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The lean, the mean & the protein. Vegetarians got it covered

The lean, the mean & the protein. Vegetarians got it covered

There is a joke that vegetarians know- it goes like this:

How may vegetarians does it take to screw a light bulb. 

The answer I don’t know, but where do you get your protein.

Everyone needs protein for their bodies to function. It’s necessary for maintaining the body’s normal growth and its muscle mass, its immune system, heart and respiratory functions. Protein is one of the big three macronutrients. The other two are carbohydrate and fat. Adequate protein intake is essential for good health:

Protein is made up of amino acids (oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, and hydrogen), and is also the nutrient responsible for growing new cells and building and repairing tissue.

However, there is controversy as to how much we need.

Our protein needs depend on many factors: our age, size, and activity level. In addition, our needs change if we are ill or injured. The standard method used by nutritionists to estimate our minimum daily protein requirement is to multiply the body weight in kilograms by .8, or weight in pounds by .37. This is the number of grams of protein that should be the daily minimum. According to this method, a person weighing 150 lbs. should eat 55 grams of protein per day, a 200-pound person should get 74 grams, and a 250-pound person should eat 92 grams.

By percentages, some suggest as little as 5% or 5 ounces a day of our diet should come from protein and others suggest more like 10-15%.

 So how can you tell you are getting enough protein? Do you look good, feel good, maintain optimum weight, and have good muscle tone? How about your hair & nails – does it grow quickly? Do wounds heal well and are you generally healthy, and recover quickly from illness? Although not scientific, it may just mean you are getting enough protein from your food. Our bodies tell us many things, if you pay attention.

While animal products contain large amounts of protein, they are also high in cholesterol and saturated fat, which can lead to health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. The plant-based diet is low in fat, free of cholesterol, and full of fiber. Proteins are made up of smaller units called amino acids. Our bodies can’t manufacture nine of the amino acids, so it is important to include all these amino acids in our diets.

Almost every plant contains protein, though some have more than others. Because we do not need to get all amino acids from one source, eating a varied vegetarian diet will result in a complete balance of protein. Here are some examples from the organic authority

1. Beans contain more protein than any other vegetarian source, and they are high in fiber so you’ll feel full hours after eating them. There are countless varieties, the most popular being black, pinto, kidney, chickpeas, lentils, split peas, and soy.

2.Whole grains are a great compliment to beans, and together they pack a protein punch into your diet. Rice is always a great choice. While quinoa is technically a seed, it contains more protein than any other grain. Check out barely and millet, and keep in mind that even popcorn contains protein!

3. Nuts are also very high in protein – one ounce of almonds has the same amount as one ounce of steak (6 grams)!


4. Seeds
are a great addition to any meal – simply sprinkle them on top or mix them in to add an extra boost of protein to your dish. Flax, pumpkin and hemp seeds are not only rich in essential amino acids, but contain other important nutrients like omega-3s, iron, and fiber.

5. Green vegetables. There’s a reason Popeye was obsessed with spinach – he wanted to maintain his big biceps! Other veggies with high protein content are:broccoli, kale, green beans, asparagus and watercress.

Sources:

http://www.organicauthority.com/mojo-foods/five-vegetarian-sources-protein.html

http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/nutrition/a/protein.htm

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-1lb raw walnuts
-5 lb raw walnuts
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