Author Topic: Eating Right: How To Get Started  (Read 64828 times)

Offline Chris Salvato

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Eating Right: How To Get Started
« on: October 12, 2008, 08:28:14 PM »
PREFACE NOTES
  • This article was written as a more formal article in response to the thread titled not getting my diet
  • THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LIST OF HEALTHY FOODS.  The list is just a SAMPLE Menu - your menu may not have any of these items at all!  It is about personal preference and lifestyle.

EDIT - Quinoa has been removed from my list of "other good foods".  This was done for consistency in this installment of the article series I plan to write.  Quinoa is very calorically dense and it is not a good choice when learning how to eat properly.  Quinoa is a great food, but its place is not in the program for someone just getting started, in my opinion.

Eating Right: How to Get Started

One thing that I want to reiterate from Steve's article, How to construct your own workout routine, is that diet itself will *NOT* put on any muscle mass, for most people, anyway.  While a small amount of weight loss is possible with purely dietary changes, proper diet must be coupled with an appropriate training regimen for your body composition goals in order to achieve optimal results.

I am attempting to keep this short so that most people will be able to fix their diet without going into too much detail.

This article will not address the dozens of ideologies and schemes that exist in mainstream dieting (high carb, low carb, etc.) nor will it address things like why breads/grains are poor dietary choices.  Rather, it will address a structured, simple methodology to increase the "quality" of your food.  This is what most credible nutritional sources will say is the first step to proper nutrition.

I. High Quality Food Categories

Without going into much detail we can boil high quality nutrition down to 7 basic categories:
1) Vegetables - Source of carb
2) Fruits - Source of carb
3) Beans - Source of carb
4) Meats - Source of protein
5) Fish - Source of protein
6) Nuts - Source of fat
7) Seeds - Source of fat

Additionally, there are some high quality foods that are rather ambiguous and need to be addressed individually:
A) Olives - Source of fat. 
B) Avocados - Source of fat.
C) Coconuts - Source of fat.
D) Eggs - Excellent source of protein.  Interchangeable with meat sources. (1 Whole egg = 1 Oz meat...or... 2 Egg Whites = 1 Oz Meat)
E) Dairy
  • Milk - Whole Milk is good if you are trying to gain weight.  Skim milk is good if you are trying to lose.
  • Cheese - Only recommended to those who want to gain weight.  Avoid if trying to lose.
  • Cottage Cheese - 3% Milkfat is fine if trying to gain weight.  Low/Non-fat if trying to lose.  Low calorie fruits spruce up flavor.
F) Oatmeal - Eat this once daily, if possible, as part of a balanced meal (which means you need to include protein and fat.)
G) Olive Oil - Source of fat.  If trying to gain weight, pour it on everything including ice cream.  Well...maybe not ice cream, but you get the point.

II. Menu Creation

With these categories, you can make a comprehensive menu of foods.  On your own, personal menu, you should list any and all foods in these categories that you not only enjoy, but that you can just tolerate.  As you get more used to eating better, the foods you can barely stand now will start to taste better, as well.  Remember, it takes 21 days on any regimen, whether its exercise, diet, or even a new job, before the whole ordeal becomes routine in your brain.  Keep this in mind as you transition into your new diet that you will need three weeks to acclimate psychologically and physiologically.

For clarity, an example of a good starting menu is shown below:


When you make your own menu, I suggest that you carry it around with you everywhere you go.  The goal is to constantly expand the menu as you learn new food items that you enjoy that fit into these categories.

