I hope you have watched my first video “Eating for Optimal Health” because we are going to use the chart that we created as our guideline.
Clearly we don’t need to change anything with our carbohydrates. We still want to properly prepare our grains, seeds and nuts and continue to eat a variety of low glycemic fruits and vegetables. Starchy carbohydrates should still remain at around 15% of your diet.
Children and adolescents require the most proteins of humans because these are their years of growth. Of the many roles proteins have some of the highlights are the production of tissue growth, hemoglobin, antibodies, hormones, enzyme production, detox support for the liver and production of neurotransmitters for the brain. The neurotransmitters are chemical messages that are used in body and brain. Good healthy neurotransmitters are necessary for good mental health – they contribute to our happy feelings. High quality protein also helps with the production of the Hydrochloric acid which your stomach uses to digest food. Over time as production wanes you will be more susceptible to allergies and issues associated with poor digestion such as gas, cramps, constipation, diarrhea, yeast infections and poor immune function.
When we digest proteins they are broken down into 20 amino acids, 10 of which are essential – meaning they must be eaten. Meat, fish, poultry, dairy and eggs all contain “complete proteins”. That is they contain all the different proteins we need and in the ratio that we need.
A vegetarian must combine different plant sources to consume the necessary amino acids. Keep in mind though that it may be difficult to eat proteins in the ratio that your body needs.
So let’s look at our chart. Once we remove all the meat sources of protein they only complete protein sources available are those from eggs, dairy. If you have food sensitivities to these foods you may need to rethink being a vegetarian. Good sources of protein however they can be rancid and they do contain phytic acid – soak and dehydrate before consuming.
Combining legumes and grains will also provide some protein.
- Grains + Legumes
- Rice and lentils, Millet and adzuki beans, Wheat and peas, Bean burritos, Beans and corn
- Seeds/Nuts + Legumes
- Hummus – Garbanzo + sesame,
- Grains + Eggs/Milk
- Quiche, Rice and Eggs
- Vegetables + Eggs/Milk
- Cream soups, Salad with eggs, Frittata
- Some other sources of protein are:
- Micro-Algae – Spirulina, chlorella, and wild blue-green micro-algae.
- Bee Pollen and Royal Jelly – A rich source of protein and B12.
Be very careful to consume appropriate amounts of protein and fat. Don’t make the mistake of many vegetarians – replacing meat with bread, cereal, pizza, & junk food. By eliminating meat you’ve reduced your source of complete proteins, and several vitamins and minerals. Because you are now at risk of deficiencies you really should be careful about the consumption of improperly prepared grains/seeds and nuts as these will further deplete your vitamins and minerals.
Again you want a variety of fats in your diet and they should account for about 30% of your calories. Animal products are an important source of the fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K. True vitamin A is only found in animal fat and animal organs like liver. Butter and full fat milk from grass fed cows is going to be a very important source for you. The body can also convert carotene into vitamin A, though it’s not very efficient at it. The oily matrix in red palm oil may make its carotene more easily converted.
D3 is another necessary vitamin especially for those of us living at the higher latitudes. The best source for D3 is again animal products. Consider supplementing with fish or cod liver oil. D2 is not an adequate supplement.
Because you are not eating meat which supplies much of the fat in an omnivores diet you need to ensure you are getting ample intake of these vitamins (A,D,E,K). Raw dairy products and pastured eggs are going to be important sources of fat and vitamins for you.
Consume lots of properly prepared nuts, grass fed butter, coconut oil, avocados and the polyunsaturated oils.
Remember, healthy fats are a great sources of energy for you body and are critical for healthy cells, and healthy hormones. You need a variety of high quality fats everyday.
If you can swing it consider supplementing with fish oil or cod liver oil – a good source of vit. D, vit. A as well as EPA and DHA.!
The Dos, Avoids and Never Evers remain the same.