Warning! I’m going to be playful in this post. If you’re feeling sensitive, go read another washed up athlete’s blog.
From Norah Jones:
It’s him or me that’s what he said,
But I can’t choose between a vegan and a pot head,
So I chose you because you’re sweet,
And you give me lots of lovin’ and you eat meat,
And that’s how you became my only man of the hour
I’ve been pretty adamant in this blog that I’m a carnivore. I believe that our teeth are in place, in part, to tear flesh. I’m sensitive (clearly), however, to the folks out there choose to eat only a plant based diet.
While I think it’s more difficult for athletes and human beings in general to derive sufficient nutritional benefit without eating animal products, I don’t think it’s impossible. If you’ve got the determination and wherewithal, I want you on my team, so let’s do this.
To construct a meal to make meat consumers eat their words instead, we need to examine the health benefits of devouring animals so we can replace that value. From Medical Daily:
…benefits such as the repair and building of body tissues as well as the production of antibodies that will protect the body from infections, thus strengthening the immune system as well. Most importantly, since meat contains all the essential amino acids, it definitely ranks as one of the best sources of protein.
Sounds easy enough. If this is all about replacing protein, we’ve got this. We’re going to have to eat a bunch of them, but almonds and walnuts are both in my weekly rotation, and 50 almonds will net about 12 grams of protein. Boom, we’re over ¼ of the way to competing with a serving of salmon, which contains roughly 40 grams of protein.
Let’s add some quinoa, shall we? After all, I try to add it to almost every huge salad that I make. My salads also contain steak and cheese, but you get the point. From whfoods.com:
One of the shortcomings overcome by quinoa involves its protein content. Most grains are considered to be inadequate as total protein sources because they lack adequate amounts of the amino acids lysine and isoleucine…By contrast, quinoa has significantly greater amounts of both lysine and isoleucine (especially lysine), and these greater amounts of lysine and isoleucine allow the protein in quinoa to serve as a complete protein source.
With 24 grams of protein per serving, we’ve nearly matched the salmon.
All we need to do is add in a little over a serving of broccoli at 4.2 grams, and we are over the top.
Merely equaling the protein content isn’t enough, however. We absorb goodness besides protein when we eat meat. From Medical Daily:
Of the many nutrients that meat contains, it is rich in iron, zinc and selenium. While iron helps in forming hemoglobin that transports oxygen to different parts of your body, zinc helps in tissue formation and metabolism as well as selenium breaks down the fat and chemicals in the body.
Spinach is rich in iron, as are lentils. Beans, mushrooms, almonds and walnuts are all quality sources of zinc. We can bake this info into our recipe.
Our final meal? Perhaps our representation is a spinach-based salad, topped with plenty of chopped almonds and walnuts, quinoa, broccoli, lentils, kidney beans, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
I can’t help it; I wish I had a couple of chicken thighs to go with it, but if this satisfies your flavor desires, you’ve reached your protein and nutrient quota for the meal. Big congratulations. Now you can figure out how to not eat this three times a day. I kid, I kid.