In this post, I am not going to write a 10-page, scientific paper about protein, its effects, and definitions. I have, however, provided some links to research if you would like to read them yourself.
My purpose is to talk to you about what is important; how to get your protein living this plant-focused lifestyle. So, let’s get started…
The most common myth is we have to eat meat to get protein. This is simply and plainly not true! Plants, nuts, and legumes provide all we need!
Why it’s needed
First, let’s look at why we need protein. This website describes it in a such an awesome way I’m not even going to attempt to summarize it. Read what they have to say, specifically, the “What Are Proteins Made of?” section, then come back… pleeeease. 😉
Proteins are vital for the make-up of our bodies and living our day-to-day lives. It builds up our skin, hair, nails, muscles, and bones. Wow, sounds like our entire body!
One great statement the article above said is “Once the amino acids enter your bloodstream, there’s no way to tell whether they were derived from a bowl of lentils or a steak. They all end up as an amino acid “pool” in your body’s tissues and fluids—a pool that can be tapped into as needed.”
So, this means that the body cannot tell where the protein came from. It just cares that we are feeding it protein. Now, this could be an argument for both sides; the vegan and the carnivore. But that is not what it is about. It is about knowing and giving the body what it needs.
The Source Break-Down
As you may have read from the article I referenced, there are complete and incomplete sources of protein. Animal protein is considered complete because it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids… But it comes with its drawbacks. What?! Yes, and I know you know what I’m about to say. Many meats and other animal products are high in bad fats (the ones that make you and your heart fat), raise cholesterol, and raise blood pressure.
What’s the concern with plant protein?
With the exception of soy, it is incomplete. It is called that because it lacks one or more amino acids.
Does this sound like a big deal to you? It’s not.
The workaround for plant protein is to eat a variety of foods to make up the one amino acid that is missing or have a version of soy in your meal(s). (We’ll talk about the soy controversy in another post.) See, no big deal!
This study shows that plant protein is a great option for meeting the recommendations.
To sum it up…
No matter how you look at it, neither option offers everything we need from a nutrition standpoint. Here I talk about the protein our bodies needs and what common foods provide it. It is so helpful to see.
Ready to know how much you need and where to get it? Read this post.