October 22, 2014

Whole Body Beautiful—Are You Getting Enough Protein?

 

Our bodies have 100 trillion cells and 15 percent of that is protein.

These amazingly powerful molecules are the primary solid element in our body found in every tissue, organ and cell. They are the building blocks of life needed for growing, breaking down our food and repairing body tissue.

How much protein do we need? Am I getting enough? These are questions we all consider when we talk about diet, weight, nutrition and health. Let’s start with the basics.

Proteins are made up of chains of amino acids, each having a specific amount that are joined in a unique order. That is why the protein in a piece of fish is different than in a piece of cheese or even a strand of hair.

We have 20 amino acids that help us build and break down our food that help repair our bodies. Eleven of these amino acids are “non-essential,” which means that our bodies produce them naturally. The other nine are called “essential,” which means that our bodies cannot produce them naturally and we need to get them through the consumption of food. Unlike carbohydrates and fats, amino acids are not stored in the body so it is important that we keep ourselves supplied.

The average male needs approximately 60 grams of protein, females 50 grams; athletes need a little more. Usually, meat, fish and dairy come to mind, and no doubt they supply substantial amounts of protein. As a health coach (and for myself), I like to introduce and educate people on other sources of protein that may not be as obvious but still give us the same benefits as your typical types of protein. They are in everything! Take a look at these numbers:

• 1 avocado —10 grams

• 1 cup broccoli—5 grams

• 1 cup spinach—5 grams

• 2 cups cooked kale—5 grams

• 1 cup boiled peas—9 grams

• 1 cup cooked sweet potato—5 grams

• 1 cup tofu—20 grams

• 1 cup soybeans—28 grams

• 1 cup tempeh (soybean-based)—30 grams

• 1 cup lentils—18 grams

• 1 cup refried beans—15.5 grams

• 1 cup garbanzo beans (and hummus)—14.5 grams

• 1 cup pinto, kidney, black beans— 13-15 grams

• 1 oz. peanuts—6.5 grams

• 1 cup oatmeal—7 grams

• 23 almonds—6 grams

• 2 Tbs. peanut butter—8 grams

• ½ cup chickpeas—7 grams

• 4 oz. salmon—25 grams

• 4 oz. chicken breast—35 grams

• ½ cup lima beans—7 grams

Try to incorporate some plant-based proteins in your diet. They will supply you not only with a good amount of protein, but with fiber and complex carbohydrates, as well, that you need to fuel yourself for the long haul.

Plant-based carbohydrates are low in fat, cholesterol and calories. If you choose meat, fish or chicken, make sure it is lean, fresh and organic, if possible. A 4 oz. serving is the size of your palm.

It is important to have a variety of foods in your diet and not focus on just one thing. Mix it up, vary the colors, flavors, nutritional values, and remember to try something new. There are so many wonderful healthy options to choose from. Here is one of my favorite go-to meals for breakfast, lunch or dinner, hot or cold. Eat it as is, or add it to some steamed vegetables, a kale salad, or just as a side. Protein, fiber, vitamins all in one and it’s delicious! Enjoy!

Ingredients

(2) 14 oz. blocks of organic tofu drained and smashed (Use a potato masher or fork)

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 onion chopped

1 red bell pepper

1 can organic black beans

1 cup chopped mushrooms of choice ( I cook these separately so as not to make the tofu soggy)

½ tsp. ground cumin

1½ tsp. ground turmeric

½ cup chopped cilantro

Optional: Any other preferred vegetable

Instructions

Heat oil in large skillet, sauté onions until slightly browned. Add chopped vegetables and cook for a few minutes, add tofu and spices. Cook another few minutes then add cooked mushrooms. Cook mixture until heated through. Sprinkle cilantro on top. Salt and pepper to taste. Hot sauce goes well with this as well. Serve with a salad, lettuce cups, tortillas or as is.

Lisa Fallon Mindel, CHHP, AADP is a qualified holistic health and nutrition Coach as well as a model and triathlete. She counsels people on how to effectively reach their health, nutrition and wellness goals.

With her personalized step-by-step program and support, reaching goals is enjoyable and lifelong. For more informaion, go to Wholebodybeautiful.com.