“You need meat!”
Quite recently, after informing one of my lecturers that I don’t eat meat (animal flesh), he kindly encouraged me to include even small portions of animal protein into my diet for good health. He went on to support his advice with an exceptional story about a man who nearly died from a blood disorder (the description resembled haemophilia) because of his vegetarian diet. Another person recently told me of another man who would faint frequently because of his refusal to consume anything that wasn’t green. These and similar stories are usually conveyed in an attempt to dissuade the listener from eliminating meat from their diet. Although my lecturer probably doesn’t know what protein is good for, nor how much of it he needs to maintain his health, he is convinced that he must get his daily supply of protein from an animal. This is belief is held and perpetuated, in spite of the larger number of vegetarians living in Jamaica – think Rastafari and Adventists.
“No, I don’t.”
When I decided to stop eating meat, I made sure to re-educate myself. I felt that I needed to learn what my body needs and how to go about getting it. I needed to hear this information from the experts – medical doctors, nutritionists, etc. So, I did a lot of research: attended workshops, read books, articles, blogs, and watched documentaries and lectures.
“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest her or his patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” – Thomas A. Edison
“How do you know that?”
“How much protein do we need?”
We only need about 30g of protein daily. According to the United States Dietary Guidelines published in 2010, for a male (19-30yrs) the daily requirement is 56g and 46g for a female (19-30yrs). This would translate to weekly requirement of:
Animal protein: 8oz of seafood or 26oz of meat/poultry/eggs
Plant protein: 13oz of beans and peas or 10oz of soy products or 15oz of nuts/seeds
“The single most effective thing anybody can do in order to make themselves personally healthier and make this ecosystem more stable and life-preserving is to reduce or eliminate the animal flesh in your diet.”