One of the most common concerns of transitioning to a plant based diet is not getting enough Protein. The truth is, I completely understand that! When I transitioned to a plant based diet this was a major concern of mine and the good news is, I don’t even think about it anymore (except to learn and educate others). This series of videos will hopefully educate you on the truth about our favorite macronutrient: Protein.
In this first video, I share a little bit about my journey of understanding protein and set the stage for what we have to learn in the coming videos. I hope you enjoy these videos and please ask any questions you have in the comments below. I want to make sure I address all of your concerns on this very important topic!
Now, we know how important protein is for our body but how much protein do we actually need. In this video, I discuss how our society has been sold on the concept that ‘complete’ proteins can only be found in animal products. However, this is just not true. All of our protein needs can be found in plant, even when it is just one plant being eaten.
Here are the calculations I reference in the video to determine what percentage of calories you need to get in the form of protein.
Step 1: Determine how much protein you need.
Protein Requirement = .80 x weight (kilograms) or .80 x weights (pounds / 2.2)
For me, my Protein Requirement = .80 x (150 / 2.2) = 54.54 grams
Step 2: Determine how many calories you need.
Calorie Intake = Basal Metabolic Rate x Activity Level Factor
Basal Metabolic Rate (men) = 66 + (6.26 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)
Basal Metabolic Rate (women) = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)
For me, my Basal Metabolic Rate = 66 (6.26 x 150) + (12.7 x 70) – (6.8 x 33) = 1670
Activity Level Factor is referenced in this table:
|Little to No Exercise||1.200|
|Very Heavy Exercise||1.900|
Therefore, my Calorie Intake should be = 1,670 x 1.375 = 2,296
Step 3: Calculate the Percentage Calories from Protein Amount.
Percentage Calories from Protein = (4 x Protein Requirement) / Calorie Intake
For me, Percentage Calories from Protein = (4 x 54.54) / 2296 = 9.5%
Okay, so we just went through a whole lot of math to determine what percentage of calories I should be getting from protein. What does this mean exactly? What types of foods have 10% protein? Those questions will be answered in the third video.
In the meantime, listen to the second video below and complete the equations for yourself to see what your percentage is.
This next video gets straight to the point. Which foods give me the necessary amount of protein for my diet. I rattle of a list of grains, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and sea vegetables commonly found on a plant based diet which would meet the World Health Organization’s recommended amount for the 8 essential amino acids. Here they are:
Brown rice, rye, amaranth, quinoa, teft, wheat, buckwheat, spelt, oats, kamut, butternut squash, sweet potato, carrot, baked potato, corn, tomato, iceburg lettuce, kale, zucchini, romain lettuce, napa cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, spinach, chickpeas, adzuki beans, black beans, lima beans, green peas, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans, navy beans, soy beans, sesame seeds, chia seeds, cashews, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, kelp, wakame, and spirulina.
The best way I have found to learn about the nutritional content of foods is to simply put the recipe into Cronometer and see what the data shows. In this next video I compare the nutritional content of a dozen chicken wings to a hamburger and to a dinner salad. Below the video, I include the nutritional analysis of 2,000 calories worth of each meal option and how each meal met the dietary recommendations.
Notice how much protein we have in excess of the daily recommendation if we ate 2,000 calories worth of these meals. More importantly, do you notice how insufficient the chicken wings and burger are when it comes to fiber and most vitamins and minerals? It is pretty clear to me which diet isn’t providing the necessary nutrients we need.
As promised, here is the recipe for the salad:
12 ounces of greens (4 ounces each of Lettuce, Kale, and Spinach)
1/4 head of cauliflower
3 roma tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
1/2 cup black beans
Dressing – blend 1/2 cup orange juice and 2 tbls of chia seeds
And if the above information was not enough, listen in to the final video in this series below about the negative consequences of choosing animal based products as your primary source of protein. This chat discusses the misunderstanding many people have of the amount of fat in certain meat products and how that can be damaging for the body. Dietary Advanced Glycation End Products are also discussed in regards to how this particular cooked food toxin can have a negative affect on insulin resistance and lead to Type II Diabetes.