Thoughts On Going Meatless

17 Sep

I love learning anything and everything I can about nutrition. I am extremely interested in how certain diets can alter the body, provide energy and enhance athlete performance.

For the last 2+ years I have loosely been following a Paleo diet. I say “loosely” because I still drink beer, eat yogurt and occasionally enjoy beans, bread and baked goods. However, these additions, or “cheats”, usually make me feel pretty crappy, as my system is not used to processing them.

Overall, I enjoy eating paleo. I believe it to be a moderately clean diet and has really forced me to make veggies more of a priority. However, I have seen some downfalls, mostly in energy levels, grocery bills and satiety. To solve this, I recently added barley to my diet and Greek yogurt and have seen a definite improvement.

However, now I have going meatless on the brain, after reading Eat Vegan and Run in Runner’s World.

Being a “lean” runner is very important and can definitely make you more competitive and puts less pressure on the body. While eating vegan seems far too extremely for me, I can see the benefits of eating vegetarian – with some modifications, of course.

One concern: protein

Based on my body weight, I need about 44g of protein a day. (=body weight/2, minus 10). With that in mind, here are some animal proteins compared to plant-based proteins:

  • 3 oz chicken = 21g protein (120 cals)
  • 3 oz lean turkey = 13.5g protein (90 cals)
  • 3 oz lean beef = 17g protein (145 cals)
  • 1 whole egg = 6g protein (70 cals)
  • 1 egg white = 3.5g protein (17 cals)


  • 1 1/3 cups black beans = 21g (300 cals)
  • 1 1/2 cups chick peas = 21g protein (430 cals)
  • 1 cup + 2.4 tbsp lentils = 21g protein (265 cals)
  • 1 scoop Warrior Blend plant-based protein powder = 16g protein (84 cals)

Glancing over that list, it looks like the calorie count is about double for the equivalent protein serving of meat as compared to plant-based proteins. Plus, 1.5 cups of black beans seems really intense for one meal. I guess the trade-off is way more fiber and less fat in the plant-based proteins.

Additionally, in order to make these plant-based proteins complete, they need to be paired with grains, such as rice, bulgar, whole wheat and barley.

I’m not totally into the idea of eating grains and wheat, as these just don’t make me feel great, but I do love barley and would use that to help make complete proteins.

So, here are my thoughts:

  • keep eggs in my morning routine – I like the vitamin D they provide and they are so easy to make.
  • make lunch or dinner protein animal-based, and the other plant-based
  • try the Warrior Blend plant-based protein powder (since the whey and soy made me sick)
  • Eat lots of fruit and veggies
  • limit nuts – making me very crampy lately
  • limit starches to barley, sweet potatoes and occasionally whole wheat bread

Kind of excited to give this a shot, especially since my foot and knee are now back in shape for running again. I’ll start with chick peas and limit animal proteins to fish, chicken and lean turkey. More to come!


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