III. 5 Simple Rules

These categories come with a basic set of 5 simple rules for each meal:
1) Many Veggies - At least 2 cups (total) of veggies with every meal.  These can be spruced up by cooking with Onions, Garlic, Spices and Olive Oil.
2) Always Meat - At least 4-6 oz (palm sized portion or larger) or LEAN meat or fish.  LEAN meat is poultry (chicken, turkey, hen) and lean cuts of beef.  Pork is not lean.  Avoid beef all together when you are first starting since it is hard to identify the lean cuts when you are new.  Some people eat over a pound of meat/fish each sitting, depending on their goals.  4-6 oz minimum is a good place to start.
3) Fruits Vary - Some fruits like bananas, pears, peaches and apples are loaded with sugars.  Limit the intake of such fruits to 1 per meal.  Other fruits like berries and melon can be eaten with virtually no limit.  Berries should be a staple in all diets due to their high concentration of anti-oxidants. More information on the amount of calories in these fruits can be found by searching www.nutritiondata.com
4) Replacing Veggies - If you aren't in the mood for veggies, you can replace 1 cup beans for every 2 cups veggies.  You can also eat beans with your vegetables, if you like.  Try not to put veggies off but its okay to do so sometimes.  Veggies can also be replaced by fruit.  High quantities of the low calorie fruits (berries, melons, etc.) or low quantities (1-2 pieces) of the high calorie items (bananas, dates, peaches, pears, etc.)
5) Eat Fat - Eat nuts, seeds, olives, avocado, coconut or olive oil with every meal.  For weight loss, you want around 6-10 nuts, half an ounce of seeds, a 4-6 olives, 1/4 of an avocado, 25g coconut or 1 tsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) .  For weight gain, eat significantly more than these quantities...you will know when you had enough if you are trying to gain.  As you lose fat and your goals change, realize that the amount of fat that you need will change as well!

IV. Snacking

Snacking is acceptable when you are just focusing on improving the quality of your food.  Snacking is encouraged by some methodologies and discouraged by others.  Both have good reason for these recommendations and it usually depends on your goals.  However, for those just starting, make sure your snacks only come from foods on your menu.  If possible, make snacks contain a source of fat, carb and protein so that they are "balanced".

V. Supplementation

One final note is that supplementation is something that should be done only when one knows what they are doing.  Most times, supplements will be a waste of your time and money.  The best way to get everything you need is through whole foods.  However, I suggest three supplements below that I believe everyone should make part of their daily routine.  Supplementing as specified below is relatively inexpensive when compared to the benefits MOST HUMAN BEINGS experience from this supplementation.

A) Supplement with 3-5g of fish oil daily.  At a bare minimum, take in 2 grams.  Every day.
B) Drink Green Tea.  Every day.  If you are concerned about caffeine, brew one cup with a green tea bag, discard the water, then use the same tea bag with fresh, boiling water.  This eliminates most of the caffeine while maintaining most of the anti-oxiants for which we are drinking the tea.
C) 2 multivitamin pills daily, with food.  Every day.  Centrum brand is cheap and should be just fine.

Happy dieting, and feel free to post your menus below for critique!
« Last Edit: February 02, 2009, 06:12:45 AM by Chris Salvato »

Offline Christian Greene

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Re: Eating Right: How To Get Started
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2008, 08:59:24 PM »
Thank you <3
hahah

Offline Charles Moreland

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Re: Eating Right: How To Get Started
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2008, 09:11:08 PM »
finally...      ;)

Offline Sat Santokh

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Re: Eating Right: How To Get Started
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2008, 09:37:45 PM »
Aren't beans a complete amino acid, why do you have them listed as carb?  Also you should throw quinoa on there its a complete amino acid and is very healthy, cheap, and easy to make.  http://chetday.com/quinoa.html

Offline KC Parsons

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Re: Eating Right: How To Get Started
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2008, 06:50:56 AM »
Beautiful.
I'm glad someone was able to finally lay out basic, yet effective dietary guidelines, without getting too complicated.

You rock, Chris.

Offline Chris Salvato

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Re: Eating Right: How To Get Started
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2008, 08:05:16 AM »
Aren't beans a complete amino acid, why do you have them listed as carb?  Also you should throw quinoa on there its a complete amino acid and is very healthy, cheap, and easy to make.  http://chetday.com/quinoa.html

Good question Sat.  This is something that comes up quite often as most people think Beans and Quinoa are a good source of protein.

Short Answer
For those who don't care about details, there are significantly more carbs than protein in quinoa and ALL beans.

