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Hey Vegetarian, How do you get your protein? Protein Daily Requirement

I can't stand this question yet I hear it all the time!!! If you are a vegetarian, I'm sure you hear it too.

As soon as someone hears I'm a vegetarian I get, "So you're a vegetarian, how do you get your protein?" or even worse, "What do you eat?" 

Come on, really?

Another question that ticks me off is "Why are you a vegetarian?" then, "Is it for health reasons?".

I have been a vegetarian for 35 years and I'll tell you why I am a vegetarian. I love animals. They make me happy. They should be treated with kindness. I don't like blood and guts. I don't watch blood and guts movies, and I certainly don't want to eat blood and guts!!!  I don't eat animals.

I won't use beauty products that are tested on animals either. Why should animals be tortured in cages so we can look more beautiful? It's complete nonsense.

Oh, I do like the health benefits that go along with a vegetarian diet, too. A plant based diet is trending. Finally, people are catching on to the health benefits that plants offer.

I have decided I need to show everyone what a vegetarian eats and how a vegetarian gets enough protein. It's really not a big deal. The US is so focused on meat protein. We need to put more focus on plant foods that provide necessary, unique nutrients and compounds to create strong healthy bodies with strong immune systems especially when weird viruses like the COVID-19 invade our world.

Nutrients including plant protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants fight free radicals, cancer and disease. Maybe I should start asking carnivores how they are getting their antioxidants and phyto chemicals!!!

Let me give you a great example of plant power then I'll move on to protein requirements and how you get protein from plants.

Plants contain very powerful anti bacterial and anti viral chemical compounds. Essential oil is derived from plants and has been used since ancient times to heal and prevent disease. 

Youngliving has a well known anti microbial essential oil blend called Thieves. It contains a blend of the essential oils clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus and rosemary. 

The story behind it goes like this: back in the 15 century when the plague was taking lives, a group of thieves would rub oils on themselves to protect themselves from getting sick as they robbed the dead and dying. They gave up their formula when they were caught in exchange for a more lenient punishment. Pretty crazy, right? 

The Thieves essential oil blend has been shown to kill bacteria and viruses. You don't take it internally but you apply it to your skin, particularly, the bottoms of your feet. This is a powerful oil that must be diluted in a carrier oil such as olive oil, almond oil or jojoba oil.  Only 1 drop of Thieves should be added to 15 drops of the carrier oil. It's potent stuff!

Youngliving Thieves
Shop for Thieves in Amazon!

Youngliving has even created Thieves cleaning products to help keep your home germ free.

Youngliving thieves household cleaner

Shop for Thieves Household Cleaner on Amazon!

I just wanted to make you aware of how powerful plants can be especially during this Corona Virus pandemic.

Read Ways to Prevent Illness and get Well Faster

So let's get back to protein intake and start by going over the protein intake recommendations, the recommended daily allowance (RDA). 

Protein Daily Requirement

How much protein to we actually need?

For actual grams of protein needed daily, there is a formula to calculate the amount of protein you need for your body weight, 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For example, 56 grams of protein are needed for a 154 pound (70 kg) person. 

Don't like math? Me neither! 

Here is a link to a handy protein calculator. It's pretty great! 

The RDA is 46 grams of protein for an average sized woman and 56 grams of protein for an average sized man per day. 

Now, our protein needs can fluctuate according to our health and physical needs. You will require more amino acids when fighting and recovering from illness, and rebuilding tissue. An active or athletic person will also require more protein than a sedentary person. A body builder will require even more to repair and rebuild damaged muscle.

What amino acids to we need to eat?

There are 9 essential amino acids, 7 conditional amino acids and 5 non essential amino acids. 

Essential amino acids must be eaten through our diet. The essential amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.

Conditional amino acids are synthesized by the body but the body may not produce enough during illness, hard exercise or in young children. 

Non essential amino acids are synthesized by various systems in our bodies.

We need all 21 of the proteinogenic amino acids to build proteins and maintain healthy bodies. 

It has always been my philosophy that if a person eats a wide variety of nutritious vegetarian foods throughout the day, he/she will be getting all the essential amino acids needed for a healthy body.

What foods are complete proteins? 

A complete protein contains all 9 essential amino acids.

Animal products are complete proteins, meats, poultry, fish as well as dairy products and eggs.

