Because it’s such a basic nutritional need we have a hunger for it. That is, higher protein meals tend to be more satisfying. A diet too low in protein can cause cravings for less nutritious food and leads to depletion over time because we don’t have a protein reserve apart from muscle and organ tissue. Yet protein does get recycled to join the amino acid pool and the finer tuned our health and digestion are the less we need to eat. Interestingly this fine tuning actually shifts our metabolic balance creating an amazingly healthy dynamic, a re-balancing from physical wellness right through to emotional harmonies.
How much do we need?
Some feel they need large amounts, like body builders buying plastic tubs of it (covered in pictures of inspiring muscular bodies and a long list of ingredients with an incredible cost per gram of pure protein!). Others don’t worry about it at all, like vegetarians and vegans who feel that all foods have protein anyway and they’ll get enough.
Use the protein counting guide to calculate how much is recommended for a person of your bodyweight and activity level. This is the absolute upper level; most people will be adequately nourished with around 75% of this.
Calculate how much you’re eating now. Compare the recommended amounts to your actual intake. If you’re eating more it should be reduced.
If you’re eating less consider slowly increasing toward three quarters of the recommended amount. You’ll probably feel a lift in vitality. Increase slowly because it may be challenging; you may not have the appetite for it, you may need digestive support and there’s the cost, re-adjustment to meal size and meal preparation. Be closely aware of your feelings, go gently.
We’re caught in the human dilemma that we have to kill something to eat (even if it’s a plant). There are huge problems with our food supply, especially of protein, most meat production is now industrialized. Meat has a great range of amino acids but the energy is dead and cooking degrades protein. Yet many of us have difficulty digesting vegetarian protein and its protein content is low; in total and in proportion to carbohydrate.
There’s no easy solution to this dilemma. Yet protein remains a key nutritional need and an anchor point for balancing a diet to suit your metabolism. Try to make the best moral and nutritional choices, stay aware of your feelings and use the guidelines here to fine tune the macro-nutrients in your diet.
The correct amount is important, day by day. Click here for the protein counting chart