First of all, Americans tend to eat too much protein. Here is what the American Heart Association has to say about it:
"Most Americans already eat more protein than their bodies need. And eating too much protein can increase health risks. High-protein animal foods are usually also high in saturated fat. Eating large amounts of high-fat foods for a sustained period raises the risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and several types of cancer. People who can't use excess protein effectively may be at higher risk of kidney and liver disorders, and osteoporosis."That said, vegetarians - and even vegans - can get all the protein we need from non-meat sources.
Good plant sources of protein include legumes, seeds, nuts, and nut butters; grains and cereals; soy products (including tofu and soy milk); seitan; and several fruits and vegetables.
Here are some links to more information about how you can get your protein without putting a dead body in your mouth:
• About.com: How to Get Protein on a Vegetarian Diet
• Happy Cow: Sources of Vegetarian Protein and Guide
• Savvy Vegetarian: Vegetarian Protein - Myth and Facts
• The Veggie Table: Vegetarian Protein
• Vegetarians in Paradise: Protein Basics
• Whole Foods Market: Yes, Plants Have Protein
• Women Fitness: Top 10 Protein Options in a Vegetarian Diet