First! I have to say, I was inspired by one of my subscribers to write about protein. Thanks, Jennifer S.! I really do listen! Afterall, I write and share for you, my blog readers and loyal subscribers! You make my life so much more full. 😊❤️ So, thank you for that!
Did you know that kale has protein in it? Yes! As do most plants and not just nuts and beans. I remember being really surprised when I learned this. Why hadn’t anyone told me this before? I don’t want you to feel like I did and leave you in the dark so I am spilling the beans so to speak! 😂 And while no one I know is about to eat 10 bowls of raw kale (or beans) for protein, there are reasons to consider adding plants into your protein count. A surprising fact is that most plants have some protein though not in the quantities of animal sources so you may need to be creative.
Protein is one of three essential macronutrients that is necessary for our body to function at the highest. (Think of your body like a car. The macronutrients are fuel to keep you going.) Plants, unlike animal proteins, also contain thousands of micronutrients aka vitamins from phytochemicals. (Think of these as the oil that keeps things running smoothly.) Plants often contain fiber and “good fats” which support a healthy gut microbiome, digestion and reduce the risk of heart disease. So when we get a majority, or all, of our proteins from plants, we are getting the best of both!
Why Protein Matters
Protein is related to much more than building and maintaining muscle. Protein dramatically affects your immune system, glucose levels, how well your body can repair and balance hormones. Maintaining muscle mass contributes to longevity. Hello? Living long and strong? Yes, please! According to the Food and Nutrition Board who sets the RDA, (recommended daily allowance) ½ to 1 gm per pound of body weight is recommended, but that can vary depending on your age and how active you are.
How do I add more plants?
Quantity of protein should come second to quality. For the most impact, you want to look for “clean” protein. Ok so what does that mean? There’s been a trend toward plant based “meats” but don’t be fooled, those are often not quality nor clean. They are highly processed and usually contain food-like substances, fillers and isolated food parts like soy or whey in order to have a taste and texture of meat. Isolated ingredients are most definitely not whole food as they’ve been highly processed to extract only parts of the plant. Not to mention that the original source is likely GMO and/or low quality. This is not how Mother Nature intended for us to consume food. Yeah, I know I am sounding like a child of the 70’s. I’m ok with that.
Ideally, half your plate will be vegetables. While this will help you get your much needed 7-13 servings of colorful fruits and vegetables and some protein, you will likely need more. Animal proteins, soy and quinoa are complete proteins that contain all 9 of the essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein) that our bodies cannot make. Isn’t it miraculous though that our bodies make the other 11 of the 20?
You can get complete proteins from plants by combining proteins*-
rice with beans
adding nuts to oatmeal or whole grain cereals
pumpkin seeds, chickpeas or edamame to salads
barley and lentil soup
hummus with 100% whole grain bread or crackers
You’re getting the idea!
*You don’t have to combine them in one meal either. As long as it is within the same day, the body will make it work so you are getting a complete protein. Another miraculous way our bodies take care of us.
One thing I do every morning to start my day with stamina and stable blood sugar is to have my Complete protein shake or sometimes the brand new non-Soy Complete and here is why I think you should too-
You can start your day with at LEAST 13 grams of complete protein (more if you add in other “goodies” like oats, chia, nut butters, beans – yes I said beans! For more on that, visit my “bean” blog. Don’t knock it till you try it!)
They are the healthiest “fast food” you can get in 5 min. or less.
You also get lots of prebiotic fiber – helps with stable blood sugar (think willpower) feeds the good gut guys.
They are gluten free.
They are dairy-free (even if you tolerate dairy ok, it can still be inflammatory to the body – too much can be too much for anyone.)
Certified non GMO.
Certified by third party NSF – only what is on the label is in the shake, no funky stuff like heavy metals, pesticides, fillers, etc.
You can mix in nearly anything you can think of (kale, blueberries, peanut butter…) or drink as is.
THEY TASTE GREAT!
Order your Complete here.
Whether you choose to incorporate animal proteins or not, it’s a personal choice. It’s about what feels right in the body and heart. No matter what you decide, it is important to include a wide variety of sources from whole foods and avoid anything that has been isolated or processed. Stick with organic, grass fed and free range to keep it “clean.” Remember, quality over quantity!
With HOPE for your happiness and best health,
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