I can´t remember how many times I´ve been asked that question. I do enjoy answering it, although I really can´t understand why people still ask it. As I flex my biceps, my first response is, “Look at me! I´m 77 years old and haven´t eaten meat since 1976. Do I look sick, lethargic or in pain? “After all these meatless decades, I must have a protein deficiency…right?”
Unfortunately, sometimes that´s not proof enough for certain people…so I advance to response #2:
“What are 2 things elephants, gorillas, rhinoceri, hippos, water buffalos and the now extinct 50 ton brachiosaurus, have in common?”
First of all, I think we can agree that they are among the largest and strongest land animals to have ever roamed the earth and secondly…they are and were plant eaters! So, where do they get their proteins from? Plants. If these animals can thrive on plant based foods…why can´t humans, with our relatively tiny bodies, thrive on plants as well? Doesn´t it make sense? Also, cows get their protein from plants and we believe that we need to get our protein from killing and eating the cows. Why not get it direct from the source? It not only saves a cow, a chicken or a pig´s life, it´s also healthier because plants 1) don´t come with the burdens of cholesterol and saturated fats that lead to health problems, while they 2) provide us with the disease preventing benefits of fiber, anti-oxidants and phytonutrients…which all happen to be lacking in meat.
NOT CONVINCED YET?
Well, as a last resort to the remaining deniers, I move on to my third and last response:
Some of the world´s elite athletes are turning to plant based nutrition and, as a result, are experiencing improved performances by boosting blood flow and oxygenations of their muscles while taking advantage of a vegan diet´s anti-inflammatory effect to speed their post workout recovery. To name a few:
Tom Brady – Quarterback of the New England Patriots. At the age of 40 is performing as well as ever and believes he can continue to play at this level for several more years.
Serena and Venus Williams – Two of the greatest tennis players of all time…still playing after 20 years.
Lionel Messi – Considered one of history´s greatest soccer players.
Carl Lewis – Winner of 10 Olympic Gold Medals during the 1990s.
Kyrie Irving – NBA 2012 rookie of the year and 2014 All-Star MVP.
Lewis Hamilton – four time winner of the Formula One World Drivers´Championship.
Meagan Duhamel – figure skating gold medalist at the 2018 olympics.
Patrik Baboumian – powerlifter and named Germany´s strongest man.
Scott Jurek – considered the greatest ultra-marathoner of modern times.
Tia Blanco – Open Women´s World Surfing Champion two consecutive years.
Steph Davis – one of the greatest female rock climbers in the world.
David “hayemaker” Haye – Former two time heavyweight boxing champion
To see dozens more elite vegan athletes, check out: greatveganathletes.com
There´s another area that “all of the above” have in common and that is “staying active”. In the wild, the animals are constantly moving around (not so in zoos). There are no couch potatoes in the jungle. Same with athletes…practice, practice, practice. For me, it´s going to the gym and going on daily walks and remembering to get off my butt, by tearing myself away from the computer… ever so often.
The myth that we have believed in for so long (since childhood), regarding meat being the best form of protein for us humans, has never been true. Yes, meat provides complete proteins, as do plants, but it´s not the healthiest source….for your heart, your waistline, your overall health. So, based upon the above information, I suggest replacing meat with plant options such as beans, tofu, lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, chia, peanuts, almonds, kale, etc. Even gradual replacement is a good start because a “little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing”. And don´t worry whether you´re getting enough protein because, as long as you eat a variety of plant based foods, over time, and don´t starve yourself, you´ll never be protein deficient.