Monday, January 23, 2012

Vegetarian protein

I know I have said it before, but I am going to say it again – I am so tired of people asking me how I get my protein. But at the same time I understand why people are curious, so today I will honestly answer the question. 

Many vegetarians and vegans get a boost of protein from nuts, but I am unfortunately allergic to all tree nuts, so I have to be even more creative to get my protein. Soy and whole grains on the main ways I get my protein. I eat some form of tofu or edamame, pasta with added protein, quinoa or brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, and soy yogurt daily. 

Most Americans eat too much protein, and many think that the more protein you eat the bigger your muscles will be. While to a certain degree this is true, research has shown that too much protein can damage your kidneys and does not necessarily lead to larger muscles. Women should get about 46 grams of protein per day and men should eat about 56 grams per day. As a vegetarian or vegan it's important to count your protein carefully and be sure you are getting enough. Don't forget to leave enough room for your fruits and vegetables. 

Need some ideas on some ways to get more protein? This website provides a reference for some foods. I also read the nutrition information on foods or look them up individually when I am curious. I recommend keeping a food journal for protein until you are able to easily eat the proper amount of protein daily. It took me about two weeks of calculating my daily protein intake and measuring out my portions until I got where I needed to be. 

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