Health Matters

Plant vs Animal Protein Diet

What is better for us when considering a plant vs animal protein diet? I am hearing and reading more about a plant-based diet and how good this is compared to eating animal protein. If I changed wholly to a plant-based diet would it give me all the protein I need? Protein helps build and repair the body therefore it is essential to good health.

Proteins are made up of amino acids and our body need the 22 amino acids to function well. Nine of these; histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine are essential to good health.

If I have a plant-based diet, without animal protein, it is important I get the balance right. Plants are incomplete in amino acids, apart from quinoa and buckwheat . Therefore, I need to ensure my diet gives me all the nourishment I need by introducing other food that will provide me with the nine essential amino acids. However, I do not have to worry as I will not be giving up animal protein anytime soon.

Animal products that are complete sources of protein, include red meat, fish, chicken and dairy products. Animal products have saturated fat and high levels of cholesterol. Therefore, to offset this my diet also consists of fruit, grains, legumes, dairy and vegetables.

Eating fresh food at home is good for us. Lobster tails cooked at home are delicious and nutritious.

I enjoy red meat, poultry, dairy and fish. I am aware that processed meats have a certain amount of toxins and I want to limit these in my diet. A breakfast of bacon and eggs once a week should not do too much damage! By adding plant-based foods to my animal protein diet I consider this is a balanced diet.

To discover more about eating plant-based foods I signed up to the Harvard Medical School newsletter Focus On. Read more about eating plant-based foods and fewer animal proteins here.

We can all get caught up in life, the busyness of life and reach for food that is easy to prepare or that comes pre-packaged. This might be alright occasionally but if it becomes a lifestyle choice it can have an impact on our health.

Now that I am one of those people over 60 I need a healthy and balanced diet. I have always liked juices but until recent times my older juicer has remained in the pantry. It seems that I have a few vintage items in my home! Given that I want more plant-based juices in my diet I bought a new juicer. The pulp (fibre and cellulose) left over is great for the chickens. Yesterday they enjoyed a carrot, green apple and ginger combo. The pulp can also be used in casserole and soups.

Green apple, carrot and ginger is one of my favourite juice combinations.

The great thing about my new juicer is that I can make up to 2 litre of juices and if stored correctly it will keep for days. What I love about my new juicer is that I do not have to cut up the fruit unless it is large such as a pineapple. An apple goes in whole, voila!

Once again my aim is to introduce more grains, legumes and lentils into our diet. I now subscribe to a food blog Olive Tomato and I am putting together a collection of recipes to try. When my One & Only says to me ‘has it got meat in it?’ – my reply will have to be ‘try it, you might like it!’

I am looking forward to a healthier me in 2020. Share with me what steps you are taking for a healthier you!

Please Note: see your doctor or consult with a dietician if you plan to change or exclude certain food from your diet.

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