We are two individuals, sister-in-laws, and friends who are striving to thrive and be our personal best as well as making our surroundings a better place to live! Connected by faith, family, friendship, photos, and writing, we just want to share our journey with you!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

P is for Protein!

I had someone ask if they could get enough protein without buying the supplements that I had listed. I will try my best to answer! Keep in mind, I am not a Nutritionist (although I wish I was sometimes!!!), and the knowledge that I've gained (which is an ongoing process), is from reading, knowledgeable friends, and my own research! I have been studying nutrition and fitness leisurely for more than ten years but there is really so much debate and so much information to sort through the facts and so that's why I can only make suggestions as to what I believe to be true!

I believe that you can definitely get enough protein in your diet without consuming supplements! In fact, I think that you should rely heavily on getting 90% of your nutritional needs met by eating whole foods. I just posted my favorite supplements that I find have given me added energy and benefits that make taking them worth it!

That being said, I eat a lot of my protein (vegan based), from whole foods. Here are a list of foods which contain protein for vegetarians/vegans: Beans (black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans), Edamame Beans, Tofu, Hemp Hearts, Wheat Germ, Protein Powders (Hemp, soy or brown rice), quinoa, nuts and seeds.

Here is the nutritional information for some of these:

Hemp Hearts (a favorite of mine which I sprinkle on anything and everything! I put them on my salads, oatmeal, greens, veggies, yam fries, stir-frys...you name it!
Nutritional Value for 5 Tbsp. (I eat about 1 tbsp. with my meal/snack and probably consume about 3-5 tbsp./day)
20 grams of protein
5.9 grams of carbohydrates
314 calories
25.9 grams of fat *only 2.7 grams is Saturated Fat and there is 0 grams of Trans fat. From this there is 19.6 grams of Polyunsaturated fat (good fat) - broken down to 14.9 grams of Omega 6 and 4.7 grams of Omega 3. 3.5 grams of Monounsaturated Fat.
37% Iron

Wheat Germ (Wheat germ is so inexpensive and you won't notice it at all when you add it to your dishes, whether it be salads, soups, stews, oatmeal, etc. I add Wheat Germ into Noah's pasta sauce or the brown rice noodles to boost the nutritional value! The nutritional value is per 100grams but I would say that I sprinkle 1tbsp. over my dishes/time).
Nutritional Value per 100 grams:
360 calories
28 grams of protein
10 grams of fat *1.5 grams is Saturated and 0 grams is Trans Fat
10mg. Sodium
47 grams Carbohydrate
14 grams Fibre
45% Iron
4% Calcium
Relatively high in thiamine, vitamin E and trace minerals.

Tofu *there is much debate over whether tofu is good or bad. Some males are terrified away from tofu because of the higher estrogen levels but what my doctor said was that you would have to consume TONS to really have your hormonal levels affected. Keep in mind that people in China and Japan have and continue to consume tofu daily in their diet. I personally am scared only when a product is genetically modified! So my family (including the two males that live in our house!), eat tofu which says on the label non-GMO and Organic, to ensure that we are getting the best quality. We eat tofu and/or soy products probably 3-4 times per week and from what I have read, that is absolutely fine!

Nutritional Value per 100 grams:
165 Calories
10 grams of Fat *1.5 grams is Saturated, 0 grams is Trans Fat
4 mg Sodium
16 grams Protein
5% Calcium
16% Iron

Edamame Beans
Nutritional Value per 100 grams *I find it hard to eat just 100 grams/serving!
150 Calories
7 grams of Fat
140 mg Sodium
9 grams of Carbohydrates
4 grams of Fibre
2 grams of Sugar
12 grams of Protein
4% Vitamin A
20% Vitamin C
10% Calcium
20% Iron

Nutritional Value for 1 cup, cooked without salt:
269 Calories
4 grams of Fat *0 grams is Saturated and 0 grams is Trans Fat
11 mg Sodium
45 grams Carbohydrate
12 grams Dietary Fibre
8 grams Sugars
15 grams Protein
8% Calcium
26% Iron

Generally speaking, 25% of the calories found in beans come from Protein. 5% of the calories found in beans come from unsaturated fat. 70% of the calories found in beans are from complex carbohydrates.

Quinoa *I love quinoa so much! It has a mild nutty flavor and is so easy to make! It cooks in less than 20 minutes! Fantastic! It really tastes amazing hot or cold (as a salad).
Nutritional Value for 1 cup of cooked quinoa:
222 Calories
4 grams of Fat *0 grams of Saturated and 0 grams of Trans Fats
13 mg of Sodium
39 grams of Carbohydrates
5 grams of Dietary Fibre
8 grams of Protein
3% Calcium
15% Iron

Nuts and Nut Butters (such as organic almond butter, peanut butter, cashew butter), provide protein but also are high in calories and fat. I probably consume between 1/2 to 1 cup of nuts and seeds (mostly pumpkin seeds and walnuts) per week.

I hope that the above nutritional break-downs helps a little. I really can't answer the question generally as to how much protein you should consume each day as there are a lot of factors that go into determining this (such as activity level - intensity, body weight, goals - weight-loss/gain/maintenance, etc.), but I can say that from what I've learned, the best is to try and balance each snack and meal with a protein, carb, and fat.

Personally, I don't sweat about calories or serving sizes because I am just aware and try my best to be mindful and to listen to my body. If I'm feeling a little tired or taking longer to recover from my run/work-outs, I increase my protein and I usually find that my energy levels increase and my recovery times are a lot faster! I feel better when I eat several smaller means opposed to three meals. I just listen to my body - a process that wasn't always that easy! Of course I still have goals that I want to meet and I definitely don't think that I know it all or have reached every goal set...but I'm in a happy place which makes me feel proud and I just want to share my experience and passion with anyone/everyone!

Some advice I've learned about eating protein!
*Cooking protein can make it more acid-forming (our bodies are happiest when in an alkaline-state). You will benefit the most from food that is the least altered by processing and cooking.
*It's really easy and more economical to buy dried beans. If you are going to buy a can of beans, look for products that don't add salt and are organic!
*When we eat food, our body converts protein into amino acids for use. Protein isn't utilized directly. In his book The Thrive Diet, Brandan Brazier says
"We can help our body speed the regeneration process and be more efficient in the fabrication of new cells by eating foods rich in amino acid-one-step foods. This way, the body does not have to expend energy to convert protein into amino acids. Greens have the highest percentage of amino acids per ounce of any food".
*Foods that are rich in Amino Acids include, quinoa, hemp, leafy greens (eg. include spinach, chard, kale, dandelion greens, lettuces), all kinds of seeds (eg. chia seeds, hemp, flaxseeds).
*There really is so much variety to choose from when eating protein-rich, vegan friendly whole foods! The best part is that every time you incorporate these foods into your meals and eliminate meat or dairy, you are being so much friendlier to our Environment because it takes a lot less energy and land to grow these foods then it does to raise animals for consumption...not to mention the cruel and inhumane treatment that animals are often subjected to.

Enjoy and if you have any feedback or more information, please comment!


  1. Wow! Thank you so much for such a detailed list of all the proteins!!! That really helps alot with my journey of becoming vegan!! : ) Thank you again!
    Have a wonderful day! : )
    Ps. Your blog is so great - i've tried lots of your recipes and they have all been delicious!

  2. It's my pleasure! I am so passionate about this so it's really fun for me! Ally and I are still new to the Blog-World so we're hoping to keep making changes to making our blog even better in the future! Thanks for the encouragement! Your kindness has inspired me!!!