Long Answer
For those who DO care about details, I would like to present my argument with the following point in mind: the Protein in beans, grain and vegetable sources is NOT absorbed with the same efficacy as the proteins from animal sources.  This is the best quick reference I could find, but it is fairly accurate:
http://www.myfit.ca/archives/viewanarticle.asp?table=nutrition&id=24&subject=Protein+Absorption

Quote
Eggs                        100
Fish                           70 (Salmon is the best)
Cow's Milk                  60
Lean Beef                   69
Soybeans                   47
Dry Beans                  34
Peanuts                     43
Whole-grain Wheat     44
Brown Rice                57
White Rice                 56
White Potato              34

According to this table, beans have roughly 34% rate of absorption.  This is the figure I will be using to calculate the net protein absorption for beans here on out.  I am unsure of Quinoa's protein absorption, but it should be similar to those of Whole-grain wheat as it is a grain/seed itself.

Another quick view of this table reinforces the point that those protein sources that are not from animals tend to have less than 60% rate of absorption.

Now that this is clear, lets look at how this boils down when we examine portions of beans (and quinoa).

Note: All macronutrient quantities are based off of the links provided for 100g servings.

String/Snap Beans - http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2341/2
Fat       0 g
Carb     7 g
[Fiber    3 g]
Protein  2 g

Net Carb         7-3 = 4g
Net Protein      2 * 0.34 = 0.68 g

Net Carb/Raw Protein Ratio - 1.89 (This means that if the protein was absorbed at a rate of 100% this would be the multiple of how many calories are due to carb rather than protein)
Net Carb/Net Protein Ratio -  5.88 (This means it has 5.88x the amount of carb compared to protein.)


Kidney Beans - http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4424/2
Fat       0 g
Carb     23 g
[Fiber    6 g]
Protein  9 g

Net Carb         23-6 = 17 g
Net Protein      9 * 0.34 = 3.06 g

Net Carb/Raw Protein Ratio - 1.89
Net Carb/Net Protein Ratio -  5.55

Pinto Beans - http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4430/2
Fat       1 g
Carb     26 g
[Fiber    9 g]
Protein  9 g

Net Carb         26-9 = 17 g
Net Protein      9 * 0.34 = 3.06 g

Net Carb/Raw Protein Ratio - 1.89
Net Carb/Net Protein Ratio -  5.55

Garbanzo Beans/Chickpeas - http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4326/2
Fat       3 g
Carb     27 g
[Fiber    8 g]
Protein  9 g

Net Carb         27-8 = 19 g
Net Protein      9 * 0.34 = 3.06 g

Net Carb/Raw Protein Ratio - 2.11
Net Carb/Net Protein Ratio -  6.21

Quinoa - http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4326/2
Fat       2 g
Carb     21 g
[Fiber    3 g]
Protein  4 g

Net Carb         21-3 = 17 g
Net Protein      4 * 0.44 =  1.76 g

Net Carb/Raw Protein Ratio - 4.25
Net Carb/Net Protein Ratio -  9.66

-----------

From the exhibition of this data, it should be really clear that pretty much all beans have a much more significant component of carb as opposed to protein despite their complete amino profile. 

Because of the complete amino profile, any proteins absorbed from beans will be put to good use, however, the amount of proteins that are absorbed is so small when compared to the carb that it is usually just considered a good source of carb.

Another reason beans are great to have in the diet is that they are higher in caloric density, making it easier to consume these for higher calorie diets that we need, while keeping the Glycemic Index low AND the Glycemic load low (since there is a lot of protein and fiber to buffer the absorption).

In conclusion, beans and quinoa are a great source of carb due to the low GI and GL.  However, they are not a good primary source of protein since they have little protein that is actually absorbed into the bloodstream due to their low protein concentration coupled with low rate of protein absorption.

Offline Zachary Cohn

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Re: Eating Right: How To Get Started
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2008, 10:15:23 AM »
I touched this thread... and it's all goopy like.. I can't get it off my hands. It's very stickied

Edit - I suck at reading.

Offline tombb

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Re: Eating Right: How To Get Started
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2008, 06:51:12 PM »
I definitely agree with Chris that beans are a good source of carbs.
They are also a decent source of protein however (compared to many other sources of carbs that are mostly just carbs). But you want to separate the absorption (something that can be lowered by fibers or cooked/uncooked state of food) and the aminoacid balance. That table is actually off on the order of foods but claims to be just based on aminoacid balance, and that can be compensated for by having a varied diet.

