By Dr. Michael Cerami
I thought I would share some information on nutrition today. Getting enough protein in your diet is a significant part to eating healthy and the older we get, the more important it becomes. There are many opinions on how much protein you need, so please just use this article as a reference because everyone really needs to fine tune their intake for their specific lifestyle. Today we’ll discuss my protein needs, which will give you an outline to start from.
When I tell people I’m a vegetarian, the next words out of their mouth is almost always, “Where do you get your protein from?”. Great question, but first let’s discuss how much protein you need. General guidelines tell us that for sedentary lifestyle, you can take your body weight and multiply it by 0.36 per pound to get the number of grams per day you should consume. It you moderately active (60-120 minutes per week of vigorous exercise), that multiplier changes to 0.60 grams per pound. Since I’m vey active these days (10-15 hours per week Ironman training), I calculate 0.70 grams per pound of protein per day. For me that works out like this: 170 lbs. x 0.70 grams per pound = 119 grams of protein per day.
Now we can get to answering the second part of the question; where do I get that protein? Here’s my general breakdown:
• 3 eggs: 6+ grams each 19 grams
• 10 Perfect Amino caps 10 grams
• 1 protein power bar 20 grams
• ½ cup tempeh 16 grams
• 1oz. hemp seeds 10 grams
• 1 oz Gouda cheese 7 grams
• 100 grams Quorn meat substitute 14 grams
• 1 oz. pumpkin seeds 7 grams
• 1 cup broccoli 5 grams
TOTAL 108 grams/day
These items vary day to day and I get any remaining protein through other foods, so I’m probably a bit over what’s needed. Yes, being a vegetarian makes it a little more difficult, but far from impossible. Here’s a link to other non-meat protein sources from the No-Meat Athlete. Link here.
As we age, we lose 1-2 % of our lean muscle mass per year. That’s why it’s so important to do not just weight training but strength training as we age. One more important fact: There’s a huge difference in the best forms of protein to consume. Here’s an article by Dr. Frank Shallenberg which discusses the best sources of protein. Link here.
We carry a product called Perfect Amino as a protein supplement. Its 98% absorbable within 22 minutes. This is significant because even the best whey proteins can take at least 90 minutes and can be as low as 17% absorbable. Perfect Amino shouldn’t be your primary source of daily protein, but it can act as a significant pillar of your plan because of its effectiveness.
Please take a few minutes and calculate your protein needs. There is plenty of information online to help you and we also have a nutritionist who works with us that can help you determine not only your protein needs but your daily calorie needs through a simple 30 minute metabolic test.