We all need protein as it is an important building material for our cells. As parents, we are generally concerned about how much protein our children are getting and where they getting their protein from (especially if our kids eat little or no meat and dairy). Even though there is still much controversy over how much protein we need for health, experts have drastically lowered the out-dated requirements made under faulty influences and inaccurate study observations. The reality is: it is virtually impossible to not get enough protein in your diet if you are eating a diet of natural, unrefined foods.
Currently experts are saying you need 2.5 – 10% of your calories as protein, preferably plant-based. The World Health Organization recommends you get 5% of your calories as protein (and 6% for pregnant women). Coincidentally, mother’s milk is 5.5% protein.
Here are some tips to make sure you and your little ones are getting the right amount and right source of protein. Contrary to popular belief regarding protein, it is best to limit your intake of meat and dairy, as excess protein from these sources can be damaging and contribute to the development of many of our most common and serious diseases.
The best source of protein is to eat a wide variety of natural, whole, plant-based foods. Oatmeal is 15% protein, potatoes are 8%, and broccoli is 20% protein. Since cooking can deplete the assimilable protein levels in plants (as well as fiber and nutrients) try to eat some of that food in its raw form. Incidentally, there is little need to worry about food combining to receive a complete protein. The theory is out-dated, originally sourced from Frances Lappé who had misinterpreted a study done on rats. She later admitted food combining is unnecessary.
If, however, you are not eating a wide variety of foods, make sure you eat foods with the 8 essential amino acids. These are amino acids your body cannot produce on its own. Some of these foods are: almonds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, soybeans, buckwheat, peanuts, potatoes, sweet potatoes, all leafy greens, carrots, corn, cabbage, cauliflower, peas, bananas, tomatoes, and cucumbers. A good website to reference the protein and nutrient make-up of different foods is www.nutritiondata.com.
Dr. McDougall has a great article about this. For more information read: "Where do I get my protein article."
For questions or more information on this topic or others, I'd love to hear from you.