9 Super-Healthy, Vegetarian Protein Sources

You don't need a 20-ounce porterhouse to meet your daily protein requirement. There are much cheaper and healthier protein sources to choose from.

March 6, 2012

Escaping the Meat Market

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According to the United Nations, the meat industry produces more greenhouse gases than the world's plane, train, and automobile fleets combined. So if you're looking for a way to please The Lorax and stay well fed, start getting more of your protein from plants and reduce the amount of meat in your diet, especially the factory-farmed meat that's widely available in supermarkets. It's not just good for the planet, it's healthier for you, too. Harvard scientists recently completed a study finding that eating a single serving of red meat each day increases your risk of early death, and factory-farmed chicken, often touted as a healthier alternative to beef, can be contaminated with e. coli bacteria that can give you urinary tract infections.

The idea that protein only comes from meat is a myth. Nearly all foods contain small amounts of protein, and it's very easy to get your daily protein requirements from beans, grains, nuts, and certain green vegetables, which have less cholesterol and fat than meat and are usually cheaper, to boot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that women get 46 grams (g) of protein each day and that men get 56 g.
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