As a vegetarian I am flooded with questions about where do I get my protein from and how does one get enough being vegetarian? Perhaps, this question is often asked because we are bombarded with the phrase ‘high protein’ on most health advertisements, diets, shakes and health bars so much so that we begin to think a high protein diet must be good for us and necessary. Don’t get me wrong though protein in our diet is necessary and essential but a HIGH protein diet can actually be detrimental to ones health as it can lead to kidney disease and may even increase your risk of osteoporosis.
Now, if one took a trip down memory lane to your old science lessons, you may remember that protein is made up of amino acids. There are a total of twenty one amino acids, of which twelve can be produced by the body and the other nine amino acids cannot be produced by the human body. This is why the other nine amino acids are known as the essential amino acids which the bodies requires through our diets. However, even though we require all nine essential amino acids and most plants do not have all the essential amino acids like meat and eggs, we then simply combine certain vegetables, grains or seeds with each other to create a complete protein meal. One does not have to take it all in one meal either, you can also take in the other missing amino acids in another portion of food within an hour after having your first meal.
So, the next question is how much protein do we need? The Recommended Daily Allowance for protein is 0.8 g for every kilogram we weigh. However, if we take into account the difference between digesting plant proteins compared to animal proteins and for the amino acid mix in plant proteins, then 0.9 g of protein for every kilogram we weigh is recommended for vegetarians. Again, diets that are higher than this are not necessarily healthy unless you have been advised by your doctor. As you can see, the protein intake required is not that difficult to achieve whether you eat meat or are vegetarian or even vegan. Below is a list of great sources of vegan protein to keep in mind:
Rice and Beans Combo
Hummus and Pita Mix
Spirulina with Grains or Nuts
Now that we have covered the protein debate I think next up we need to zone in and spend more time focusing on cutting out sugars, preservatives, additives, colorants and other toxins from the body to ensure a truly healthy body