Friends, let me set the record straight. Meat and dairy products are not the only sources of protein. Believe it or not, plants contain plenty of protein, along with other juicy factors that meat may lack.
Let's take a look at three common types of meat; deli ham, chicken breast, and ground beef (80% lean - 20% fat).
Ham is an excellent source of protein with an average of 80 grams per pound. It contains the least amount of cholesterol out of these three types of meat and has about 30% iron. But it's also high in sodium with a whopping 5,000 mg per pound. That's about 960 per 3 oz serving. Wholly Guacamole, is it only me who thinks that's a little high?
A lean source of protein and one of the best options you can go with, chicken breast has around 100 grams protein per pound. That's about 20 grams per 3 oz serving. And unlike it's snorting friend the pig, it only contains 55 mg sodium per 3 oz. Obviously, chicken wins gold for best meat-source around. *Insert applause*
We're going over to the dark side for a moment to talk about chicken's arch nemesis, the beef. With an average of 17 grams fat and 60 mg cholesterol per 3 oz serving, it's no news that this is the least nutritionally beneficial (but I bet your taste buds thank you). Beef does want you to know he's lower in sodium than ham, so he has that going for him.
Now, let's take a look at some plant protein sources and how they stand up compared to their counterparts.
Quinoa is one of the only complete plant proteins. 1 cup contains 636 calories and a whopping 22 grams of protein. With only 10 grams of fat per cup, quinoa can be considered a low-fat, high protein food group.
Does anyone else hate Hummus? I only like it with baby cucumbers, otherwise, it's so disgusting. But, hummus is made from chickpeas, and chickpeas are great for ya. 1 cup contains around 38 grams protein and only 13 grams fat. Win-win.
Finally, tofu. Tofu is controversial because (let's be honest) it's usually pretty gross if you don't know how to prep it correctly, and most don't. Plus, it's an incredibly processed food. If you can get past that, tofu is the perfect low-carb, high protein food. Nutritionally, it's the most similar to meat with only 427 calories per pound (that's pretty low), and 48 grams of protein. If you can manage to choke down tofu, be my guest.
I Like Big Carbs and I cannot lie
These plant proteins one-up their friends over in the meat department with their incredibly low cholesterol amounts (0 mg for each), and their added fiber that meat lacks.
But what about the carbohydrates, you say. You got me on that one. Plants do contain a massive amount of carbs compared to meat, but that doesn't have to be a faulty trait. It all depends on how you pair your food.
The Iron King: Beef
Oh, I see. You want to challenge the plants iron content because we all know we get our iron from red meat. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news (not), but let's look at some facts; As expected, beef contains the most with 50% iron, ham is next with 32%, and chicken is running behind with only 18%. You ready for this? Quinoa overtakes all with a total of 87% iron. That's right; quinoa has more iron than the iron-king himself (beef). Chickpeas have 64%, and tofu comes in last with 43%. I know, I know. You're dumbstruck with this new information.
"Salt is good in large amounts" - Said No One Ever
Here's the real kicker; plant protein contains less than half the sodium of meat. Quinoa has around 35mg/cup, chickpeas have 50mg/cup, and tofu contains 130mg/pound. On the other hand, chicken has about 300 mg/pound, ham has 5,120 mg/pound, and beef contains 304mg/pound. We all know sodium should be consumed in small amounts. So Quinoa takes home the gold in this category too.
Plant Vs. Carnivore
These little graphics list just a few great protein sources regardless of your diet type. I hope they help! Plus, this proves that if you're a carnivore you have NO EXCUSE to eat unhealthy. Not only do you have every option a vegan has, you have more. Don't be a fool, choose wisely. White meat poultry, eggs, and some dairy products are far better for your health than beef and pork. I didn't include fish here because we are currently destroying our oceans (over fishing has something to do with that), but that is another topic for another time.
Even though I'm predominately plant-based, I like to keep an open mind and stay unbiased. I am not against meat. I just want you to eat your healthiest, so choose chicken, my friends.
And for the babes who eat like me, keep eating those plants and continue to live your healthies lives.