“I think by this stage almost everyone knows that they ‘need’ protein. And while most of us know that we do need to be eating ‘enough’ protein, less know how much ‘enough,’ is and why it’s important,” says naturopath, and one of the formulators of the NuZest Clean Lean Protein, Cliff Harvey.
We sat down and asked him a few questions about protein, why it is important to our body’s natural function and how much of it we should be having.
So what is protein?
‘Protein’ is the name given to groupings of amino acids that make up, quite simply, the building block of most of the structures in the body. Protein is broken down to these amino acids which are then used to create enzymes, muscle tissue, bone matrix and many other structural components of the body.
Why do we need it?
All cells in the body require protein. It helps us to become and remain lean too. Protein has a higher ‘thermic effect of feeding’ (TEF) rating than either carbohydrates or fat. This means that when a higher proportion of your diet is protein your metabolic rate (and consequently fat loss) is going to be higher. Optimal protein intake allows us to maintain a higher lean body mass that helps to achieve a fit body without the bulk and improve metabolic rate to help decrease fat stores.
Protein is also important for keeping mental fatigue at bay and the improve alertness and focus as well as providing the matrix for good bone and connective tissue.
How much should we be having?
The recommended daily intake (RDA) for protein is based on the activity level of sedentary (little or no exercise) individuals. It is approximately 0.8 grams per kilo of bodyweight. So for a 50 kilo individual the recommended intake is 40 grams, for a 60 kilo person 48 grams, a 70 kilo person 56 grams and so on.
But, Harvey argues, the RDA advice is based on baseline health targets and not on the optimal amounts we need in order to thrive. Research has shown that 1.5 grams per kilo of bodyweight were insufficient when exercise was undertaken. Tour de France athletes, for example, were only able to maintain balance at 1.8kg per day.
Most people would do well to get the RDA level but overall protein intake should be more than that, especially if they are exercising regularly.
What foods can boost our protein?
- Sprouted lentils, chick peas or mung beans
- Nuts or seeds (almonds, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds)
- Tempeh or other fermented protein foods.
- NuZest’s Clean Lean Protein (One 25g serve provides 22g of high quality protein). Click here to visit or for more informtaion www.nuzest.com.au
Here are 4 quick and easy recipes, using NuZest’s Clean Lean Protein, to include in your post-workout cooking repertoire:
Banana Berry Smoothie
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup plain, low-fat yoghurt
1/2 small, peeled ripe banana
1/4 cup stemmed, sliced strawberries
30g vanilla Clean Lean Protein powder
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth.
Chocolate Protein Pudding
1 cup frozen berries of your choice
1/2 cup soaked, almonds
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
6 Tablespoons Chocolate Clean Lean Protein
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
A pinch of salt
Blend everything together until smooth. Add spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom etc) to taste and as desired.
Black Bean & Spinach Burgers
1 can rinsed black beans
2 baby peppers (1/2 cup chopped)
1/5 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 packed cup baby spinach
2/3 cup of oats
1/2 cup or more of Clean Lean Protein Just Natural
Whiz black beans, pepper, onion, soy sauce, and spinach in a blender. The mixture shouldn’t be completely smooth but still retain a few small chunks. Combine the oats and protein and hand mix (with your hands!) through the mixture. Form into patties. Pan fry in a little oil or brush with oil and bake at 180 degrees celsius for approx 15-20min.
Citrus Protein Pancakes
2 scoops Clean Lean Protein Smooth Vanilla
3/4 cup self-raising flour
3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp coconut or raw sugar
grated rind of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp vanilla powder or extract
coconut oil (for frying)
Add all dry ingredients to a bowl and stir to evenly distribute
Add milk and egg in to the bowl and whisk everything until just combined and smooth. Mixture will be thick, but should easily drop from a spoon. If not, add a little more milk.
Heat a non-stick pan to medium high with a little coconut oil. Drop large spoonfuls of mixture into a pan.
Cook on one side until bubbles form on the surface of the pancake, then turn and cook the other side for about 1-2 minutes. Spray a little coconut oil on the pan between each pancake batch.
Serve with wedges of lemon and coconut sugar, or drizzled with maple syrup. Makes about 6 large pancakes