However, there are plant foods that are complete proteins too. They include: 

beans: black, cranberry, french, pink, white, winged, yellow and soy, 
chia seeds, 
Ezekiel bread, 
hemp seeds, 
pumpkin seeds, 
split peas, 
and tofu. 

The problem is some of those plant foods may have a low amount of one or two amino acids so they are not considered to be high quality complete proteins.

You can make them high quality, though. 

Vegetable protein sources can be eaten in a combination of complimentary protein foods to get sufficient amounts of the 9 essential amino acids to create a high quality complete protein. 

Combine a legume, which are beans, lentils and peanuts, with a grain, such as rice or wheat, to create a high quality complete protein. Or combine a legume with nuts or seeds to create a high quality complete protein.

For instance, the protein in wheat is low in lysine. Chickpeas are high in lysine. The combination of hummus and pita bread creates a high quality complete protein.

Many beans are low in methionine but high in lysine.
Rice is high in methionine but low in lysine. Together rice and beans make a high quality complete protein.

A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is another example of a high quality complete protein. A trail mix containing peanuts and sunflower seeds is a complete protein.

All the research I have done shows that as long as you are eating a variety of protein foods that provide the 9 essential amino acids throughout the day over a period of a day or two, your body will be getting all the protein it requires. 

So there you have it. That's how a vegetarian gets protein. I have lots of great recipes I can share with you to help you with your plant based diet if you are worried about getting enough protein. Let me give you a bit of background about who I cook for.

My vegetarian cooking challenges.
vegetarian foods
I cook for a picky bunch at my house. 

One of my daughters is vegetarian and goes on gluten free binges. She feels better when she is gluten free. Gluten free....very challenging! Especially GF baking. Even though she is vegetarian, there are a bunch of veggies she won't eat including asparagus, Brussels sprouts and celery. 

My other daughter is a bit more adventurous and wants lots of flavor. She will eat more complex dishes and will very occasionally eat chicken or turkey. She also has veggies she won't eat. She's not a fan of most fruits, chunks of tomatoes, eggplant or mushrooms. 

Actually, none of us are real fans of mushrooms. They are fungus after all!  I do use them sometimes, though. They have great health and beauty benefits. We all seem to be able to tolerate mushrooms when they are well chopped and you can't feel their texture. 

My younger daughter also has a mustard allergy which is unfortunate because mustard is a nice flavor bomb ingredient.

My husband is not happy about the vegetarian cooking and will make meat for himself or stop at our local pub for a dinnertime bite. A hearty pasta dish such as a veggie lasagna does please him, though! What really agitates me is, he will sometimes order a vegetarian dish when we are out for dinner yet he gives me a hard time about vegetarian dinners at home! It's really healthier for his cholesterol level to eat a vegetarian dinner, anyway. 

The foods I cook are pretty fast and easy. I don't usually have the time or inclination to get into a complicated recipe with unusual ingredients. I like to work with easy to find healthy ingredients. I don't worry about about the calories in healthy foods. I'm more concerned about the nutritional value. 

I do worry about calories when it comes to desserts and junk food, though! 

Yes, I eat both in moderation. I firmly believe chocolate necessary for our sanity... along with a little red wine!

I do watch out for too much added sugar in my diet. Sugar is not a beauty food and hides in foods you think are healthy. It causes inflammation that leads to health problems and aging skin.

Read why sugar is bad for your skin

Dinner is the meal I really like concentrate on each day. I like cook something substantial since we are all on the run doing our work and school schedules during the daytime. Plus, you can eat the leftovers (if there are any!) for lunch the next day! 

Let's get cookin'! 

Click here to see my Chickpea Swiss Chard Stew served with jasmine rice, lemon green beans, mixed greens salad with peanuts and mini corn muffins. 
chickpea swiss chard stew dinner
Hmmmm, how many protein grams do you think you get in that dinner? 

Follow me on facebook, instagram, and youtube for links to the Juicy Beauty Word to see what I'm making for dinner and get healthy beauty tips. 

Visit The Ricci Crafting Company Facebook page for handmade personalized gifts and home decor. I love these shelf sitter bunnies!
easter bunny decoration
       Have a Healthy Food Day! 
Licensed Cosmetologist, Esthetician, Makeup Artist

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