I recently read a news story about Sheriff Arpaio’s decision to make all inmate meals vegetarian. I would like to commend this decision as well as offer some protein alternatives to soy-based products. Not only is soy farming threatening biodiversity, endangered species, and the livelihoods of local people, but it also poses health risks from consumption. Thousands of studies link soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility — even cancer and heart disease. Soybean crops are also heavily sprayed with chemical herbicides, such glyphosate, which a French team of researchers have found to be carcinogenic. Soybeans — even organically grown soybeans — naturally contain “antinutrients” such as saponins, soyatoxin, phytates, trypsin inhibitors, goitrogens and phytoestrogens. Traditional fermentation destroys these antinutrients, which allows your body to enjoy soy’s nutritional benefits. However, most Westerners do not consume fermented soy, but rather unfermented soy, mostly in the form of soymilk, tofu, TVP, and soy infant formula.
Some protein alternatives to soy are:
– Legumes: Almost every starchy bean contains 12 to 15 grams of protein per cooked cup. Chickpeas have 19g of protein per 100g. Lentils have 9g of protein per 100g.
– Greens: Per calorie, vegetables like broccoli and spinach are very high in protein. Two cups of raw spinach, for example, contain 2.1 grams of protein, and one cup of chopped broccoli contains 8.1 grams.
– Nuts: They typically have 21g protein per 100g. Two tablespoons of peanut butter contains about 8 grams of protein.
– Hemp: Hemp seeds contain 30.6g of protein per 100g. Hemp milk can also be a way to add protein to your diet, and it’s even lower in calories than skim milk.
-Seeds: Chia seeds have 17g of protein per 100g. Sesame seeds have 18g of protein per 100g. Sunflower seeds have 21g of protein per 100g, and poppy seeds have 18g of protein per 100g.
Again, I commend the decision to go vegetarian, I just ask that it is done thoughtfully.