What’s the deal with our protein obsession? Protein is hot on everyone’s mind…mine too, because it both helps to build lean muscle AND it supports weight loss, amongst other benefits. 

We used to think protein was for bodybuilders. NOT TRUE!

Protein is necessary for everyday functioning and in large quantities, both because our bodies are formulated from protein and because this nutrient provides calories to perform, and because protein drives our metabolic, digestive, and detoxification functions…and protein is behind it all. It plays a huge role in your health! 

PROTEIN BENEFITS

  1. Aids in normalizing protein synthesis.
  2. Assists with the stabilization and recovery of muscle strength and endurance.
  3. Aids in keeping body tissues firm.
  4. Helps to minimize body fat.
  5. Helps support a weight loss regimen.
  6. Aids in tightening skin during and after weight loss, avoiding skin reduction surgery. 

WHAT IS PROTEIN? 

Protein is a series of peptide bonds (polypeptide) of amino acids linked together for our bodies to use in various ways. According to Wikipedia, there are over 500 identified amino acids, with 22 being used by our bodies to make protein, and 9 of those amino acids are “essential,” meaning you must ingest these magical 9 either via food or supplement, because our bodies cannot create essential amino acids on their own. From muscle to bone, nails, skin, and hair as well as nearly every other body part, you are nothing more than a heaping blob of protein, or amino acids, and lots of them!

AT LEAST 10,000 DIFFERENT PROTEINS COMPOSE YOUR BODY!

Yes, it’s true! According to the Harvard School of Public Health, at least 10,000 different amino acids compose your body. You can see why protein (amino acids) sources such as protein drinks, protein bars, yogurt, meat, eggs, and protein fortified foods are in high demand! 

The daily recommended protein consumption is .8 grams protein for every kg of body weight or just over 7 grams for every 20 pounds of body weight, approximately 50g protein daily for an average 140 pound person…even more if you are active, trying to gain lean muscle or working to lose weight!

Enter the bodybuilders of the world, who have long relied upon whey and animal protein to bulk up! Your muscles thrive on protein; they anabolically build, shape, and define lean muscle. 

Aminos can be used by your body in one of two ways: either they provide immediate energy (catabolic) or they are used to make protein, build muscle, and therefore burn fat (anabolic). Your body determines which function, catabolic or anabolic, based on the rate and amount of the nine essential amino acids in the protein you ingested. If aminos are missing or aren’t in the correct proportions, it has a lower NNU (Net Nitrogen Utilization) rating. Loosely translated, that means your body doesn’t get the full use of the protein. This is why, meat has traditionally been considered the “king of the protein world,” deceivingly so, rather than veggies, which generally lack one or more of the essential aminos. 

DON’T BE FOOLED!…BEST SOURCES OF AMINO ACIDS/PROTEIN

When you eat protein, regardless of the food source, it is digested or synthesized into amino acids for your cells to use throughout your body. Let’s be clear, however, not all protein was created equally! 

Here’s how your protein options stack and rack:

  • Beef, poultry, fish (33%NNU)
  • Eggs (45% NNU)
  • Beans and Legumes (17% NNU)
  • Super Amino 23 (99%)…wow! more on that one below!

You can see why bodybuilders and protein aficionados traditionally look to eggs and animal protein! These sources have a higher NNU/utilization rate. But don’t be fooled! 

Plants are surprisingly a great source of protein 

with added health benefits from fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins. 

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered that plant protein builds muscle just as well as meat protein! Check out these awesome plant-based protein sources!

BEST PLANT-BASED PROTEIN:

  • Spirulina
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Seeds (hemp, Quinoa – it really is a seed!, pumpkin, amaranth)
  • Soy (please only use certified organic/fermented foods such as tofu, tempeh, edamame) 
  • Grains (buckwheat and farro)
  • Lentils
  • Peas
  • Greens (Spinach, Asparagus, Broccoli)
  • Peanuts
  • Chickpeas/garbanzo beans/hummus
  • Seeds (hemp and pumpkin)
  • Ezekiel Bread (Yes, really!)
  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts)
  • Beans (black, kidney)

The plants that contain all essential amino acids, such as spirulina, nutritional yeast, soy, quinoa, and amaranth are considered to be complete protein and therefore contain a higher NNU protein yield. 

BUT THAT’S A LOT OF PLANTS TO EAT!

