meat without various sauces on it which are made from vegetables and herbs.

      December 18, 2010 at 14:39 | Report abuse |
  21. CancerInMeatEaters

    There have been many studies done that show that societies that consume larger amounts of meat have more cancer victims and those that eat more plant based diets have significantly reduced rates of cancer. That is important to some people and some people just don't get it.

    December 18, 2010 at 14:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chimps and apes also eat other primates DUH!

      Please give some links to the studies( that I am sure you read) before positing the cancer rates and causes of the human race are caused by eating meat. Seriously?

      December 18, 2010 at 15:03 | Report abuse |
  22. Eric

    I'm vegan and I honestly don't care what other people eat. For anyone who complains about vocal vegans, stand in our pleather shoes for a while and you'll see how rude and insensitive so many people are about it. I have seen abuse hurled at vegans so many times I can understand why some vegans fight back so angrily. I choose to non and smile, a trick I learned from my big sister in dealing people who make no sense to me.

    December 18, 2010 at 14:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Greg

    The combined sources of protein must contain all essential amino-acids. For strict vegetarian, there are two:

    1. soy-based (tofu, tempeh, soy milk.

    2. combination of rice and beans.

    Soy beans are unique in a sense that they are the only single source of protein containing all essential amino acids. Neither rice nor beans (except soy beans) contain those, but their combination does.

    December 18, 2010 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chimps and apes also eat other primates DUH!

      You are aware that approximately 90% of soybeans grown worldwide are GMO. So how's that working out for ya? Like Monsanto much? Were you even aware of the scale of the GMO crops of soybeans worldwide and what it does to the soil cycle? I guess it must be ok because after all it's not meat!

      December 18, 2010 at 15:00 | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      So what? There's nothing inherently wrong with genetically modified crops, in fact I guarantee that most every food you eat has been genetically modified, if nothing else by selective breeding. A

      December 18, 2010 at 15:01 | Report abuse |
    • Chimps and apes also eat other primates DUH!

      Worlds of difference in selective breeding for traits and modifying the genetic makeup of an organism. If you cannot understand the fundamental difference between the two than why comment and make an ass out of yourself?

      December 18, 2010 at 15:06 | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Actually, no there isn't. There isn't an intrinsic difference, and calling people names doesn't make it so either, from a risk and health perspective. Because something has been genetically modified does not make it inherently dangerous or inferior. You think that merely stating it makes it true? Sorry, that's now how science works, maybe in your metaphysical world of health and nutrition ghosts it does, but in the real world of identifiable cause and effect that is not true. When one selectively breeds it directs the genetic composition, or at least genetic expression, in a direction that is not driven by normal environmental (natural) factors. If one has a handful of a family of different strains of soy seeds (or cross breed-able) that exhibit desirable traits one can mix and match to produce an organism with the desired traits. Obviously, this is procedurally different than GM, but that doesn't mean that cross breeding must result in a safer consumable than contemporary genetic engineering.

      December 18, 2010 at 15:10 | Report abuse |
    • Chimps and apes also eat other primates DUH!

      Just to be clear, selective breeding between a poodle and a lab gives you a labradoodle. Genetic modification is the removal of a part of the genetic code that is then replaced with genes designed to produce a specific effect. To be clear, roundup resistant corn was not bred it was modified in a laboratory. And no, most of my food is non GMO so try again.

      December 18, 2010 at 15:12 | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      I don't give a kumquat what you eat and I don't eat labradoodles. Try a different approach, two mildly toxic plants that otherwise are not necessarily fatal or noticeably harmful in reasonable consumption are cross-bred to produce a plant whose combined production of the toxins are fatal in smaller doses, fatal to people or to pests normally associated with that plant. This is an old trick. Such activities have been done with respect to bacteria longer than the ability to directly modify DNA or introduce expressible DNA has been around. The point is not picking specific examples, the point is that the underlying postulate of your statement, implicit anyway, is that GMO is somehow inherently dangerous, presumably relative to non GMO, and this simply does not hold water.

      December 18, 2010 at 15:17 | 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?

