Growing up most of us had family meals that trained us to eat a certain way as adults. As much as mother’s home cooking can be comforting, it may not be the healthiest or most proportionate plate! There is a lot of misunderstanding about what the main part of the dish should be and what should be the side dishes. We are not overeating our vegetables, so the error is elsewhere. So how much protein do we really need to eat each day?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) gives us a blanket statement of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or .36 times your weight in pounds. This means an average 150 pound woman needs to consume 54 grams of protein per day. Unfortunately this is where a lot of confusion began. We are not all the same, and we do not all need the same amount. A lot depends on whether you are male or female, active or sedentary and how old you are. When Harvard Medical School conducted their review of Washington D.C.’s “Protein Summit” reports published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN), they concluded that the moderately active person should actually consume twice the RDA’s recommended daily value. This was confirmed by Nancy Rodriguez, a registered dietitian and professor of nutritional science at the University of Connecticut who attended the summit. She recommends we start at twice the RDA value and continue from there. You need to take into account your level of activity. A person who exercises regularly will need more protein to keep their body functioning.
Getting too much protein is not what is making us ill; eating too much meat is.
So how do you give your body the protein it needs without hurting your health? First, get rid of the idea that protein equals meat! Getting too much protein is not what is making us ill; eating too much meat is. This is not a ploy to push a vegetarian lifestyle. The consumption of high quantities of meat has been proven to promote cancer and tumor growth. This has now become a world health concern and quite a bit of research has been conducted to warn us. According to a recent study by the World Health Organization (WHO), “experts concluded that each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.” The WHO collaborated with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reviewing over 800 studies linking red meat and processed meat to over 12 types of cancer! We are eating too much meat, and it is literally killing us.
Just what can we take from all this research to guard our health and maintain appropriate levels of protein? Get more of what you need from safer sources! When thinking about protein, we need to consider the fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are also included in the food. Your body needs more protein with healthier, plant based origins. For a snack, consider almond milk! One cup can give you 7-9 grams of protein. Or you can eat 9 grams in one cup of quinoa. Next time you make soup, fill it up with lentils. They have 18 grams of protein per cup. Spinach is a source of protein most of us know with three grams for every half a cup, but you may not want a salad every day. Try it in a smoothie or create a protein packed breakfast sandwich with avocado, spinach and tomato on sprouted grain bread!
It’s up to you to find your perfect protein balance, re-portion your dinner plate and take control of your health. It’s a very personal process that can only be perfected by paying attention to your body. If all this still sounds overwhelming, we are here to help. Veestro offers a Protein Power Pack filled with plant-based protein rich foods to get you thinking creatively. With 13 different dishes, your taste buds will not be bored and even a heavy meat eater will be satisfied. Giving your body what it needs does not have to feel like a challenge or deprivation. Try it today to feel the difference tomorrow!