Whether we eat the right amount of protein can be a controversial topic. There is no arguing that protein is a valuable macronutrient and should form a substantial part of a healthy balanced diet but there are variables to consider when it comes to calculating the right amount for you; how much you weigh, how much exercise you do and what kind of diet your body type thrives on to name a few.
As we have mentioned before, at Sari Foods we believe in a whole foods, plant based diet that is high in nutrients. Following a diet that people have thrived on for thousands of years, we focus on a way of eating that is based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, reducing (or eliminating) our intake of meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs, as well as processed and highly refined foods like bleached flour and refined sugar. We believe that this diet base provides the optimum environment for health and wellness.
Adhering to these dietary choices involves a focus on predominantly plant based sources of protein and amino acids. Aside from your personal views on consuming animal products (a debate we'll leave for another time), animal based sources of protein have a wider impact, are harder to sustain, not to mention acidic and are not as high in protein as you might think - a chicken breast is only around 25% protein!
It is important to ensure that you are consuming the right amount of protein and amino acids in your diet because they work as the building blocks of the body. The body uses protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals and protein is an important constituent of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. It is particularly important for growing children, pregnant women, sporty types, or if you’re recovering from an illness or injury.
Protein digests more slowly than carbohydrates, so it helps to release energy into your bloodstream gradually, keeping you fuller for longer. For this reason it can help you maintain a healthy weight, keep your energy levels up, your blood sugars stable and your hormones balanced. Ensuring you are consuming the correct amount of protein for your body type and activity levels can encourage overall health and provide a whole range of vitamins and minerals.
The general guide for how much protein each individual should eat is 0.8g of protein per 1 kilo of body weight, so if you weigh 60kg then you’ll need about 48g of protein every day. This is a guideline only so if you have any of the aforementioned reasons for needing more protein, you'll need to adjust the guideline. For example, if you are very physically active or pregnant then you should up this to around 1.5g of protein per 1 kilo of body weight.
There are several tell tale signs that you may need to consume more protein in your diet:
- Feeling tired and low energy
- Not recovering well after exercise and suffering with achy joints and muscles
- Feeling hungry again 2 hours after eating
- Suffering from mood swings
- Craving sugar and caffeine for energy
- Hair, skin and nail troubles
The good news is, there are plenty of ways to increase your protein levels and consume those all important essential amino acids. The even better news is that there are several plant based sources that can help! Recommended plant based sources of protein are: seeds, nuts, beans, pulses, oatmeal, potatoes, edamame, quinoa and peas but the truth is that there are lots of plant based foods that contain an amount of protein and amino acids so you are likely already getting a little more than you realised.
There are a couple of great high protein alternatives to animal proteins. Sari Foods Organic Spirulina is 65% protein. Grown organically in a clean environment and under carefully regulated growing conditions, it is easy to incorporate in to your diet by mixing in to smoothies, yogurt or savoury dishes - try our Simple Green Smoothie as an easy way to get started!
Sari Foods Non-fortified Nutritional Yeast is another sure fire way to up the plant based protein in your diet. Around 50% protein, it is a complete protein and provides all 18 amino acids. It tastes good sprinkled on pretty much anything, added to a smoothie (try Sari Foods Plant Based Protein Power House Smoothie) or sprinkled on popcorn in our Simply Nooch Popcorn recipe.
The addition of these 2 protein rich superfoods into your daily diet and will not only increase your protein count and those all important amino acids, they will also deliver several other key nutrients - the benefits of eating a wholefoods based diet!
But remember, it's all about balance. Whilst you need a varied range of macro and micronutrients, too much isn't good for you either and too much protein can cause kidney problems. If you’re feeling well and full of energy then don’t worry, but if you’re feeling heavy and notice that your urine is dark, you may be overdoing it.
Simply reduce the amount of protein you’re eating, perhaps switch to more vegetarian sources that are less acidifying, drink more water and eat protein alongside lots of extra green vegetables to reduce the impact.
Peace, love and plant based protein from the Sari Foods family.