And therein lies the issue! In my experience, far too many individuals snub their noses at plant protein to rely upon protein sources with higher NNU rates, the typically meat and egg diet that is of poor quality and that brings in less than desirable variables. 

 Again, don’t be fooled!…The Standard American Diet, (SAD), rich in meat, cheese, and dairy, provides a high protein yield, but it is also packaged around fat/saturated fat, hormones, high calories, chemical toxins (from cows fed glyphosate treated grains), and acid to the gut as well as burden to kidneys and liver. Plants on the other hand are packaged around vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and enzymes. 

  Check out how these foods compare: 

  1. One cup of lentils (plants)provides about 24 grams protein, with 64% of your daily fiber and 300 calories!
  2. One 4 oz portion of steak (meat) provides about 28 grams protein with 9 grams (45% daily) saturated fat, no fiber, and 300 calories!

Which one would you choose? That’s a no brainer! No wonder a plant-based diet is preferable for health conscious individuals! You can absolutely get quality protein wrapped around healing nutrients and without added burden to your body and with fewer chemicals, toxins, and acid!

WHAT ABOUT SUPPLEMENTATION?

Supplementing with protein powder and/or amino acids is ideal to add protein, especially when:

  • Transitioning into a vegan or plant-based diet
  • Engaging in a detox program that eliminates acid-forming foods such as animal protein
  • Building lean muscle
  • Supporting weight loss
  • Increasing strength 
  • Experiencing diminished muscle due to injury or age. We begin to lose muscle tissue at increasing rates in older ages. Less muscle coupled with malnutrition from the Standard American Diet (SAD) is a recipe for decreased stability, mobility, energy, and endurance. 

OPTION ONE: BCAAs

Many individuals supplement with Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), which provide only three of the 9 essential amino acids (EAAs). There’s really no reason to sell yourself short with BCAAs, why not get all nine EAAs? The full benefit of Amino Acids cannot be realized if you don’t provide the complete profile of essential amino acids. 

OPTION TWO:  WHEY PROTEIN POWDER

As noted above, protein powders are either plant or animal sourced with whey or whey protein isolates. While whey protein might be effective to build muscles or even to help you lose weight, it can also come with hidden health risks. Whey protein and whey protein isolates are a dairy by-product that is processed with heat and acid to extract the fat. As is the case with meat, eggs, and dairy, this protein source is packaged around less than desirable side effects.

Sure you might gain lean muscle with whey protein powder; 

you might even lose weight! But, there are hidden risks!

OPTION THREE:  PLANT-BASED PROTEIN POWDER

A quality plant-based protein powder is tested for purity (no heavy metals) and without contaminants, is certified organic, nonGMO, free of gluten, soy, and whey, and is whole food sourced with no excipients, binders, colors, added sugars, or chemicals. 

The plant-based protein powder I recommend and use with my clients, Purium’s MVP Sport,* meets the aforementioned criteria, contains 32 grams protein, and is perfect for athletes. 

OPTION FOUR: SUPER AMINO 23

Another one of my favorite plant-based protein supplements Purium’s Super Amino 23*  is designed to prevent muscle loss during a fast and/or low carbohydrate/low caloric dietary regimen. When taken between meals, it acts to stabilize blood sugar levels and enhances fat burning. In addition, when taken within 30 minutes of intense exercise, it is absorbed into muscle tissue, increasing its mass and tone. 

Medical doctors use Super Amino 23 to maximize protein utilization. Olympic athletes and fitness buffs around the world use it to increase muscle strength and endurance. It is currently being used by the Vatican (through its Caritas Foundation) to treat malnutrition & the effects of starvation in developing countries. 

Super Amino 23 is rapidly utilized since it does not require the aid of peptidases and is therefore absorbed within 23 minutes. It has a 99% Net Nitrogen Utilization (NNU) so there is no added burden on the kidneys or liver like other proteins, as these organs do not have to clear catabolic waste that comes with its digestion.

*My health coach code “pacerkristen” provides 25% or $50 off your order of Purium’s MVP Sport and Super Amino 23. 

ARE YOU WITH ME?

When you increase your Protein, you are upgrading your health, but only with quality, plant-based protein sources!

Seize the day…grab some protein, and hit the gym!..Watch your weightloss increase, your performance improve, and you’ll notice some awesome looking, new, lean muscles too!