How about plant protein specifically, instead of what probably just came to your mind. Are you aware that the average American consumes almost twice the protein the body needs? The formula is: at least 10% of your daily calories, but not more than 35% of calories, from protein, according to the Institute of Medicine. Protein is essential, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Excess protein can’t be stored in the body, and is more difficult to eliminate. There are many health challenges that can occur because of excess protein over time. Excessive protein consumption has been linked to certain cancers, kidney disease, and osteoporosis. Consider deriving these protein needs from some plant based alternatives as opposed to meat and dairy forms. There are many alternative plant based protein forms. Since protein is made up of amino acids, they are considered essential and foundational for great health. Our skin, hair, nails, muscles, and much more are healthy (or not) because of the protein we take in. Some forms of protein come with unhealthy fats that, given our family medical history, we don’t need. Because of my family history of heart and stroke issues, I chose to reduce my animal proteins. I haven’t eliminated them, I just work hard to diversify my diet. I ask you to consider spending the next 30 days experimenting with various meal choices, where maybe 1-3 days per week you eat only plant based proteins. This isn’t an all or nothing experience. It’s about being aware that food is fuel and that nutrition is key to excellent health! Anything eaten in its whole form will be better for your health. Consider using whole grain bread for toast with almond butter, which packs a whopping 16 grams of protein in a ¼ cup. Or perhaps a smoothie with a ¼ cup of flax seeds ground into it, which provides 7 grams of protein. Proteins are very valuable, as they produce feeling of satiety as well as being good for your body. You will feel full longer. With cooler weather upon us, consider making a soup or chili, but use 4 kinds of beans instead of meat. Experiment and enjoy the process! Protein builds strong bodies!
These are my older blog posts, which originally appeared in my Exposure Magazine Column, "Healthy Living."