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  • Lauren

Your Guide To Plant-Based Protein & The Best Protein Sources

Plant-based diet seem to be the new hype lately, especially in the wellness industry. While I do not eat strictly plant-based, a lot of my diet consists of vegetables. Plant-based diets can be controversial for people who believe they can only get adequate amounts of protein from animal products. I try and mix things up and incorporate both plant-based protein and animal protein.

Macronutrients 101: Protein

Lets get started with some protein 101. Proteins are considered the building blocks of life. Everyone has different protein intake needs based on their activity levels, age, and lifestyle. Many people think of protein as animal foods, but there are also many plant based protein sources. There are two types of dietary protein: complete and incomplete. Examples of complete protein sources are animal products, because they contain all of the essential amino acids. Plant-based proteins are typically considered incomplete, because they lack in one or two essential amino acids. There are still some plant-based sources that are considered "complete"including quinoa and soy. However, I personally stay away from soy because it acts as estrogen in the body, which can have a negative impact on people with hormonal disorders.

Although most plant foods are incomplete sources of protein, you can still get all of the essential amino acids by combining a variety of plant-based sources.

High Quality Vegetarian Protein Sources
  1. Quinoa

  2. Legumes (Beans, peas, lentils)

  3. Seeds (Hemp, chia, flax)

  4. Nuts (Almonds, walnuts, cashews)

  5. Nutritional yeast

  6. Spirulina

  7. Organic soy products (Edamame, tofu, tempeh)

Functions of Protein
  • Gives us energy

  • Helps provide structure to our tissue and cells

  • Supports immunity

  • Helps create many hormones

Energy and Protein

Protein contains four calories per gram. To determine how much protein you should eat in a day, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 then multiply this number by 0.8. Most of us ned about 10%-35% of our total calories from protein. Protein needs can differ depending on activity levels, age, heigh and etc. For example, an athlete would need a higher protein diet compared to a non- athlete. I've also found that this number can differ based on health conditions too. I have PCOS, so a diet high in "good" fats and protein is what helps me feel my best, which may make someone else feel like crap.

I personally eat both animal and plant-based proteins. I still follow more of a paleo diet and find it hard to digest foods such as quinoa and legumes, which limits my plant-based protein options.There is a lot of hype around plant-based diets right now, and I would say that there is no right/wrong diet out there. One person may do amazing on a plant-based diet, while another person may need animal protein in order to feel good. I recommend experimenting with different types of foods and seeing what works best for you. For me, I started adding in different plant-based protein sources and I learned that I don't need to eat so much animal protein anymore, however my body definitely craves it. I try and listen to my body and eat what makes me feel good and give me energy.

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