I choose to be mostly vegan from a strictly environmental and humane perspective. The health benefits are there, and there's plenty of science to back it up. Cooked meat contains carcinogens and AGE's that damage cells. The amount of water, land and resources it takes to produce one hamburger patty. For instance, it takes 460 gallons of water to produce a quarter pound of beef. Cattle land is absolutely decimated by over grazing. And, my personal kicker, cows are freaking cute and super sensitive creatures. Enough said.
Full disclosure - I enjoy eggs and cheese from time to time. I even eat chicken and fish once or twice a month! I am a flexatarian, eating mostly vegan and trying my best to ensure when my body is truly craving meat to give it what it needs.
Upon researching why, exactly, I am craving meat (besides the fact that our ancestors partook and therefore there is a deeply ingrained reason), I came across a fact I'd forgotten - when eating a vegan diet, you must ensure to be ingesting all nine essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are the building blocks of cells that our body does not make on their own and therefore must be consumed by external sources. My brain flashes to breatharians, and disclaimer, I do think the human body can do truly amazing things with the power of mana, the Hawaiian word for life force power.
Meat, eggs and cheese naturally have these essential amino acids in just one serving. If you don't partake, it's a very simple fix to be observant of what you consume to ensure you're getting the full spectrum of amino acids for healthy, ageless skin, sustained energy, and muscle building capacity.
Here's my recommendation for vegans and complete proteins:
1. Quinoa - a naturally occuring complete protein with all 9 essential amino acids
2. Sunwarrior Protein Powder - you can buy the "Natural" flavored one which has Ana-approved ingedients with nothing sketchy or harmful to health! Another complete protein source.
3. Tempeh - I prefer this to tofu as it's fermented, with more fiber and a nutty flavor, keeping you more satisfied and your gut healthy.
4. Ezekiel bread - unlike most breads, the combination of whole grains and legumes makes Ezekiel bread a complete protein with all nine essential amino acids.
5. Spirulina - an algae that can be bought in powder form and added to smoothies or yummy lattes with an alternative mylk and some maple syrup. (Check the ingredients of your alternative mylk - almost all of them are laden with nasty ingredients like natural flavors and binding agents.) The best way is to make your own oat mylk!
6. Rice and beans or beans and spinach. Combining these two yummy combinations creates a complete amino acid profile ensured to leave you feeling satisfied. Add in a fried plantain to get your South American flavor!
In conclusion, I have a hunkering the reason I crave meat a few times a month could be my partiality to fruits and nuts and forgetting to add in beans, rice, quinoa, and other complete protein sources. I'll check back in in a month or two and give you all a report!