After being diagnosed with Lupus, my doctor at the time suggested that my body was struggling to break down meat based on what he found stored in my gut. I started to do some research to really figure out if a diet that included meat or a plant based diet would be best for me. What I found in my research was that meat consumption can lead to water retention, inflammation, and a higher acidity level in the body. I chose to start a plant based diet and once I was diagnosed with cancer, that sealed the deal with my vegetarianism. Animal protein increases the amount of growth hormone our body produces, which in a normal body may be desirable, but not in one growing cancer cells.
One of the most common questions I am asked is, being a vegetarian, how do I get protein. Believe it or not, many vegetables and grains contain significant amounts of protein and some even offer a complete essential amino acid profile. In a nutshell, amino acids are the building blocks of protein and those considered essential are those our body cannot make on its own.
Here are some of the more common sources of protein I gravitate towards:
Quinoa contains 10 grams of protein per cup and has all 9 essential amino acids
Wild rice contains 6.54 grams of protein per cup
Lentils contain 18 grams of protein per cup (cooked)
Black beans contain 15 grams of protein per cup
Kale and Broccoli are 45% protein containing between 6-7 grams of protein per cup
Spinach is 49% protein containing 2.1 grams of protein per cup
Mushrooms contain 6 grams of protein per cup
I recently posted a recipe for mushroom stew. In that meal, if served over a cup of quinoa and estimating my portion of stew to be about 2 cups, that meal would contain at least 22 grams of protein. In a 4oz chicken breast you get 31 grams of protein. I may need to eat more food, but I am certainly getting my protein from plants.