Protein is huge in other cultures, and many of those cultures take the consumption of protein to a whole new level. Things that would make most Americans say “YUCK!” are actually really great healthy sources of protein. If you are one of those brave enough to read part 2.5, here is a warning for you:
Warning: This posting will contain content that may challenge your mindset on what is, or is not good protein. An open mind is advised.
If you want good, cheap protein, go ethnic my friends, go ethnic! Many cultures outside of the U.S. specialize in using cuts of meat, and protein sources that most Americans wouldn’t dream of. Take many Latin and Central American cultures that prefer goat meat over beef or chicken. It’s not just because it is cheap, it’s also because it is healthier for you. Goat meat is extremely lean, flavorful and higher in protein than beef and chicken. According to an article in the India Times(1),
“Goat meat is actually lower in calories, total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol than not just lamb, pork and beef meats, but also turkey and chicken meat. This makes goat meat the healthiest red meat, even better than turkey and chicken.”
Now you may want to brace yourself for this one, but not all protein comes from livestock. Many cultures use insects to provide the valuable protein. Yes, that is right, if you have not heard of this and this is your first time hearing of this, I said insects. There are many alternative flours out there made of things like crickets and mealworms that allow you to really boost your protein intake. Did you know that pound for pound insects have more protein than any livestock? Don’t believe me, look it up. If you’d like some more information on bugs as an alternative, I would suggest starting here: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/eating-bugs
When it comes to eating a healthy meal on a budget, one of the most important things is to not just think outside of the box, but be willing to try an entirely new box. There are a lot of alternatives to meat for protein, different flavors, nuts, beans, mushrooms, etc. The good thing is that many of these are very affordable. The better thing is that many of these can completely substitute any meat. Protein is incredibly important to any healthy lifestyle, there may be no way around it, but you can certainly find some new trails to explore.