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Protein is very important.  It provides the building blocks (Amino Acids) for every cell in your body, which helps build and repair tissues.  This macronutrient is essential for healthy skin, hair and nails, as well as every other component and function of your body.

High protein (low carb) diets are very popular.  People are guzzling protein shakes and snarfing meat all day long.  We actually need less protein than most people think.  Our daily intake of protein depends on several factors, such as age, gender, activity level, and physique goals.  Lets take someone like me as an example.  I'm 30 blah blah blah, female, fairly active (yoga 2-3 day per week, and running after two wee kiddos), and I am satisfied with my body (I'm realistic about my new mom body and giving myself as much time as I need to lose those last few pounds), oh and I'm still breastfeeding.  I should get 83 grams of protein daily, which is way higher than most due to lactation.  Use the handy Dietary Reference Intakes calculator to find out your specific recommended daily allowance of protein.

So now where should you get protein?  Most people would say meat, eggs, and dairy are the best sources.  I often get asked where and how do I get enough protein when people find out I eat a plant based diet.  Well the truth of the matter is protein comes from plants (where do you think the cows get it?).  A 2,000 lbs bull for instance who eats his natural diet (not what cows are fed by some farmers) grazes on grass all day long.  He gets all the protein he needs and all the protein that is in his flesh that is then consumed by meat eaters.  So I say get rid of the middle man.

Some of the best plant based proteins are: lentils, chickpeas, most beans, nutritional yeast, ancient grains (spelt, teff, barley, sorghum, farro, etc.), hempseed, green peas, spirulina, moringa, amaranth, quinoa, sprouted breads such as Ezekiel, soy milk, edamame, oatmeal, wild rice, chia seeds, nuts, seeds, and yes fruit and vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, bananas, blackberries, nectarines.   So as you can see vegans and plant-based folk are getting plenty of protein if they are eating a heathy diet, i.e. not vegan junk food like oreos, and potato chips.  The take away is you do not need to eat meat to get enough protein in your diet.