Okay so maybe this was just a chance for me to source a hot picture of James Franco bearing his muscular bod; but in all seriousness this post may come as a shock to some, confirm what you already know; or merely a chance to admire the fine specimen that James Franco is (sorry to the male readers). So we are on the topic of muscles; as we know muscles are built from Protein; so lets stay focused, scroll the page down away from the abs and let’s talk about Protein.
Contrary to what many believe, we don’t actually need as much protein as we think we do. In actual fact, a healthy average female only needs approximately 45g per day, and men about 55g. In fact in the western world, it is extremely rare to find someone with a protein deficiency; in fact it is more the opposite with the obsession with high protein/low carb diets and the belief that protein will help us ‘bulk up’ – there are more cases of protein overdose than deficiency – which is doing more harm than good. Kwashiorkor is the specific wasting away disease common in third world countries caused by protein deficiency as a result to malnutrition and famine. It is a terrible disease and one in which we shouldn’t oversee, however the western world rarely sees cases of this. But what about vegetarians you ask? Where do they get protein isn’t the only source from meat? The answer is no. It is rare you will find a protein deficiency amongst vegetarians or vegans. For myself personally, as a vegetarian, the most common question I get asked is “so you don’t eat meat, so where do you get your protein?” Believe it or not there are other fabulous sources of Protein apart from meat. So I have come up with a list of some marvellous plant based protein sources.
- Quinoa (11g protein / 1 cup) - A grain like seed, which is a high protein alternative to rice or pasta. You can add it to bulk up salads, use it in stir-fries instead of rice, or make yummy veggie patties with it.
- Lentils (17g protein / 1 cup) – Delicious and super easy to prepare. Just boil up 1 cup and add to salads or as a side at night with some veggies. They are also great to make Lentil patties which are delicious on a whole grain bun with some greens.
- Beans – Black, Kidney, Mung, Pinto (12-15g Protein / 1 Cup) – Beans are just awesome so versatile and delicious. They are great on a veggie burrito, added to a vegetable pattie, used in soups, added to bulk up salads or over rice with vegetables. A great source of dietary fibre these babies will keep you regular! You know the saying ‘Beans beans the wonderful fruit the more you eat the more you toot!’
- Spirulina (6g Protein / 10 grams) - A blue-green algae, spirulina is a highly bioavailable complete protein containing all essential amino acids. At 70% complete protein (the highest of any natural food), it’s a plant-based protein powerhouse that is great used in smoothies, juices, or if you are brave simply mix with 1 cup of water and down the hatch.
- Hemp Seeds (16g Protein / 3 Tbsp) - With a perfect ration of omega-6 and omega-3 EFA’s, hemp seeds are another bioavailable complete protein rivaled only by spirulina. A simple and great addition to a multitude of dishes, from breakfast cereal to salads to smoothies to vegetables and rice.
- Others – Spinach, Broccoli, Nuts, Seeds, Chia Seeds, Goji Berries, mixing of seeds and grains for complete protein.
So there you have it – the truth be told. No guarantees can be made that if you start feeding your boyfriend Spirulina shots he will start looking like James Franco – all I can guarantee is bouts of energy and increased wellbeing. Please note – even if you aren’t vegetarian these sources of protein will provide wonders to your body. Enjoy and eat well.