      December 18, 2010 at 15:26 | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Of course they are procedurally different, but for some bizarre reason you cannot seem to gather that one approach is inherently more dangerous than another. Cross-breeding can produce dangerous organisms. GM can produce dangerous organisms. Cross-breeding can produce safe organisms, as far as anyone knows, and the same can be reasonably stated for GM. You just can't say because you decided to pick two irrelevant examples of tulips and labradoodles, that this is necessarily valid for extrapolations to all forms of cross breeding. Again, the point is that you CANNOT assume that GM produces dangerous food just because it is GM. Period. It might feel good to think that. You might have been sold a promise that organic and all natural inherently meant better. But that is not true.

      December 18, 2010 at 15:33 | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Let me put it another way – Why does penicillin kill (non-resistant) gram positive bacteria and not people, barring a severe allergic reactions (different mechanism of toxicity).

      December 18, 2010 at 15:36 | Report abuse |
    • Hot Vegan Mess

      QUINOA! It is a plant-based complete protein. It is generally noted as a grain although it is actually a seed. It's very versatile and yummy. My kids love it. It can be used as a simple side, as your hot breakfast cereal, and as the "main dish" at dinner.

      December 19, 2010 at 16:23 | Report abuse |
  24. Chimps and apes also eat other primates DUH!

    If anyone put ANY sauce on my BBQ pork or brisket they would be welcome to leave my house. Where did you get your info regarding Americans sense of taste? Is this comment actually backed up by a verifiable source? Or do you just know better than everyone and everyone should just believe you? Do vegetarians not eat sweet and salty food? Does it not affect their senses?Oh I forgot, it's that everyone that eats meat is evil and all vegetarians are SO much more informed and progressive. Hahaha

    December 18, 2010 at 14:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MeatHead

      Yes, because I say so, you should just believe me! Actually, I speak from my experience and all those I know who were meat eaters but became more (mostly) vegetarian. It truly changes one's biochemistry. Thoughts become more clear, the mind becomes more focused, sleep becomes deeper and more restful, there is more energy, erections become stronger in men, PMS disappears in women, body fat melts away, most all ailments disappear including cancer and diabetes, and all by just changing to a 70% or more plant based diet of fresh vegetables and fruit with a lot of green vegetables. And I was a cattle rancher in Montana so I did previously enjoy lots of BBQ. Everyone I know who made the change has similar good results and we were all meat-headed at one time. Just not anymore.

      December 18, 2010 at 15:24 | Report abuse |
    • CancerInMeatEaters

      I thought about supplying links to the studies, but just google it and you'll find hundreds of studies. And actually, yes, usually vegetarians are more informed and progressive because they are generally the type of person willing to listen to a different point of view and research it themselves, and try something new or different. Whereas there are other people, such as yourself, that are unwilling to entertain any other possibility in life, just like a cow led to slaughter.

      December 18, 2010 at 15:28 | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      I'm a vegetarian, and have been so for just over 20 years. I would like to think all of the above statement was true but it isn't. It has not unlocked the door to some utopian state of being, either in a physiological or metaphysical sense, it's just a dietary choice that is a way to assist me to monitor and regulate what I eat. It doesn't change biochemistry, but it does affect the production of certain chemicals (e.g., enzymes). Biochemistry is biochemistry. I can definitely say that my thoughts have not become "more clear" since becoming vegetarian. At times I suspect that the rather long list of joint injuries I have sustained might have likely not been as severe had I not restricted my diet (power lifter), but without any evidence this is just mere speculation. Anyway, I'd prefer to see people just mark it up as a personal choice and not turn it into some sort of quasi-religious hocus pocus type argument.

      December 18, 2010 at 15:30 | Report abuse |
  25. J M

    Nutritional yeast babayyyyyyyy

    December 18, 2010 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Compton

    For optimum health, SKIP THE MILK, EGGS, & MEAT! Read 'The China Study' by T. Colin Campbell for more details and a comprehensive study on the adverse effects on the human body from the consumption of animal products.

    December 18, 2010 at 15:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • GoodNutrition

      Very good book. And skip white sugar, white flour and most all processed foods too.

      December 18, 2010 at 15:45 | Report abuse |
    • Cole

      Read junk science? And how would that help? These are a few of the great "ideas" from one T. Colin Campbell

      1. Eating foods with dietary cholesterol is unhealthy.
      2. Casein (milk protein) is the worst food when it comes to cancer.
      3. Fish protein can also cause cancer.

