I posted this on a thread, and thought it deserved its own blog spot!
Before I start, I claim to know about this topic because my degree (from University of Wisconsin) is a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology, specializing in Human Dietary Evolution.
So here's the deal:
There are 8 "essential" amino acids. This means humans cannot synthesize these amino acids, and must get them from outside sources. That means we need to ingest proteins in order to get those amino acids.
High quality or 'complete' proteins contain all 8 essential amino acids. Certain vegetable material, such as soy, quinoa, and buckwheat are complete proteins. All 'meat' or animal products are complete proteins.
What does this matter? Well, for one, humans can absorb approximately up to 90% of the amino acids from animal matter, but approximately up to only 65% of plant matter. That means you have to eat more plant matter in order to get the equivalent amount of high quality protein.
Additionally, the body stores amino acids from incomplete protein sources for about 4-7 days. That means you need to eat something that completes that protein in order for the polypeptide, or protein chain, to form.
Yes, you can get adequate protein from a vegetarian diet. No (in my expert opinion, anyhow) it is not anywhere near as efficiently done as is an omnivorous diet.
Ok, carry on with baseball.