Saturday, February 21, 2009

How do you get protein eating fruits and vegetables?

I'm "mostly raw" myself. I do eat meat once in a while, but I try to eat fish or free-range or wild grain-fed, no-hormone-added chicken or beef. Or I try to get organ meats like liver - those have lots of B12 and your body stores it so you don't need it often.

I also get protein from nuts, seeds, and dark leafy greens - but it's a balancing act since I can't have nuts or seeds in large quantities.

Every day I usually have at least (a lot of it juiced):
1 head of red leaf lettuce: 5 g
1 head of kale: 8 g
1/4 cup nut, usually sunflower: 7.25 g
1 cucumber: 2 g
1 head of celery: 2g
1 large banana: 1 g
1/2 cup beans: 6 g

So that's almost 30 g. That's just basic, of course I eat more than that. I usually have more fruit, dark leafy greens, and other colorful vegetables. If you boil or stir-fry the greens, it seems to increase the protein...but I think that's because you can pack more cooked collards into a cup than raw (same as if you juice it).

If I choose to eat cooked food, I try to eat it at night, and separate from meals that contain a lot of raw just because raw food digests better on it's own. Mix them and you can get an upset stomach. If I choose to eat animal-based protein, 3 oz of salmon has about 22 g of protein, a boiled egg has 17g. I also tend to undercook veggies at this time.

I found this list on the About has columns with non-meat-based proteins. Meat, eggs, and dairy make up complete proteins with all the amino acids. The foods below are not complete. According to the About Guide, she says to pick from two or more columns to make a complete protein:

  • Grains: Barley, corn meal, oats, rice, pasta, whole grain breads
  • Legumes: Beans, lentils, peas, peanuts, soy products
  • Seeds & Nuts: Sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, cashews, other nuts (be careful of nut allergies especially to cashews)
  • Vegetables: Leafy greens, broccoli

According to this calculator I need 74 g per day. Some people argue that's too high. This is a very heated debate with some feeling we don't need any, some saying just 40 g, etc. I do what feels right. Here is the calculator:

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