Yesterday, we talked about carbs and fats. Today, we’re going to talk about your third macronutrient: protein. The challenge for today is to include 3-4 ounces of high quality protein in every meal.
We’ve gone a little protein crazy here in the US, so I want to start by talking about how much protein we really need. The dietary guideline for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. I weigh 195 at the moment, so my protein need is about 70 grams.
The first question I get asked if someone finds out that my diet is entirely plant-based is, “Where do you get your protein?” It’s literally in everything I eat. Even a banana has a gram of protein. Our homemade black bean burgers have 26 grams of protein. That’s more than the average cheeseburger.
Meat and dairy aren’t the only way to get protein, and just like with fruits and vegetables, a variety of protein sources is much healthier than just eating meat.
For your meat, consider the quality. The more naturally the animal is raised the more healthy the meat will be. Animals that are pasture raised have more B12 in their system and are much less likely to get sick, which means less antibiotics in the meat. Speaking from my pre-vegan experience, the meat also has a much richer flavor, making it far more satisfying.
For alternative sources of protein, consider legumes (beans, peas, lentils), seeds (hemp, chia, flax), nuts, nutritional yeast, and organic soy (edamame, tofu, tempeh).
Experiment with your proteins and get a little variety in there. 🙂