How much protein should I really eat?
With the rise in popularity of low-carb diets, more of us are becoming aware of the importance of protein. If we don’t eat enough of this essential macronutrient our bodies start to consume protein from our muscles and organs. Eek! But how much protein do we really need? And what are the best vegetarian and vegan sources?
Know Your Needs
Having some form of protein with every meal will help keep your blood sugar levels stable and stop you snacking. To work out your protein prescription, allow 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight; so a 60kg woman needs 48g. If you are working out at the gym regularly you will need to increase that to around 72 g for a 60kg woman.
Eggs are arguably the perfect ‘fast-food’ for vegetarians and two for your breakfast will provide 12g of protein - as well as healthy omega three fats and B vitamins. If you’re eating on-the-go, opt for an egg protein pot from a high street chain (Crussh does organic ‘Fit Egg’ pots) Commercially raised eggs have been shown to be up to 15 x higher in pro inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, so choose organic wherever possible. Since eggs are slightly acidic, pair them with greens like spinach or kale.
For vegans, your choice of alkaline protein is abundant. Spirulina, hemp ( ie hemp seed spread, bread or protein powder) and sprouts like alfalfa and broccoli are great sources of green protein. Sprouted grains – like sprouted porridge oats – are also a good choice and will keep you feeling fuller for longer. The process of sprouting grains unleashes - and increases - levels of vitamins and makes them easier to digest.