There are 3 ways to take in calories and they are called macro-nutrients, also know as Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Fats and they all serve a different purpose and we need all three at each meal to create a healthy, balanced diet.
Most people are familiar with the protein from animal sources; however, if you choose a vegetarian diet, you’ll have to seek out other creative ways of getting in your protein, see the end of this article for suggestions.
Animal protein breaks down into amino acid building blocks that help repair body cells. It is an essential part of our diet by building and repairing our entire bodies starting with our bones, skin, blood cells, nails and hair, not to mention enzymes, muscles, hormones, and the brain.
When we don’t take in sufficient amount of proteins it can weaken the immune system as well as loosing valuable muscle and bone mass, which causes the body to “cannibalize” itself in an effort to have the raw materials it needs to create new enzymes and maintain its immunity. An average person taking in 3 to 6 ounces of protein per meal is sufficient, (about the size of the your palm). Eating protein gives us energy and helps us stay slim. Protein also causes the body to release an important fat burning hormone called “glucagon” that allows the body to use stored energy, fat instead of muscle.
Good sources of protein are fish, chicken, turkey and lean meat like buffalo, eggs, nuts and cheese.
Vegetarians can get their protein from soy products, tufo, tempeh, miso, nuts & legumes, to name a few.
Please see my posts on Fats and Carbohydrates in the nutritional information category. Here’s to your health!