I love experimenting with my eating lifestyle! I have done vegan for some months, vegetarian for some years, hight fat, low fat, eaten food following the Paleo principles for the past seven years, and have dabbled into ketogenic eating for some time. I find that when I experiment with myself I find answers to questions my coaching clients ask of me, and then we experiment with them depending upon their goals and dietary restrictions. Some restrictions are faith based. Others are medically based, and still others are ethically based. People ask me if we can thrive only eating plant based protein.
Can we get enough protein from plants? The short answer is yes. For thousands of years, our hunter and gatherer ancestors lived mostly on plants, having a feeding frenzy after a hunt, and then returning to plants when meats were in scarcity. All whole, plant based foods contain protein, some more than others. Some have a more bioavailable protein. That means the rate at which the body can absorb the nutrients.
Beans and legumes have a high protein per serving, with lentils being the highest source of protein. If we prepare the beans and legumes correctly by soaking at least overnight, and ideally 24-48 hours, the protein becomes more bioavailable. This also helps release the gaseous properties for less discomfort. Cooking the beans and legumes for a lengthy time further breaks down the digestive issues one may have. I lived in India for some time in the 1980s, and I found that in traditional Indian cooking, most of the veggies are cooked for a long time, releasing the proteins easily for absorption.
With all the talk of tofu and processed foods being highly mimicking estrogen in the body, I stayed away from soy products for years. Then when I was vegan for 10 weeks last year, I craved the texture of hard tofu cooked in a myriad of ways. This did not make my blood test come back showing estrogen overload, or estrogen dominance. The cure and the poisons in our food supply is in the portion. Too much of anything will hurt us, and too little will also cause deficiencies.
Recently I have begun to listen to my food hunger signals and cravings. If I am really craving meat or fish, after eating mostly vegan for some time, I will honor my body knowing what nutrition it needs. Trying to eliminate the labeling takes the pressure off of my ego.
I hope this helps you in your lifestyle.
-Author and Creator of the Superior Self series
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