So if someone really likes to eat beans for whatever reasons (taste, resistance to gas hehe, etc), they can just make sure they also consume (not necessarily simultaneously) some other sources of proteins that somewhat complement their aminoacids. If you only ate beans all day instead, then aminoacid balance would be much more of a concern. Doing math on 'net protein' based on aminoacid balance value is not correct or useful unless you look at how things actually balance out in a day.

Another small point I wanted to make is supplementation cost, because I think in many cases that is much cheaper than equivalent food. Two prime examples are multivitamin/multimineral pills and bulk protein powders.

Offline Chris Salvato

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Re: Eating Right: How To Get Started
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2008, 07:18:11 PM »
So if someone really likes to eat beans for whatever reasons (taste, resistance to gas hehe, etc), they can just make sure they also consume (not necessarily simultaneously) some other sources of proteins that somewhat complement their aminoacids. If you only ate beans all day instead, then aminoacid balance would be much more of a concern. Doing math on 'net protein' based on aminoacid balance value is not correct or useful unless you look at how things actually balance out in a day.

Once again, that table was just used as a rough basis for protein absorption (which is similar to the amino acid balance, which is why I used it...)

Sorry for any confusion, but the math is still valid, albeit mildly skewed.

Also, cost aside, most supplements are a waste of money unless you know what you are doing with them...and doesn't really have its place in this article....which is why I didn't discuss them aside from multivitamin (for getting started) fish oil and green tea.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2008, 07:24:07 PM by Chris Salvato »

Offline tombb

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Re: Eating Right: How To Get Started
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2008, 08:08:36 PM »
well, not to be too picky (but rather to leave the most accurate information in stickied threads), people should keep in mind that protein absorption and aminoacid balance are two completely different things with very different causes and consequences.

Also while you could reasonably do math on net protein based on absorption (for example from cooked vs raw eggs or interference of fiber), doing math on aminoacid balance is not just skewing the results a little, it's skewing the results by a lot or just gives you a completely wrong result. A food with say 30% value due to its aminoacid balance will easily double or more in value depending on what else you consumed during the day (these foods are often rate limited by a single aminoacid which is often in excess in other foods you are likely to consume).

Offline Chris Salvato

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Re: Eating Right: How To Get Started
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2008, 08:09:58 PM »
find a table on protein absorption, PM it to me, and I will redo the math

I can't find the table i like and I don't feel scouring the internet again for it when the results will be fairly similar...

Offline Broc

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Re: Eating Right: How To Get Started
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2008, 08:38:03 PM »
cool! i'm surprised to find that i take in many of the foods on that list daily, along with the fish oil and multi vitamins
thank you mom for making me home cooked meals  ;D  lol

Offline Chris Salvato

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Re: Eating Right: How To Get Started
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2008, 08:40:59 PM »
cool! i'm surprised to find that i take in many of the foods on that list daily, along with the fish oil and multi vitamins
thank you mom for making me home cooked meals  ;D  lol

do you eat bread?

Offline tombb

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Re: Eating Right: How To Get Started
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2008, 09:31:34 PM »
find a table on protein absorption, PM it to me, and I will redo the math

I can't find the table i like and I don't feel scouring the internet again for it when the results will be fairly similar...
Well it's much easier for me to find problems in something than to give a perfect replacement for it ;) but I would at least improve it by replacing it with something like the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score, which takes into account both absorption differences from digestion and aminoacid balance in a bit more accurate way.

Keep in mind it still has its limitations:
-foods like whole soy have special chemicals that prevent absorbption of proteins which are not factored in this value
-effect of combining food with complementary aminoacids is not taken into account.
-all these are approximations. We do have exact values for just a handful of foods where we actually measured nitrogen retention directly instead of just making assumptions and approximations.

