Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Plant Based Protein

by Kris Pitcher

What's trending this year in the nutrition world? Plant based protein. Whether you are vegetarian, want to decrease the amount of meat you eat, or are just looking to increase your fiber intake, there are benefits to looking at plant based protein.

The key with protein, especially for the competitor, is getting complete protein. Recall proteins are made of amino acids. There are 22 amino acids, 8 of which are "essential" - meaning we need to get them from our diet. Our body can make the rest. Amazing!

Who cares? Well, amino acids are our building blocks. We need them for effective building and repair. But let's get back to the point here.

What is plant based protein? It's protein derived from plant, vs. animal sources. I'm not here to tell you your values around your food choices. That's up to you. One big advantage to plant based protein is fiber.

Fiber is like magic. Fiber makes us feel full. It moves everything through our system. It's even thought to prevent certain cancers, and aid in fat loss. Fiber is good.

Good sources of plant based protein include the legume family. Those are your lentils, beans, peas, all kinds of beans...yellow, black, red, fava...

Other great sources are broccoli, and green leafy vegetables. Then there are the seeds - chia, hemp, almonds, walnuts. And don't forget your unsweetened raw cacao powder - there's protein in there too.

The great challenge for anyone on a competitor's eating plan is, these plant based sources also contain carbohydrates and some contain fats. Knowing the full spectrum of the nutrient profile is critical to working them in your plan.

For general population, creating a plan including plant based proteins is a little bit easier. Either way, it simply requires knowing your numbers and being able to do some math. Life is like that.

Here are a few examples:

  • Broccoli - 1 C = 8.1 gm protein
  • Quinoa - 1/2 C = 14 gm protein (20 gm carbs)
  • Leafy greens - 2 C = 2.1 gm protein
  • Raw cacao - 1 T = 1 gm protein
  • Lentils - 1 C = 18 gm protein (39 gm carbs)
  • Black beans - 1 C = 15 gm protein (41 gm carbs)
The key is knowing the nutrients and working them into your total plan. Nutrition is about values. Sure, the numerical values, but also about your personal values around what you eat. Building a successful plan for someone means listening to those values and creating a plan for success.

If you'd like help with your plan, let me know. Find me at and we can build plant based proteins into your successful plan! And that's what's trending. 

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