But, How Do You Get Your Protein???

This quip is sooo true.  I have been eating a vegan (or near vegan) diet for a few months now.  I don’t talk about it, or make a big deal about what I am or am not eating, but occasionally someone will notice that I am not eating meat and they’ll say,

“But how do you get your protein???”   So I’d like to share some information with you about protein.

First off – How Much Protein Do I Need?

The US Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.  To determine your weight in kilograms   Divide your weight in pounds and divide by 2.2 — For example:

130 pounds = 59 kg, daily requirement = 49 x .8 = 47 grams of protein

150 pounds = 68 kg, daily requirement = 68 x .8 = 55 grams of protein

200 pounds = 91 kg, daily requirement = 91 x .8 = 73 grams of protein

Another way to look at this is approximately 10-15% of our total calories should be protein – that’s it!

Next – How Do I Get Protein in my Diet?

We don’t actually consume protein.  Protein is made up of amino acids.  There are 21 amino acids.  Our bodies can synthesize 12 of these, but 9 can only be gotten through food and are therefore known as essential amino acids.  These essential amino acids are:

histidine,  isoleucine,  leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, valine, tryptophan and threonine,

How Do I Get Enough Protein if I Don’t Eat Meat or Dairy?

We have been led to believe that we only get our protein from meat products — beef, chicken, milk and eggs.  That simply is not true.  All plant based foods contain varying quantities of  amino acids, the building blocks of protein.  Meat sources (beef, chicken, fish, dairy) are said to be “complete” proteins, meaning they provide all 9 amino acids.  However there are also non-meat complete proteins as well, namely soy and quinoa (keen-wa).

However, eating a variety of plant-based foods provides all the essential amino acids our body needs.  It is not necessary to consume them all together (as originally thought).  Nor is it necessary to eat complementary proteins all in one meal.  Our bodies store up the amino acids and call on them as needed to build proteins.

Excellent Plant Based Protein Sources:

Seeds and Nuts

Pumpkin Seeds, Roasted Almonds, Pistachio Nuts, and Cashews

Legumes

Lentil Beans, Navy Beans, Black Eyed Peas, Soybeans and Peas

Vegetables

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Spinach

Fruits

Avocado, Dates, Guava, Passion Fruit, Pomegranate

Grains           

Quinoa, Whole Wheat Pasta, Brown Rice, Oats

For more information on our bodies protein needs,  and eating a plant-based diet, check out No Meat Athlete

 

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  1. […] per kilogram of body weight (weight in lbs. divided by 2.2 x 0.8), and that there are excellent non meat sources of […]

  2. […] fish), perhaps to only 3 times a week, and a small portion at that (3 oz) — substitute other protein sources such as quinoa, tofu, tempeh, beans, more vegetables (yes vegetables have protein) and nuts, and […]

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