Frequently asked questions:
How do I get enough protein if I don't eat meat?
Foods like whole grains, nuts, seeds and even vegetables contain protein so if you are eating these foods regularly you will get ample protein. Our bodies break down the amino acids in protein and re-organize them into sequences our bodies can use. All foods have amino acids. Many people eat a lot more protein than they need. You need about 0.5g of protein per pound of body weight each day.
Where do I get calcium if I don't eat dairy?
Dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds and some whole grains have a lot of calcium. Even though dairy contains calcium it is acidic in the body. The body has to leach calcium from the bones to neutralize the acidity so the net effect results in less calcium being available for other functions. Over the past few decades the recommendations for daily calcium supplementation has steadily increased from 600mg to now, 1200mg. Many people consume large amounts of dairy products so clearly that is not solving the calcium deficiency problem. The countries that consume the highest levels of dairy (Norway, Sweden) also have the highest levels of osteoporosis and hip fractures. Go figure.
Isn't it okay to eat whatever I want, as long as I exercise and burn off the excess calories?
Maintaining a healthy weight and monitoring calorie intake and expenditure is only a part of being healthy overall. Slim people get heart attacks and other degenerative diseases. Eating a regular diet of processed, refined and artificial foods can, over time, result in numerous health problems.
If a certain disease runs in my family then I'm I likely to get it even if I eat a healthy diet?
Your genes can make you more susceptible to certain diseases. Your lifestyle and dietary habits can significantly lower your risks by making sure those genes are not expressed. I also firmly believe that dietary customs and eating habits 'run' in families from generation to generation. Generations of poor eating habits can actually change genes over time.