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To Be or Not To Be ... Vegetarian

Posted Jul 29 2008 9:31am
Wanting to leave the world in a better place than I received it is how I started in the health field. At the time, I interpreted that as a duty to serve my fellow humans by spreading the message of wellness to all.



Nowdays with so much attention to being earth-friendly, I try to incorporate 'green' practices into my own life as much as I can.  I try not to waste gasoline; I turn off the lights & fans when I leave a room; I recycle; I eat local foods when they're available to me, and definitely stay away from produce shipped in from South America when the same US produce is sitting in the next bin over at the store.



But now I'm starting to turn my attentions to other areas of my diet: protein.



As a Nutritionist, I know how vital protein is to our bodies for muscle regrowth and repair as well as cell formulation. And as an Athlete, I am aware of how much my body needs protein in order to stay in peak physical condition.



Years before I became a nutritionist
, I was a vegetarian. Honestly, I wasn't a very good one. I didn't know about Amino Acids or Complete Proteins. Although I lost weight as a vegetarian, I just became a smaller version of my larger self; not only because I wasn't exercising, but I wasn't eating enough protein for my body to maintain the muscle mass that I had previously.



There are small amounts of protein in fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and cheese, however the amount of fat and carbohydrates that I would need to consume in order to get enough of the correct amino acids would surely send me into a body fat bracket that I wouldn't be comfortable with.



I am a strong advocate of my clients eating animal protein as a part of each of their meals. This slows the digestion of carbohydrates into the blood stream, and therefore decreases the ensuing blood sugar spike and later brain fog/energy drain.



There's no doubt about it; Lean animal protein is a healthy part of a balanced diet.



I'm not going to talk aboutOrganic versus Conventional meats & fish. That's an entirely different post. However there are a few facts that make reducing the amount of animal protein I consume very appealing.



The truth is if you were to take the amount of food that is required to feed an animal to maturity, you could feed many more people for a longer period of time than the animal flesh would feed.Example: It takes 2-4 lbs of fish to yeild 1 lb of farmed salmon.



The other concern is the fossil fuels involved in transporting meats to my local grocery store. Yes, since I live in Austin, Texas, there are lots of cattle and chicken farms, but I don't know if there are any slaughter houses near by, and that seems to make less sense; transporting cattle around the nation to be slaughtered, packaged & distributed.



So these are the reasons that are compelling me to reduce my animal protein intake. Although I haven't done anything about it yet. I think diet choices are as personal as political and religious beliefs, so I don't try to force my views on my clients or anyone else. Those choices that I make may not be suitable for someone else's body type or lifestyle, and I respect that.

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