      Even someone with little/basic knowledge of nutrition would laugh at those ideas. If you're one of those unfortunate people to buy into them, then you're probably one of those people that believe vaccines are bad for you, that you were abducted by aliens, and that the HIV doesn't really exist. In other words, you believe it, not because it has any solid foundation, but because you want to believe.

      December 18, 2010 at 16:47 | Report abuse |
    • abluesky

      @Cole – it is amazing that you could call Dr. Campbell's book junk science. Most nutritionists did not have access to the data that he did.

      To clarify a point, Dr. Campnbell does not say that casein causes cancer per se. The stages of cancer involve a reaction between a carcinogen – such as a mold or a virus, the two carcinogens mentioned in the book that form the basis of his claim – and an enzyme that is present in our cells. When the enzyme comes into contact with this carcinogen, the cancer process can begin depending on certain conditions. Dr. Campbell found that ingesting casein triggered the enzymatic reaction that causes liver cancer for the two types of carcinogens in rats and mice. Removing protein from the diet both prevented cancer from forming and stopped the progression of cancer that had already started. Importantly, plant protein did not trigger the enzymatic cancer forming process.

      December 21, 2010 at 22:59 | Report abuse |
  27. Chimps and apes also eat other primates DUH!

    Isn't Diabetes a result of the bodies inability to maintain a consistent blood sugar level due to insulin deficiency? Why would removing meat from the diet cause diabetes to resolve? Any studies to back this and your other claims up meat head?

    December 18, 2010 at 16:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. I Got to say this

    I only glanced through the replies but I'm surprised that I don't see

    sperm

    as a protein source for those that lack the brains cells to eat some meat.

    just sayin'

    December 18, 2010 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chimps and apes also eat other primates DUH!

      haha, I literally laughed out loud at your comment, delightfully crude!

      December 18, 2010 at 16:49 | Report abuse |
    • Cole

      You should include yourself among those that lack brain cells. Although there are millions of sperm cells in seminal fluid, they're a very small % of what is ejaculated in terms of mass and volume.

      In other words, congrats at failing at both science and (tasteless) humor.

      December 18, 2010 at 16:55 | Report abuse |
    • Chimps and apes also eat other primates DUH!

      Vegetarians don't like all alternative protein options, I guess!

      December 18, 2010 at 17:01 | Report abuse |
  29. MichaeSD

    First I think veggie eaters and vegans are weird....second..How can a doctor praise a vegetarian..."Hi Mary. Your choice to be a vegetarian is a very good one."..

    Humans are designed to be Omnivores..not just because its nice to be able to eat both but our bodies need meat...the kind of meat is up to you but you need to eat meat. The doc even gives a list of items that you will be missing from your diet if you go veggie...just this list alone tells me that you probly shouldn't go veggie for your bodies sake...read the last paragraph...

    Going veggie and not getting the right vitamins is going to make you sicker than eating an animal...ever seen a veggie eater that wasn't pale nasty and just plain funky looking..I havn't...

    and don't give me this crap about eating Gods creatures...guess what...Gods creatures eat Gods creatures...try watching National Geographic sometimes....

    December 18, 2010 at 17:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cole

      It is sort of a good choice. But, like all choices it has its positives and negatives. The big problem with food and obesity is mainly in eating too much without exercise (also not enough sleep). Focusing on the eating part, if a person switches to a vegetarian diet, that person is less likely to over-consume. In addition, even if the person eats too much, the person will take in less of the really bad stuff (saturated fat).

      Is it ideal? No, of course not. The best diet is one that involves a lot of different foods, all in moderation. But, for those that's struggling with their diet, going vegetarian is certainly better than sticking with what doesn't work for them. As for doing it for personal beliefs, well, that's personal beliefs... Best not to go there.

      December 18, 2010 at 17:30 | Report abuse |
    • Fred Mitchell

      You are so very wrong. My family has been vegetarian and vegan for the past 14 years now, and if anything you said were true we'd be all sick and dead now. We're quiet healthy, thank you very much! And we're not weird!

      My kids have been vegetarians all or nearly all of their lives. They are healthy as an ox. And we get our proper nutrition from the variety of whole plant-based foods that we eat. All our protein too.

      Check your facts before you speak and embarrass yourself!

