What about PROTEIN?

Ahh...the quintessential question.  If I'm not eating meat anymore - the primary source of my protein - where will I get it?  What will happen to my muscle tone?  How much protein do I need anyway?  Oh, oh...I'm beginning to panic!

Never fear, Veggie Rebel is here!  And I have some easy answers for you.  When I say easy, I mean SIMPLE.  At this stage of my 'journey', I've not yet flipped head over heels for tofu, have barely opened the door to the "false misrepresentation foods", i.e. veggie hot dogs, burgers, chicken nuggets...etc.  I just don't eat meat.  That's all.  So lets talk protein.

How much protein?
Anywhere from 50 to 100g, depending on your age, weight and activity level.  The easy formula is:  [your weight x .37].  A 150 lb. person should eat 55 grams of protein a day. A 200 lb. person, 74 grams.  And so on.

What happens if I don’t eat enough protein?
Unlike fat and glucose, our body has little capacity to store protein. If we were to stop eating protein, our body would start to break down muscle for its needs within a day or so.
Where can I get protein?
Generally speaking, eggs, dairy products, legumes (beans), and nuts all contain significant amounts of proteins.  My personal favorite sources are Odwalla Chocolate Protein drinks and Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai Protein drink, along with Odwalla protein bars, raw almonds, cheese and avocado (chocolate layer cake, regrettably, is NOT a significant source of protein).  Here's a list of some common high-protein foods:
Eggs and Dairy
•Egg, large - 6 grams protein
•Milk, 1 cup - 8 grams
•Cottage cheese, ½ cup - 15 grams
•Yogurt, 1 cup – usually 8-12 grams, check label
•Soft cheeses (Mozzarella, Brie, Camembert) – 6 grams per oz
•Medium cheeses (Cheddar, Swiss) – 7 or 8 grams per oz
•Hard cheeses (Parmesan) – 10 grams per oz

Beans (including soy)
•Tofu, ½ cup 20 grams protein
•Tofu, 1 oz, 2.3 grams
•Soy milk, 1 cup - 6 -10 grams
•Most beans (black, pinto, lentils, etc) about 7-10 grams protein per half cup of cooked beans
•Soy beans, ½ cup cooked – 14 grams protein
•Split peas, ½ cup cooked – 8 grams

Nuts and Seeds
•Peanut butter, 2 Tablespoons - 8 grams protein
•Almonds, ¼ cup – 8 grams
•Peanuts, ¼ cup – 9 grams
•Cashews, ¼ cup – 5 grams
•Pecans, ¼ cup – 2.5 grams
•Sunflower seeds, ¼ cup – 6 grams
•Pumpkin seeds, ¼ cup – 8 grams
•Flax seeds – ¼ cup – 8 grams

And here's a final tip to those of you who are anal to the extreme, must know minute details and be in control:  use Calorie Count Plus to track all your nutrition.  I've actually used this site for a long time, being the person described above.  Its very simple to create an account and the gist is, you enter in everything you eat during the day.  You are provided with an on-going daily computation of how much protein, carbs, fat, calories, etc. you have consumed - and it helps you to know what you actually need.  Makes dinner planning interesting, lol.  You even get a grade (A-F) on how nutritiously you are eating!  CAUTION:  this site is intended for dorky, loser weirdos...such as myself.  Just kidding - but really, it's very interesting and becomes kind of a challenge to get an "A" everyday!

Feel free to email me any questions - I may not know the answers, but I'll look 'em up!