Protein is a macronutrient—needed in large amounts—that literally holds the structure of our bodies together: cells, tissues, muscles, organs, bones etc. The enzymes that initiate the multitude of chemical reactions in the body are proteins. Then there are proteins that transport nutrients and build lean muscle; essentially protein is a key factor in overall growth of the body.
Vegetarians are familiar with the challenges of getting enough protein in their diet, given that they do not eat meat. Those challenges relate to the variations of beliefs about whether a totally plant-based diet gives you complete protein.
A Thoughtful Blast from the Past
Back in 1854, Henry David Thoreau’s most famous book was published, Walden, in which he makes an interesting observation for vegetarians. “One farmer says to me, ‘You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make bones with;’ and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying his system with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle.”
When you think of the power of oxen, or horses for that matter from which the measurement of horse power arose, you are aware that these strong creatures eat no meat. Make no bones about it, eating nothing but plants can create a healthy body made of strong bones and muscle.
Present Protein Thoughts
Jumping ahead over a century and a half later from Thoreau’s printed words to the present day onslaught of words on the internet is corroboration in an article from the American Heart Association’s online journal, Circulation, “Plant Foods Have a Complete Amino Acid Composition”, which confirms Henry’s apt observations on “vegetable-made bones” of the farmer’s oxen. A vegetarian diet gives a person, not just oxen or horses, the nutrients required for good health, including protein.
Protein Building Blocks
To make all of the different types of protein, your body requires 21 different amino acids, 9 of which are essential. Just like the omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acids your body cannot produce them, these 9 amino acids—histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine—are an essential part of your dietary intake. AIM ProPeas is vegan pea protein, providing all 9 essential amino acids and more. But first:
As per the AHA’s article on a plant-based diet providing all the amino acids you need, it is important to end the myth that a vegetarian diet is not enough: “The reason it is important to correct this misinformation is that many people are afraid to follow healthful, pure vegetarian diets—they worry about “incomplete proteins” from plant sources. A vegetarian diet based on any single one or combination of these unprocessed starches (eg, rice, corn, potatoes, beans), with the addition of vegetables and fruits, supplies all the protein, amino acids, essential fats, minerals, and vitamins (with the exception of vitamin B12) necessary for excellent health.”
AIM ProPeas pea protein
Not only does ProPeas provide the 9 essential amino acids, it also delivers essential branch-chain amino acids (BCAAs), such as valine, isoleucine and leucine, which stimulate protein synthesis in the muscles. Leucine is also vital for metabolism and weight loss. So to supplement your protein intake with a plant-based source, ProPeas is an ideal choice, helping to build lean muscle and manage weight.
How much Is Enough?
The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. If you weigh 150 pounds (68 kilograms), you need nearly 55 grams daily. Supplemental protein from ProPeas gives you 12 grams of healthy vegetable protein per 16 gram serving.
The truth is that most people, possibly seniors with small appetites excepted, get enough protein. Big meat eaters get more than enough, including the other things you may ingest in animal protein: saturated fat and cholesterol and perhaps added hormones and antibiotics (and the unhealthy side effects that can result).
Choosing the source of your protein intake is another step in being your own health care practitioner. And the evidence shows that the more plant-based your food is, the healthier it is for you. And that includes protein from plants no less.
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