But keeping those points in mind the values are still very useful, and I can somewhat correct for them here. The link to a summary and the original paper describing PDCAA and resulting table is here, and for convenience I am copying and correcting (in green) the list below:

whey (1.0)
egg white (1.0) (!) (if cooked, just 0.5 if raw)
casein (1.0)
milk (1.0)
soy protein isolate (1.00)
beans + grains (~1.00) (!) (if consumed in relative amounts on the same day)
beef (0.92)
soybean (0.91) (!) (actually lower than 0.91 due to tannins, fibers etc)
kidney beans (0.68)
rye (0.68)
whole wheat (0.54)
lentils (0.52)
peanuts (0.52)

Offline Chris Salvato

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Re: Eating Right: How To Get Started
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2008, 09:44:34 PM »
find a table on protein absorption, PM it to me, and I will redo the math

I can't find the table i like and I don't feel scouring the internet again for it when the results will be fairly similar...
Well it's much easier for me to find problems in something than to give a perfect replacement for it ;) but I would at least improve it by replacing it with something like the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score, which takes into account both absorption differences from digestion and aminoacid balance in a bit more accurate way.

Keep in mind it still has its limitations:
-foods like whole soy have special chemicals that prevent absorbption of proteins which are not factored in this value
-effect of combining food with complementary aminoacids is not taken into account.
-all these are approximations. We do have exact values for just a handful of foods where we actually measured nitrogen retention directly instead of just making assumptions and approximations.

But keeping those points in mind the values are still very useful, and I can somewhat correct for them here. The link to a summary and the original paper describing PDCAA and resulting table is here, and for convenience I am copying and correcting (in green) the list below:

whey (1.0)
egg white (1.0) (!) (if cooked, just 0.5 if raw)
casein (1.0)
milk (1.0)
soy protein isolate (1.00)
beans + grains (~1.00) (!) (if consumed in relative amounts on the same day)
beef (0.92)
soybean (0.91) (!) (actually lower than 0.91 due to tannins, fibers etc)
kidney beans (0.68)
rye (0.68)
whole wheat (0.54)
lentils (0.52)
peanuts (0.52)

I have read from some credible sources that protein "completion" by eating a complete amino profile was totally whack.  If you can provide counter-evidence I will consider it -- since the person who conceptualized that idea is also the main opponent for it is compelling evidence for me that its crap...so...

Offline tombb

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Re: Eating Right: How To Get Started
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2008, 10:09:30 PM »
find a table on protein absorption, PM it to me, and I will redo the math

I can't find the table i like and I don't feel scouring the internet again for it when the results will be fairly similar...
Well it's much easier for me to find problems in something than to give a perfect replacement for it ;) but I would at least improve it by replacing it with something like the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score, which takes into account both absorption differences from digestion and aminoacid balance in a bit more accurate way.

Keep in mind it still has its limitations:
-foods like whole soy have special chemicals that prevent absorbption of proteins which are not factored in this value
-effect of combining food with complementary aminoacids is not taken into account.
-all these are approximations. We do have exact values for just a handful of foods where we actually measured nitrogen retention directly instead of just making assumptions and approximations.

But keeping those points in mind the values are still very useful, and I can somewhat correct for them here. The link to a summary and the original paper describing PDCAA and resulting table is here, and for convenience I am copying and correcting (in green) the list below:

whey (1.0)
egg white (1.0) (!) (if cooked, just 0.5 if raw)
casein (1.0)
milk (1.0)
soy protein isolate (1.00)
beans + grains (~1.00) (!) (if consumed in relative amounts on the same day)
beef (0.92)
soybean (0.91) (!) (actually lower than 0.91 due to tannins, fibers etc)
kidney beans (0.68)
rye (0.68)
whole wheat (0.54)
lentils (0.52)
peanuts (0.52)

I have read from some credible sources that protein "completion" by eating a complete amino profile was totally whack.  If you can provide counter-evidence I will consider it -- since the person who conceptualized that idea is also the main opponent for it is compelling evidence for me that its crap...so...
That's a common misunderstanding unfortunately. The only part about this that is, as you say, "totally whack" is that you must eat those foods in the same meal to improve protein value. You don't.
(well, you can too, but it's not necessary to get this benefit).

