Tuesday, February 27, 2007

How Much Protein Do I Need?

There is so much information on protein and how much we need and it can be a bit confusing, especially in the fitness and weight loss arena. We do need protein every day for the building and repair of our body, however the most important factors concerning protein is getting the right kind of protein.

Animal proteins (meats and milk products) are a complete protein, however they are high in calories, fat and cholesterol, while vegetable proteins (though not always a complete protein) are much lower in calories and fat, and contain no cholesterol.

Protein is often over recommended or suggested in the following ways:
1) Most typical meal menus, especially in the fast foods & prepared food arena, as well as in most recipe books, usually contain an abundance of protein. So if you eat this way every meal, you are most likely eating way more protein than you need. Once you give your body the protein that it needs, the extra protein mearly goes on as fat.
2) For weight loss and fitness workouts, extra protein is often suggested to replace the carbs. This is OK if you are replacing the poor carbs (refined sugar and white flour) with good vegetable proteins, however, if you are doubling up on your meats, it can prove to create more problems in the long run.
3) Even if you are replacing the poor carbs with vegetable proteins, you don't need protein every meal in abundance. A handful of almonds (8-10) is enough for the day along with a side dish of beans, sprouts, tofu, or other vegetable proteins, plus our greens and grains.

I think it's helpful to look at a cow and what she eats. Alfalfa hay and occasionally a little grain is enough protein to produce her hundreds of pounds of protein flesh. We have been trained to think that we need the animal proteins to survive, while we see other mammals that do just fine with only the greens and whole grains - an ample amount of protein.

Neal D. Barnard, MD, says this: "It's important to note that there is no requirement at all for animal protein in the diet. There is plenty of protein in beans, grains and vegetables, as well as the concentrated protein in seitan (wheat meat) and soy products, such as soymilk, tofu, tempeh and various meat substitutes, all of which are found in any natural food store or in the health-food section of grocery stores."

One of my goals in producing my Simple Super Salads cookbook is to create superb salads that have a great balance of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fiber, carbs, fat and protein - especially so we get great types of proteins that are not over done.

Here are a couple of great recipes from the Simple Super Salads cookbook which I know you will really enjoy. To pre-order your copy go to: http://livingahealthylifestyle.com/store.htm


2 Tbs. cold pressed oil
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 tsp. salt

4 C. torn romaine lettuce
1 C. cooked brown rice, chilled
½ C. cooked adzuki, black, or red beans,(rinsed and drained well)
3 green onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
½ C. halved green olives
½ C. cut corn (raw is best)

o In a small bowl, combine dressing.
o In serving bowl, combine salad ingredents, then add dressing.
o Toss well and serve.


2 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. Braggs liquid aminos or soy sauce
1 clove garlic, pressed, or ½ tsp. garlic powder

2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
¼ C. chopped parsley
½ C. sprouted quinoa (just soak quinoa overnight to sprout)
½ C. raw pistachio nuts
2 large handfuls mixed baby greens

o Combine dressing ingredients in salad bowl.
o Add salad ingredients in order given.
o Toss well before serving.

Enjoy great vegetable proteins with great Simple Super Salads! Get your copy now at: http://livingahealthylifestyle.com/store.htm

For your best health,
Erleen Tilton

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