What you need to know about plant-based protein

Our society has become obsessed with protein!  But too much of it can be bad for you, especially if it's from animal sources which can lead to inflammation, digestion problems and sickness. Let us guide you to whole, plant-based sources of protein...  

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  • We don’t need as much protein as we think.  A relatively active person’s diet should be composed of about 55-60% carbohydrate, 12-15% protein, and 20-30% fat.  That translates to approx. 46 grams per day for women and 56 grams per day for men. ( if you’re an athlete that amount may slightly increase but that is only because your calorie intake increases) Studies have shown too much protein can be harmful. Typically, people who ingest too much protein are swapping out carbs for protein. If we are carbohydrate-deficient we can be dehydrated and moody because our brain and muscles need the sugars from carbs to function optimally. In fact . your body's ability to take protein’s amino acids and turn them into muscle caps at 30g at a time. That means that downing a 50-g protein shake will have the same effect on muscle growth as downing a 30-g shake.

 

  • Stick to WHOLE foods. Our take on isolated protein molecules: Basically all food is best when eaten in it's whole form. Soy protein isolate is a processed form of soy where the protein molecule is extracted, similar to whey protein isolate. It's used for a lot of fake meats and protein powders. It's ok to eat in moderation but not every day because it can lead to inflammation and digestive issues. Simple is always best. That can be applied to all facets of life, and food is one of them. Think about the fact that you’re extracting and isolating protein molecules and then you’re turning them into something at concentrated amount. It’s not natural and it causes the body to inflame and have to work harder to digest something at a higher rate. 

SO where should we be getting our protein?

  • Vegan Protein options: People forget they can get their protein intake from veggies and fruit. Protein is in EVERY food source. Broccoli and kale are high in protein, for example. There are so many healthy vegan proteins to choose from; tempeh (fermented soy, would be your healthiest form of soy), organic tofu, quinoa, lentils, beans, nuts, sprouts, etc.  Wheat gluten (seitan) is not as processed as others, but it is a form of gluten; if it's not eaten in moderation or an organic form it can also cause inflammation. If you’re eating seitan make sure it’s organic.  Basically eat a shit ton of veggies, moderate amount of fruits, and of course things that will keep you full throughout the day like whole grain pastas and beans etc.   Here's an example of a regular meal we put together WITHOUT even thinking about protein content: 1 cup lentils (18g) protein served with cup side of wild rice (7g) protein & side of broccoli (4g) protein. That all equals 29 grams protein!  

  • Need ideas for vegan protein?? Here is a giant list: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/vegan-sources-of-protein/

 

Eat whole, plant-based foods and ingest enough calories and you won’t have to think about protein deficiency.