What is absolutely correct and undeniable is all proteins will be broken down into the same sets of aminoacids and the body doesn't keep track of which food they came from, so once they are circulating in your body they will all be available (mixed) and it's only the total combined proportion that matters.

So, in a way, Protein Combining is both absolutely correct and wrong or unnecessary, depending on what you mean by it (see the link I give at the start of this sentence for more discussion, sources and references).

So again eating something like grains and beans in the same day makes both protein sources better, but they don't have to be mixed in the same meal, that doesn't really matter.

I am sure the sources you allude to either understand and agree with all this or likely don't have any scientifically plausible argument against it. If you can find even a single argument or fact against it I will be glad to look it over and discuss it with you.

Offline Chris Salvato

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Re: Eating Right: How To Get Started
« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2008, 04:51:01 AM »
With non-animal sources you still have the following flaws:

1) Overwhelming amounts of carbs compared to protein concentrations (which is what I was trying to illustrate).  Even if you ignore the "net protein" calculations, there is significantly more (multiples more....) carb vs. protein which is the real main issue.
2) Lack of nitrogen necessary for putting proteins to "good use" in the body that can only be provided by animals sources that produce nitrogen that we cannot.

Re: protein sources.

NITROGEN. All amino acids have nitrogen in them and they must have nitrogen in them to make peptide bonds. Nitrogen is highly toxic to our bodies (like most other things), so we have a pathway called the urea cycle which processes amino acids into urea which our body excretes into urine.

UNFORTUNATELY, since nitrogen is toxic, there are pretty much no other biological sources of nitrogen that we can intake besides proteins that our body can process. Therefore, if you have no extra nitrogen sources, your body cannot make amino acids which is the take 99% of the time (the few exceptions are DNA which have nitrogenous bases.. but this is very, very, very small amount compared to how much you get from meat, fish, eggs, etc.). Thus, these protein metabolism pathways are mainly for getting rid of nitrogen OR if you have too much of say one amino acid it can convert it into another non-essential amino acid.

All humans MUST have adequate protein intake... not just essential amino acid intake. You can't just randomly "create" amino acids like you're thinking of because the parts are scarce (nitrogen) and only really abundant in meat, fish, eggs, etc.

Offline tombb

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Re: Eating Right: How To Get Started
« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2008, 12:07:05 PM »
With non-animal sources you still have the following flaws:

1) Overwhelming amounts of carbs compared to protein concentrations (which is what I was trying to illustrate).  Even if you ignore the "net protein" calculations, there is significantly more (multiples more....) carb vs. protein which is the real main issue.
2) Lack of nitrogen necessary for putting proteins to "good use" in the body that can only be provided by animals sources that produce nitrogen that we cannot.
Well I definitely agree that beans and grains come with a lot of carbs which is not always desirable (usually a 1:1 ratio or more). That's the same reason why I wouldn't recommend egg yolks, because they come with a lot of fat (2x fat for each gram of protein) which is also not desirable and makes it harder to balance your calories and energy sources.

However I don't think I follow you at all on nitrogen, because animal sources are not any different in terms of nitrogen. You also don't need extra nitrogen in any form to make peptide bonds, you just need to put any 2 aminoacids close together.
Animals don't produce nitrogen either, generally the only thing that fixates nitrogen and creates new aminoacids are plants and bacteria, not animals (they simply consume it and store it).

There is no special difference in nitrogen in proteins from different sources, nitrogen is just contained in the chemical structure of each aminoacid, so if you are getting 5 grams of soy protein or 5 grams of beef protein you get the same amount of nitrogen in your body as proteins.

The only advantage that meat has is in creatine and maybe any extra hormones you might get for free, but those are unrelated to the issue of proteins and nitrogen.

Offline bikket

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Re: Eating Right: How To Get Started
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2008, 08:12:34 AM »
Hey guys, quick question:

My only meat sources are fish and eggs, so what kind of adjustments should I make to the program you've laid out here?

And no, I will not begin eating terrestrials. Not unless the economy tanks completely and the woods become my supermarket.

Offline FMurray

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Re: Eating Right: How To Get Started
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2008, 08:28:20 AM »
And what to drink? Just water and green tea?