Eco-Friendly Protein Sources.

Finding the Most Eco-friendly Protein Sources.

Protein Supplementary.

Plant-Based Protein

Plant-Based Protein

Due to cultural background and exposure at an earlier time, most people in US and other western countries have been patterned to think that meat is the main source of protein. This thought has formed their pattern of eating that puts meat to be largely consumed in their daily diet. It was by later century that they began to realize that many people in other parts of the world do not consume meat in their daily diet, yet get adequate protein for proper nourishment. The protein sources do not either come from other diary / poultry products like milk and egg, but from plant- base protein source, which then found to be the most eco-friendly protein sources. Soybean, Legumes and Grains are among them.

How Plant Base Protein Sources Benefit the Environment.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the livestock sector produces higher CO2 than transport sector does and also becomes major cause of land and water degradation.  High demand for beef has triggered some countries to raise industry in cattle. This industry requires massive pastures to feed their livestock that causing rampant deforestation. In Latin America, for example, about 70 percent of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing land. You may even find it hard to believe that today, 30 percent of the earth’s land surface is used for cattle industry, which including 33 percent of the global arable land used to producing food for livestock.

Considering the environment harms caused by the cattle industry, such as deforestation and emission and pollutant of cattle and poultry, it is highly recommended to fulfill our protein diet from various sources instead of just from red meat.   Plant-based protein source is healthier than the diary products, for both human body and the environment. For comparison, to get 1 lb of protein from beef, we need to feed the cow with 7 lbs of grain and soybean protein. If the same land were to produce food for humans directly, 7 times more people could eat. Another grim example is, from 12 lbs of wheat we can produce 12 loaves of bread, but we can only make 1 hamburger, due to the production of beef on it.

“Area of tropical rainforest destroyed for the production of each fast-food hamburger made from rainforest beef:  55 square feet.”

(Denslow, Julie, and Padoch, Christine, People of the Tropical Rainforest, University of California Press, 1988, pg 169)  []

More astonishing fact is, to produce one pound of protein derived from beef requires 20 times as much fossil fuel energy as the same one pound of protein derived from corn or wheat. Protein sourced from beef demands 40 times more fossil fuel energy than the same amount of protein derived from soybeans. Thus consuming food crops first hand make a tremendous energy savings.

NPU of Alternative Protein Sources.

A diet of pant-base protein sources can help saving the sustainability of our earth. Usually, suggested alternative protein sources are:

  • Soybean
  • Legumes
  • Egg
  • Milk.

Extensive soybean farming has been blamed for the rainforest destroy, especially in the Amazon region; this is due the huge demand of soybean from cattle industry. If  we replace our protein diet from beef to soybean, then the demand of soybean will be much lessened. To replace red meat, usually chicken, fish and turkey are consumed.  Although chicken and turkey may also be fed with soybean, it is considered to cause less rainforest destroys than cow cattle does. The lowest environmental risk is plant-based protein sources.

Buy Plant -Based Protein Food Here.

The absorption of protein from ingested food depends on the amino acid balance and other factors contained on it. The percentage of the ingested protein usually absorbed by the body is calculated as Net Protein Utilization (NPU). Some plant protein base, like brown rice and soybeans even contain a better amino acid balance for humans than meat.

Here are NPU values (from Diet for a Small Planet) for some selected foods:

most meats 65-57%
eggs 94%
milk 82%
soybeans (alone) 61%
other legumes alone 50-60%
brown rice 70%
other whole grains 50-60%

So you have learnt the comparison of protein contain from various alternative protein sources, the next thing is to alternate your diet to protect our planet!  You might be interested to learn the benefits of consuming soybean and advanteges of consuming tofu and  tempeh.

Plan to be a vegan now ? These recipes might help :

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