      December 18, 2010 at 17:32 | Report abuse |
  30. JQA

    It doesn't appear that this author is aware of the latest information on cholesterol. The primary problem with cholesterol comes when you have some sort of inflammation present in your body, from an allergic reaction or illness. Common allergens such as wheat, dairy, nuts, nightshades, and corn can cause inflammation. Once you have this health issue, your cholesterol levels are going to rise and you can have problems. I eat three eggs a day, and since I started staying away from foods that cause inflammation, my cholesterol levels have dropped and the ratios have improved. The oils and cholesterol in egg yokes are particularly nourishing to brain health, and overall health. Cholesterol is an absolutely essential part of good nutrition; you cannot build new cells without it.

    December 18, 2010 at 17:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. mimi_nef

    A. Humans are meant to eat meats. That's why they are so delicious... They're mean to tempt us for our own health.

    B. If you absolutely cannot come to terms with that fact, eat edamame. It's a complete protein. They are utterly delicious and easy to add to salads, side dishes and as a snack. You can make a hummus out of them. You can blanch them and sprinkle with sea salt or kosher salt. They're tasty and very healthy.

    C. If you are allergic to soy, avoid edamame. Edamame are immature soy beans.

    December 18, 2010 at 17:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. MOLI

    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.
    I AGREE WITH AS !!

    December 18, 2010 at 18:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. DsylexicHippo

    @mimi_ref: about your point A.: Where from did you draw that conclusion? Whenever people say things like humans are "meant t'", I cringe. Meant to by who? You? Or is that because it is written in some holy book? You can argue any point using "meant to"...did the man with the little mustache in Germany do what he did because it was "meant to"? What kind of nonsense is this?

    December 18, 2010 at 18:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Chimps and apes also eat other primates DUH!

    What do you have canines for? Maybe biology indicates we were designed to process animal based protein in addition to plant matter ? Or did the green vegan fairy come to you in a dream and tell you that humans are only "meant " to be vegan? You do know what an omnivore is right? Seriously, attend to the anatomy and biology of the human body before saying that man is not meant to eat meat. Another member of the vegan- thou-shall-not-eat-meat-because-we-say-so church.

    December 18, 2010 at 20:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Brett

    "One farmer says to me, 'You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make bones with;' and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying his system with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plough along in spite of every obstacle." – from Walden by Henry David Thoreau

    December 18, 2010 at 21:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. DsylexicHippo

    @Chimps and apes also eat other primates DUH!: What do you have brains for? No, seriously!

    December 18, 2010 at 21:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. DsylexicHippo

    @Chimps and apes also eat other primates DUH!: Expanding on your screen-name: There were times in the past when some primitive humans were cannibals. I am sure you will consider it as a evolutionary progress that humans have evolved out of that practice. Extrapolate that into present-day humans who butcher and eat defenseless animals versus those who choose ethical alternatives. Where do you see yourself in this evolutionary chart, primate? I am not pretending to be on the moral high ground. I just am. You wouldn't get it – several generations down your gene pool, someone might. Evolution 101. End of rant for the benefit of chimps.

    December 18, 2010 at 21:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. WS01

    0.8 mg per kg of body weight! Good thing the author does not work for NASA... (should be 0.8 g per kg of body weight as many have pointed out)

    December 18, 2010 at 21:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. DsylexicHippo

    Since some meatheads here are overly enthusiastic about the canine teeth argument, here's some food for thought:

    1. Panda bears have more canine teeth than humans, yet are exclusively vegetarian, eating bamboo.

    2. Because meat putrifies quickly, the intestines of carnivores are far shorter (3 times their body length) than those of vegetarian animals (six times their body length) so that the meat gets digested and expelled quickly. Humans, like other vegetarian animals, have intestines six times the body length.

    3. As for the argument, "humans are, by nature omnivorous", the point still remains that we humans do not need to eat meat. Unlike animals, we can rise above our animal natures; after all, society depends on the fact that we must transcend our lower natures.

    December 18, 2010 at 21:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • thor

      If your kind eats it. It's because they can and have for a long time. Usually for a reason, like need.

      December 18, 2010 at 23:46 | Report abuse |
    • Cole

      1. Pandas aren't vegetarian. Most of their diet is bamboo, but they still eat meat.

      2. Meat is digested and expelled quickly? Tell that to the python.

      3. Vitamin B12 says we need to eat meat. Reproduction and sleep is also in our nature. I suppose we should stop doing those things too, right?

