Remember that commercial?  I loved that little old lady who shouted, “Where’s the beef?”  It was a hit during it’s time.

If someone were to really ask me, “Where’s the beef?”.  I would probably respond, “Who cares?”.  I admit I am not a huge meat eater by any means.  Meat actually grosses me out a little.  I hate preparing it.  The feel and smell of raw meat turns my stomach.  I don’t even like to patty up hamburgers.  Disgusting! 

However, that doesn’t mean I am totally against meat.  I do love a good cheeseburger now and again.  I just don’t ever really crave a steak, or a juicy chicken and you can just forget about eating pork.  Don’t even get me started on pork.  Pork is repulsive.  You know the whole pig/toxin thing don’t you?  Now if you are talking overly processed bacon, that’s another story for me.  I love crispy bacon.  I am a total mixed bag on meat.  However, I recognize that protein is vital for a healthy diet.  Protein gives our bodie’s cells structure, assists in making hormones and enzymes, and also is needed for growth/tissue repair.

Due to my transient and totally emotionally tied repsulsion for most meats, I try to look for more sources for protein than just meat.  I stumbled upon this great list a while back, and while I already use many of these food items in my own diet, I found a couple more great ideas.  I am a firm believer that the lower you eat on the food chain, the healthier the food. Meaning, meats are higher up on the food chain and usually have more toxins.  Plants, minus human applied ferilizers, tend to have few to no toxins. These protein sources fit that criteria as well.

Go to fullsize image1. Quinoa (pronounced KEE-nwah)  Known as the mother grain of the Andes this delicious nutty flavored grain has amino acids, a high iron content, and is quick to cook.  Look for this also in breads, pastas and other grain products.  I learned to love this grain when I was going “wheat free” for a while due to an elimination diet.  I still crave the yummy bread made with this I found at the health food store.

Go to fullsize image2.  Veggie Burgers  That’s right!  It’s a burger but absolutely no beef can be found in these.  Usually made with protein rich soy and organic vegetables, these no meat alternatives come in a bunch of tasty varieties.  Don’t be afraid of veggie burgers, they don’t taste like the cardboard veggie patties from days past.  I admit we don’t eat too many of these at my house.  Tomas thinks the only burger is one made out of beef.  I have yet to find a veggie burger that fits “his beefy manly needs”.

Go to fullsize image3.  Almonds  You all know about the delicious almond, right?  It’s the perfect snack!  High in protein and calcium while low in carbs, this little nut provides a tasty and easy meat alternative.  For best results, eat them raw.  But, don’t just eat the nut itself!  Try almond milk too!  I try to pretend that almond paste is equally as healthy when I am eating danishes or pastries, but I don’t think that counts.

Go to fullsize image4.  Yogurt  Packed with protein, calcium and good bacteria, yogurt is another healthy staple.  Stick to the organic varieties to avoid the processed extras that many brands contain.  Plain, organic, full-fat yogurt is best for you.

Go to fullsize image5.  Tempeh  I haven’t tried this yet, so I will assume that this really would be tasty.  Made from fermented soy beans and rice, tempeh is high in protein and fiber.  I have heard it has a nutty flavor and tastes great in stir frys.  Let me know what you think.  I am usually not an adventurous chef.

Go to fullsize image6.  Legumes  My favorite category!!!  Love these!!  Lentils (yum), chick peas (yum yum) and black beans (yum, yum, yum) are full of protein and fiber.  Find a healthy recipe to combine all three for a protein power pack.  We use all three in combo to make an awesome burrito.  No beef in those babies!  Just legume goodness!  Oh, and don’t even get me started on how great hummus is!

Go to fullsize image7.  Cheese  Oh, my beloved cheese!  I love cheese!  Buy all natural cheese for an awesome addition of protein to your diet.  All natural cheddar and mozzarella are the best choices for protein content. 

Eat up my friends!  As a bonus, you will save a TON of money at the grocery by switching out some of your meat for these protein choices.  Have you seen the price of meat lately??  Who needs it?

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