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Wellness Wednesday: Protein Percentages

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Many people think that going on a plant-based diet won’t give them enough protein.  No one wants to be skinny and weak, so that’s a good reason to keep eating meat products.  But, how much is enough protein?  If you look up the nutrition facts online of a few popular plant-based foods, you may find the following percentages of calories derived from protein…

  • Kale – 35% of calories from protein
  • Spinach – 40% of calories from protein
  • Brussel Sprouts – 25% of calories from protein
  • Broccoli – 33% of calories from protein
  • String Beans – 22% of calories from protein

Notice in that list percentages are used, not amount.  That’s significant because most of the time when we have discussions about protein we talk about amounts.  That leads to a big problem when discussing your food sources and where you get your energy from.  When we desire “more” protein we disrupt the ratios.

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Let’s assume that you want 33% of your calories from fats, carbohydrates and protein (just for illustrative purposes) for optimal health.  If we add more protein to your diet, that would decrease the amount of carbohydrates and fats.  That obviously would throw your percentages off, which is exactly what we do in this country.  In turn, that could lead to disease, which is exactly what we see in this country.

Also, the source of protein is critical.  In The China Study, published in 2005, Dr. T. Colin Campbell believed that no more than 10% of calories should come from protein and the source should be mostly from plants.  Beyond that 10% of diseases began to manifest. 

Looking back at our previous list, it’s now easy to see that green veggies are high in protein.  The beauty of it is that you’ll probably never be “over-proteined” because it’s difficult to over-consume on a plant-based diet that is rich in fiber.  When you throw in fruits and other non-green veggies, your ratios seem to optimally balance out. 

It’s easy to see that a whole-food, plant-based eating regimen keeps you in balance so you can live a healthy life!

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