      Here's a big one: We can't fully digest cellulose. We don't have issues digesting meat.

      December 19, 2010 at 08:06 | Report abuse |
    • Russ

      @ DsylexicHippo – Should we assume your user name is descriptive?

      I have never heard such a line of garbage! But then that is what most of being vegetarian is.

      The most unhealthy people I have ever been around are Indians – diet!

      December 19, 2010 at 10:30 | Report abuse |
    • DsylexicHippo

      @Cole:

      1. Pandas ARE vegetarian and that is a well known fact. What is your source?
      2. Python is not a mammal nor a vertebrate.You are comparing apples to bicycles here. Totally irrelevant.
      3. B12 can be taken as supplement. You don't have to eat meat just for that.

      About your big one: Tell that to the meatheads suffering from colon cancer. I am sure it is a testament to the perfectly tuned (to meat) digestive system that we have.

      December 19, 2010 at 10:35 | Report abuse |
    • DsylexicHippo

      @Russ: My user name is somewhat descriptive, you are right on that one. It can be hard getting humor when meatheads spend all their energy justifying killing defenseless animals.

      #1: It is not about Indians at all. And I'm not one either.
      #2: What line of garbage are you referring to? Garbage is what you're consuming without putting any thought to it.

      December 19, 2010 at 10:41 | Report abuse |
  40. thor

    Who cares how much protein a vegetarian get's? It's not like they're gunna be loaded with muscle. They'll be lean and somewhat weak. No way around it.

    December 18, 2010 at 23:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Louis

      Sir, you should read more: http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/

      December 19, 2010 at 11:43 | Report abuse |
  41. Brett

    Just about any person can remain reasonably healthy on an all-vegetarian diet, but not so on a diet consisting solely of meat. To the extent, then, that we are an omnivorous species, the balancing point for optimum health must lie somewhere between a diet containing liberal amounts of plant-based foods and one that is exclusively plant-based. The point of balance within this continuum is, of course, not universal but specific to the individual. Therefore it makes little sense to argue for or against the extreme positions on either side. Better to direct your energy on what's wrong with a majority of the food choices commercially available at our local grocery stores. Never mind the processed foods, which are categorically at the root of unhealthfulness in the US; even the actual plants and meats we find are often inferior unless we seek out organic produce, grass-finished beef, and mercury-free seafood, often going out of way to find these products, the few among us who actually do, who know why they should, and who can afford to make it a permanent lifestyle choice.

    December 19, 2010 at 00:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • abluesky

      This is the best, most well thought out out post I've read here.

      December 21, 2010 at 20:00 | Report abuse |
  42. MartyJ

    Soy = phytoestrogens, Legumes = lectins. India has the most vegetarians in the world, and also the highest rate of Type 2 Diabetes. Veganism and vegetarianism aren't all they are cracked up to be. The idea that red meat is bad for you is based on flawed studies that included processed and charred or fried meats, which are indeed dangerous. But studies on properly prepared fresh meat showed no ill effects versus vegetarianism. Some people due to blood type or heredity tolerate veganism or vegetarianism well. The rest who abstain from meat sacrifice their health for ethical reasons.

    December 19, 2010 at 03:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Louis

      India doesn't have the highest rate of diabetes, but the highest number of individuals with diabetes. This is because India is also home to 25% of the world's population. Triple or quadruple the number of people in the U.S. (and thus those with diabetes) and you'd have a higher number than that in India.

      December 19, 2010 at 11:41 | Report abuse |
    • ling-ling

      Hello:

      India has more number of Type 2 diabetics because of the introduction of western life style. People are now accustomed to the daily grind lifestyles with lesser physical activities. I don't think it's because of the food but the lifestyle.

      December 19, 2010 at 23:22 | Report abuse |
    • LEB

      Red meat isn't bad for you... but eating read meat ALL THE TIME certainly isn't good for you. It's much higher in fat than other meats. I for one do enjoy my beef and my lamb, but it's not a common indulgence. I choose fish, lean pork, and white meat chicken much more often.

      December 20, 2010 at 03:59 | Report abuse |
    • abluesky

      Actually, there is incredibly significant evidence suggesting that a vegan diet is superior to an ovo-lacto or meat eating 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 19:58 | Report abuse |
  43. Jim

    "Basically, if it was alive at one time, I will not eat it."

