- Find out how much protein you need
- Learn the best ways to power-up your snacks
- Make sure you’re digesting protein well
What is protein?
Time for a very quick protein rundown...
- Protein is a macronutrient, made up of amino acids that work as building blocks in our bodies making all our new cells, including immune cells and hormones.
- It’s a vital nutrient for everyone, but especially for growing children, pregnant women, sporty types, or if you’re recovering from an illness or injury.
- Protein digests more slowly than carbohydrates, so it helps to release energy into your bloodstream gradually, keeping you going longer.
- You get good amounts of protein from eating foods like meat, fish, dairy products, nuts, legumes, beans and seeds. But other foods such as mushrooms and brown rice also contain small amounts of protein.
The recommended general guideline is to eat 0.8g of protein per 1 kilo of body weight, so if you weigh 55kg then you’ll need about 44g of protein every day.
* TIP: Remember, foods that contain protein are never 100% protein. Even a chicken breast is only about 25% protein.
* TIP: Guidelines are only meant as a guide, not a rule – so if you exercise intensely, you’ll need more. Aim for 1.5-2g per kilo of body weight.
"The protein guideline is to eat 0.8g of protein per 1 kilo of body weight. Are you getting enough?"
Signs that you may need to increase your protein
Learning to listen to your body is the first step in the journey to health! Here are some signs that show you might benefit from more protein:
- You don’t recover well after exercise and get very sore muscles.
- After eating you feel hungry again within 2 hours.
- Your mood swings are getting out of control.
- You crave sugar and caffeine to keep going.
- Your hair and nails are getting thin and brittle.
- Feeling weak and tired has become the norm.
- Any wounds, bumps or bruises are slow to heal.
Adding a steak to your plate isn’t necessarily going to solve signs of low protein if you don’t have sufficient stomach acid, which is vital to break down protein and help you absorb all the essential amino acids from your food.
* TIP: Check your stomach acid with this simple test; stir 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda into a 250ml glass of water and drink. You should start burping within 2 minutes due to the reaction between your acid and the drink. If it takes 3 or more minutes to start burping, you have low stomach acid.
“You need enough stomach acid to digest protein properly, try this simple test to check yours!”
- Try slow-cooked meats that are easier on digestion (a stew with lamb, or add poached shredded chicken to a soup).
- Make sure you chew all protein foods especially thoroughly!
- Eat something bitter with your protein to stimulate your stomach acid and other digestive juices.
- A rocket salad with plenty of pepper and lemon juice is perfect.
- Add more easily digestible sources of protein like Organic Burst Spirulina Powder – it contains all the essential amino acids, which means it is the only vegan source of complete protein!
To keep your energy levels and moods balanced, make sure you add a portion of protein to EVERY meal and snack. Most people have no problem eating enough protein for lunch and lunch dinner, but breakfast and snacks tend to be trickier. Here are our suggestions:
High protein breakfast ideas:
- 2 eggs, with some smoked salmon, avocado and spinach.
- Paleo granola (make your own with nuts, seeds, coconut flakes) and serve with coconut milk or yoghurt.
- Add protein to your smoothie with one of these great sources: 1tbsp ground almonds/ 1tbsp nut butter or tahini/ 1tsp Organic Burst Spirulina.
- If you like protein powders, please choose carefully. Go for one with the fewest ingredients, that isn’t full of additives. Try a pure rice or pea protein powder or a grass-fed whey protein. You can add a scoop to baking mixtures, pancakes, or your smoothie.
- Make your own energy balls with chopped nuts or try this awesome protein balls recipe by FitMenCook.
- A hard-boiled egg is a perfect, portable snack.
- Flaked poached salmon on a piece of buckwheat or other grain-free bread.
- A small handful of nuts with an apple.
- Add a teaspoon of Organic Burst Spirulina Granules to a hummus or tatziki dip and eat with carrot, cucumber and celery sticks or wheat-free seed crackers.
“Try some protein snacks to keep you going. Energy balls with chopped nuts, hard boiled eggs, smoked salmon.”
Beware: eating too much protein can be a problem!
You may choose to make an effort to increase your protein substantially because you want to balance your moods, energy or you’re training extra hard at the gym, but there’s a big difference between eating enough protein and too much.
Excess protein increases acid and nitrogen in the body, which puts your kidneys under extra strain, so eating much more protein than you need could cause kidney problems.
If you’re feeling well and full of energy then don’t worry, but if you’re feeling heavy and notice that your urine is dark, you may be overdoing it.
Simply reduce the amount of protein you’re eating, perhaps switch to more vegetarian sources that are less acidifying, drink more water and eat protein alongside lots of extra green vegetables to reduce the impact.
* TIP: Drink a small glass of water with a teaspoon of Organic Burst Wheatgrass Powder to help alkalise your body and add fibre after eating a protein-heavy meal.
Start with a few small changes to your breakfasts and snacks and notice the difference today!
LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK
What's your protein protocol?! We'd love to hear how you have benefitted from the tips below!