Lately I am trying to avoid meat as much as possible. I find people who inspire me in this journey, discover new recipes, spices, vegetables and fruits. Sharing interesting findings on Elizevent Platform I often receive a question: “From where, being plant based you get a Protein?” I think, that’s a great topic to dive in, discover what for our bodies need proteins and where to find their sources.
What are proteins and what do they do?
Proteins do most of the work in cells and are required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs. Can find it throughout the body—in muscle, bone, skin, hair.
Proteins are made up of hundreds or thousands of smaller units called amino acids. Amino acids are attached to one another in long chains. There are 20 different types of amino acids that can combine to make a protein. The sequence of amino acids determines each protein’s unique 3-dimensional structure and its specific function. (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
Protein builds, maintains, and replaces the tissues in your body. Your muscles, your organs, and your immune system are made up mostly of protein. For instance, your body uses protein to make hemoglobin, the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen to every part of your body. (Kids Health) Other proteins are used to build cardiac muscle – your heart.
During digestion, the body breaks down the protein we eat into individual amino acids, which contribute to the plasma pool of amino acids. This pool is a storage reserve of amino acids that circulate in the blood.
Our bodies need proteins and amino acids to produce important molecules in our body – like enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and antibodies. And without an adequate protein intake, our bodies can’t function well at all. (PrecisionNutrition)
How much protein do we need?
The basic recommendation for protein intake is 0.8 grams per kilogram (or around 0.36 g per pound) of body mass in untrained, generally healthy adults. For people doing high intensity training, protein needs might go up to 1.4 to 2.0 g/kg (around 0.64-0.9 g/lb).
Plant Based Protein Sources:
I prefer visual materials instead of a long lists of texts. These are easier and faster to a address to. So I was looking for quality, informative and sure thing attractive looking charts. I was searching for some printable, self explicative charts or infographics provided by dieticians. And found Rebel Dietitian Dana. Lots and lots of valuable information can be found on her website and I really want to share this source with you.
Dana is a registered and licensed dietitian (RD, LD) in Houston, Texas. She has more than ten years of professional experience in the Texas Medical Center – the largest medical center in the world. In addition to licensure as a RD, Dana is certified in nutrition support – a sophisticated and specialized practice. Was awarded licensure as a Certified Nutrition Support Clinician (CNSC) for the certification period 2010 – 2015. So I totally trust her advises and materials she shares absolutely FREE.
Below you may find a couple of usefull charts created by Dana:
As we all might know, there are plenty of reason to eat meat-free meals. Reasons are simple as: healthier, lower in calories, cheaper (if you go with seasonal veggies and fruits) and better for environment. But it is highly important to eat variety of veggies in order to have COMPLETE protein sources. I refer to amino acids, that build blocks of protein. There are 20 different amino acids that can form a protein, and nine that the body can’t produce on its own. I found a great article on this topic by Greatist: 10 Complete Proteins Vegans Need to Know About. Greatist provides a complete list with detailed explanations plus go-go recipe links.
Another important lesson, I’ve learned, is that while changing your lifestyle there is no need to fully dive in it right a way. Taking things easy might be the best way to successfully reach your new lifestyle goal one day. It take time to adjust your taste buds and get used to new menus. It can even take few trials and fails on the way. And that’s totally fine to me as a person eating meat based meals for more than 30 years in a row. So please, don’t be to laugh to yourself. You may start with minimizing the percentage or your meat portions and maximizing the veggies percentage on your plate. And that should be a great start!
Happy Clean Eating Journey, My Friends!
You May Find interesting reading VEGAN LIFESTYLE AND HOW TO GET STARTED article.