Updated: Apr 17
Who Needs Protein?
EVERYONE! Yep, body builders, coach potatoes, meat eaters, vegans alike. We all need protein.
Proteins function as building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood.
It’s also a building block for enzymes, hormones and vitamins.
Basically, it builds you!
How much do you need? Well, that depends… (I know the dreaded answer!), well, but it is true it depends on how active you are and where you are on the stage of your life.
A base number from the literature that we can use to do a simple math is to say that you need to have in grams of protein, half your weight in pounds. So, if you weight 150 pounds, you would need 75 grams of protein per day.
Therefore, you should play with an average of 0.4 - 0.7 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. The exact amount you will need to find out as you go.
For example, if you are relatively sedentary, have a desk job and stick to light and slow exercise, then 0.4 or 0.5 grams of protein would be best.
If you are very active, do lots of intense exercise or have a strenuous job, than 0.6 or 0.7 grams of protein would be best for you.
Life stages that affect protein needs include pregnancy and puberty. These are times of huge growth so higher amounts of protein need to be consumed.
Let’s say you work a desk job and do moderate amounts of exercise, thus 0.5 grams of protein would probably be best for you. Let’s say you weigh 150lbs; that means you need 75** grams of protein per day.
**Please note that 75 grams of chicken does not contain 75 grams of protein.
The easiest way I like to think about that is:
Protein servings are roughly the size of your palm, or 4-6 ounces per meal. Think about an average of 30ish grams per meal. When thinking eggs, this would be about 3 eggs for an adult.
Protein is the most satiating of all the macronutrients, so you want to keep this relatively steady as you tinker your Macro Nutrients. It’s pretty hard to overeat protein if you’re relying on whole food sources. I mean, you can only eat so much beef before your palate gets fatigued or you get nauseated.
CAN I EAT MY PROTEIN ALL AT ONCE?
While it might be easier to have a big protein meal only once a day, research shows that splitting your protein intake through the day is best. I am a big proponent of including all 3 macro nutrients at every meal you take.
IS ONE TYPE OF PROTEIN BETTER THAN ANOTHER?
Every type of protein is unique with its own benefits. You just need to know what you are doing to get all the amino acids you need.
I personally was vegetarian for around 20 years, passing through veganism and raw in between, until I was pregnant with my first child and suddenly felt an urge to have meat.
What did I do?
Well, I listened to my body and broke a 20 year lifestyle.
It was not easy to get down from my Soap Box since I was very vocal and concerned with the Environment. (topic for another blog)
I disappointed a lot of people; my yoga tribe was mainly vegetarian. But I did what I felt was right for me and for my child. Therefore, be open to new ideas if your current health is optimum. It is ok to change your mind about things!
All I want to say is that it is pretty hard to get all the nutrients you need without animal protein. Doable? Absolutely, but you need to be very, very savvy.
If you’re a vegetarian, keep in mind that vegetarian sources of protein are NOT as easily absorbed by the body as animal protein, and that’s because plant protein also contains fiber which impacts its digestion. So, you’re going to want to increase these numbers a bit.
Another point to keep in mind if you are sticking to plant based proteins is that most of them lack ALL ESSENTIAL amino acids, therefore, you need a combination of them to get all the amino acids required to thrive and survive.
One of my favorites is Organic Hemp Hearts since it is one of the few that contain all essential amino acids!
Also keep in mind that most plant sources of protein ALSO contain carbs, so as you increase the plant protein, you also increase the carbohydrate content of your meal.
See the content of Proteins on the lists below:
I ONLY RECOMMEND GRASS FED/FINISHED BEEF, FREE RANGE WILD GAMES AND ORGANIC NON GRAIN FED CHICKEN.
ON SEAFOOD WILD IS ALWAYS BEST AND PAY ATTENTION TO MERCURY CONTAINING FISH.
It is very important to know the sources of your animal protein. I do not eat or recommend conventional meats. I would probably go back to being vegetarian if that was my only option.
Animal Proteins (per 3oz)
Chicken Breast (no skin) - 28g
Chicken Thigh (with skin) 25g
Beef Steak - 26g
Salmon - 22g
Pork chop - 22g
Lamb chop - 23g
Turkey - 25g
Ham - 14g
Chicken eggs (per egg) - 6g
Plant Based Proteins
Spirulina (per 100g) - 57g
Tempeh (per 100g) -19g
Hemp Seeds (per 3tbsp) -11g
Nutritional Yeast (per 2 tbsp) - 9g
Lentils (per 1⁄2 cup) – 9g
Chickpeas - 7g (per 1⁄2 cup)
Seaweed (per 100g) - 6g
Green peas - 4g (per 1⁄2 cup)
Spinach - 3g (per 1⁄2 cup)
Pumpkin seeds - 9g (per 1⁄2 cup)
Almonds - 6g (per 1⁄2 cup)
Walnuts - 4g (per 1⁄2 cup)
Cashews - 4g (per 1⁄2 cup)
The easiest way to track this is by using a free app like My Fitness Pal app.
You can track for a week and get a good idea of what you should be eating to meet your protein requirements.
If you are interested on working with Isabela you can apply for a 30 minute complimentary Consultation Here.
Isabela Fortes is a Board Certified Holistic Health Expert, Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher Level II, Certified yoga therapist. She is a mother of two and works with client in Southern California and virtually anywhere in the world.
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