Are you concerned about having enough protein?
Many of the women I talk too, always ask me, “But Laure what about protein?” Or “Will I get enough protein if I eat less meat?”
It’s a legitimate question! Especially since we’ve been told that we need protein to have strong muscles, energy, etc.
But as you’re guessing right now, this is not entirely true!
Yes, our body needs protein, protein builds tissue. But it also needs carbohydrates, and healthy fats, all that which it’s designed to digest.
AND, it uses all 3 to yield the necessary chemical energy our cells need to function.
Myth # 1: We need protein to have strong muscles
Fats or fatty acids are the main source of energy for our skeletal muscles when they’re at rest or during mild-intensity exercise. However, during more intense activity skeletal muscle uses glucose for energy. Our muscles need glucose to work. Specifically glucose that is converted from carbohydrates!
We need to use our muscles in order to get stronger. Protein may build muscles, but glucose fuel our muscles. And the more we can use them, the stronger they become!
Myth # 2: Animal protein is a better kind of protein
Amino acids which are the end-product of protein are important. Our bodies can synthesize its own amino acids except for a few which are derived from food. Therefore, they’re called essential amino acids. Some people say that the best source of essential amino acids is animal protein.
However, animal protein according to Ayurveda doesn’t build a good quality tissue. That’s because it’s more difficult to digest. As a result, undigested animal protein particles become toxins or Ama.
From a western point of view, eating too much animal protein has been linked to high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Read here 7 reasons why you should eat less meat.
The truth is most plant foods contain the essential amino acids in varying amounts.
Plant foods like lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, almonds, spirulina, etc. When you’re not eating animal foods, the key is to eat a variety of plant foods to make sure we get enough of all 9 essential amino acids.
For example, legumes are low in sulfur-containing amino acids such as methionine, but they are high in another amino acid called lysine. On the other hand, grains are high in methionine but low in lysine. So if we eat both during the course of the day, we can get all the essential amino acids our body needs.
Myth # 3: We need lean protein to lose weight
According to Ayurveda, protein sources, whether animal or plant build tissue. Weight gain is an excess of tissue. When we want to lose weight, we want to have less of tissue building foods like protein and more of tissue-decreasing foods like vegetables.
We also want to improve our digestion and our elimination. Large amounts of protein lean or otherwise have a tendency to be difficult to digest AND as a result they create waste. By eating less protein and more vegetables, well-cooked and well spiced, we improve digestion. We also provide much needed fiber and moisture to support our colon’s function and eliminate better.