I am often asked about protein. How much do I need? If I eat little or no meat, where what are the best sources of protein? I’m tired, run-down, my injuries don’t heal quickly, I’ve lost muscle mass and my body fat is up…but what does this have to do with protein?
Could you be protein deficient? Possibly, if…
- You’re tired and run-down even though you’re getting enough sleep
- You have injuries that don’t heal quickly
- You’re eating clean but your muscle mass is down
- You feel weak and fatique easily when working out or exercising
- You’re hair is falling out, nails are weak and brittle, and skin doesn’t look healthy
What to do?
Eat more protein! First let me say, I’m not here to tell you where to get your protein. I firmly believe the answer is different is for everyone. While a mostly plant-based diet is best for overall health, making sure you get enough protein in vitally important. YouMUST get in enough protein in order for your muscles to rebuild and repair, for your body to heal, for new muscle growth, to support new cell growth, aid in gaining and keeping lean muscle mass, and to keep your metabolism burning. Where you get that protein is up to you.
I’m not reinventing the wheel with this discussion. What I’m saying isn’t something new. But what’s very clear is that many people have a hard time getting enough protein.
So how much protein do you need?
This depends on your activity level, size, weight, and if your are building or repairing muscles. Many vegetarian sites typically recommend a low amount of protein of .4 grams of protein per 1 lb of body weight (multiply bodyweight by .4=daily intake). Running sites will range from .5 to .8gr/1lb body weight depending on activity level. Primal or paleo sites recommend a higher amount, .9 to 1.8gr/1lb body weight also depending on activity level. Bodybuilding sites have the amount even higher. I have found through both research and working directly with boot campers and clients, a minimum of 75gr-125gr of protein (.8gr/1lb body weight) is needed for most clients working out a minimum of 3–4 days per week doing a mix of high intensity interval training and/or strength training. Again, base this on your weight and activity level, but I always see issues when protein falls below 75gr per day.
What foods are high in protein?
Beans, Nuts, Seeds, Meat, Fish, Dairy, Plants and Protein Powders.
Here are Protein Powders that I recommend. I prefer Vega One for taste and consistency, but everyone’s likes are different. Find one you like and add it to your daily menu plan if you are having a hard time getting enough protein in:
The following supplements are fantastic additives for your smoothies:
*Spirulina — highly recommend as it is a complete protein and so, so good for you! “Spirulina contains a high amount of protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is about 60–70% protein, which is greater gram for gram than both red meat and soy. It also contains all of the essential amino acids, which makes it a complete protein; this is not very common in plant foods. It contains a large amount of Vitamin B12, which is very difficult to find in other plant foods. That is one reason why Spirulina is such a great choice for vegetarians. Spirulina is very rich in iron, which is the most common mineral deficiency. Spirulina also contains calcium, magnesium, and Vitamins A, B, C, D and E. Due to its ability to withstand high temperatures, it is able to retain its nutritional value during processing and shelf storage. Many other plant foods will deteriorate at these temperatures. It only contains 3.9 calories per gram and still has all of these great benefits. It is a low calorie, nutrient dense food.”
Chia Seeds — “Chia also provides the body with vitamins A, B, E and D and minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, niacin, phosphorous, potassium, silicon, sodium, sulphur, thiamine and zinc. Chia seeds are also a wonderful source of protein. Proteins are the building blocks of the body, hair, skin, nails, muscles, red blood cells, as well as essential and non essential amino acids and fiber, all of which are necessary for good circulation and a healthy heart. Chia seeds also help to modulate blood sugar…”
Hemp Powder, Seeds or Hearts — Contains “24% protein includes the full range of amino acids as well as a balanced source of Essential Fatty Acids or EFAs#1. EFAs include omega-3 and omega-6, which help us keep a healthy immune system, and are responsible for shiny healthy looking skin, hair and nails. A reduction in the craving for junk foods is also noticeable among many regular consumers of hemp seed and hemp food products.”
Here are links to several sites provide some great information and further detail:
Disclaimer: The information presented on this web site is not intended to take the place of your personal physician’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Discuss your situation with your own physician or healthcare provider to determine what is right for you. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions.