The Meatless Monday Challenge
I am challenging you to complete four Mondays of a plant based diet. This meaning all of your protein for each Monday will come from vegetables, grains and dairy. There are an overwhelming number of recipes on Pinterest, Google, Vegetarian or Plant-based recipe books at the bookstore, or you can just utilize my Meatless Monday blog under WonderFULLWednesdays. There I have done the work for you, you just have to choose what recipe looks appealing to you, buy the ingredients and get cooking!
Plant Based Diet Benefits
But how will I get enough protein?
Due to protein being a hidden factor of many plant-based foods, it is hard to become deficient in protein. Proteins are strands of amino acids, of which essential amino acids must be consumed through diet and are not made in the body. Most essential amino acids are found in meat, dairy & eggs, but there are also a multitude of essential proteins found in grains such as quinoa.1 Be sure to combine different essential amino acids together, such as brown rice and beans or hummus and whole wheat pita. This will prevent any protein deficiency; another reason for the importance of a varied diet.2
If you are looking to do this long term, vitamin B12 supplementation or vitamin B12 fortified foods are a must.1 B12 is produced by bacteria, so those who do not consume any animal products are at risk for this deficiency.2 B12 is needed for red blood cell formation and division, and without it our bodies can develop anemia and/or irreversible nerve damage.
Deficiency signs and symptoms:
Soy is a great source of protein, which can help lower levels of unhealthy fats in the blood 34, as well as have been found to decrease the risk of hip fractures35 and breast cancer.
"A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association36 reported that women with breast cancer who regularly consumed soy products had a 32% lower risk of breast cancer recurrence and a 29% decreased risk of death, compared with women who consumed little or no soy.36 An analysis of 14 studies, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that increased intake of soy resulted in a 26% reduction in prostate cancer risk.37"
"Because of concerns over the estrogenic nature of soy products, women with a history of breast cancer should discuss soy foods with their oncologists. Also, overly processed, soy-based meat substitutes are often high in isolated soy proteins and other ingredients that may not be as healthy as less processed soy products (ie, tofu, tempeh, and soy milk)."