    Plants were once alive. Is it because they don't have a face, or a voice, that makes you callous toward their plight? I don't have a problem with choosing vegetarianism, but have a good reason, really.

    As far as proteins, most vegatable proteins are not complete proteins, that is, they don't provide all the building blocks not already produced in our bodies for protein construction. Soy is the only vegetable that does, and it's extremely versatile.

    December 19, 2010 at 08:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Willow

      Have to agree. That was just a stupid comment on her part.

      December 19, 2010 at 10:06 | Report abuse |
  44. Willow

    It's easy for vegetarians to get protein. Way too many people think that meat is the only source of it.

    Beans, nuts, soy products, seeds, all are ways to get protein in a healthy manner. Humans are not limited to meat in terms of protein sources.

    What too many vegetarians do, is rely overly heavily on fattening dairy products as a source of protein, and then they wonder why they can't lose weight. Don't make that mistake if you're going to be a vegetarian. Drink skim milk or go soy.

    December 19, 2010 at 10:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Nat

    Proof read folks. I pretty sure I need more than 1/2 gram protein/day. I think you meant 0.8g/kg not 0.8mg/kg. I am sure I do not was to be miss dosed by 1000 fold.

    Cheers

    December 19, 2010 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dustin J

      Yes I agree. If you weigh 180 lbs, this is only 64mg of protein each day, which is about 1% of one egg.

      0.8g/KG body weight tells you to get aboout 64 grams of protein daily, a much much much more realistic amount. People need to be careful with units. I found a nabisco brownie that listed its ingredients as 200g of potassium, when they surely meant 200 mcg, because the entire brownie contained 85g of matter.

      December 19, 2010 at 12:13 | Report abuse |
  46. Dustin J

    So if you weigh 180 lbs, that converts to approx. 81 KG body weight. In the article you say that you only need 0.8 mg of protein daily for each kg of body weight, so 0.8 x 81 = 64mg of protein each day?

    One egg has around 6 g of protein, so by your math, one egg is about 100 times the necessary daily protein intake? This seems lewd. I would figure a good diet would require more than 1/100th of an egg each day.

    December 19, 2010 at 12:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cole

      Pointing out a very obvious typo mg and g doesn't make you sound smart or clever. In fact, pointing out something that's so obvious makes you look petty and desperate.

      December 19, 2010 at 15:10 | Report abuse |
    • Dustin J

      Changing g to mg is not a typo, a typo is a mistake that is corrected by editors. This is just someone not knowing what they are talking about at all.

      Calling someone desperate for correcting a mistake, is in itself desperate.

      December 19, 2010 at 16:56 | Report abuse |
  47. Dan

    Read the "Vegetarian Myth" by former vegan Lierre Keith. If you think nothing was harmed in the making of your precious tofu, you're sadly mistaken.

    December 19, 2010 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Valis

    Semen is an excellent source of protein!

    it does contain things that are "alive" tho, and i wonder where vegans draw that line. cows are alive sure, but bacteria are alive as well. just where do vegans like to draw that line, as long as it's something they dont have to think about killing?

    December 19, 2010 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DsylexicHippo

      Gross!

      It is about higher and lower life forms. I am sure even you would be able to figure out the category that bacteria belong. So, based on that definition alone, the source of protein you mentioned would not qualify.

      December 19, 2010 at 14:11 | Report abuse |
  49. ANTHONY M FERNANDO, CA, USA

    "If it was alive at one time, I will not eat". Then what do you eat ?. All vegetables, fruits, lentils, etc, etc are live when they are growing on the earth. Plants and animals both are going through a process of life. Without doing so they [plants and animals] cannot generate energy.

    December 19, 2010 at 14:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. patrick

    she said and i quote"Basically, if it was alive at one time, I will not eat it." then how can she be alive since the plants that she claims to eat were once alive
    so how can she eat anything?

    December 19, 2010 at 15:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cole

      Really need to stop with that obvious part, since we all know that the person meant higher level animals. Sure, I wouldn't mind discussing how black and white the statement was, and how it's all likely just a phase, but that discussion belongs elsewhere, no?

      December 19, 2010 at 15:24 | Report abuse |
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