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Protein, aka. Your Most Important Macronutrient!

By Emilia London, CNP (pending)

Protein Intake

We all know we need it, and a lot of us are told we need to eat more of it, but what actually is protein? Why is it important? And how are some practical ways to increase it? Let’s talk about it!

What is protein?

Protein is made up of amino acids. Eleven of these amino acids can be made in the body and are called non-essential. The other nine amino acids are deemed essential because the body cannot make them so they must be taken in through food.

Why is protein so important to our health as women?

Eating adequate protein helps balance blood sugar levels, increases muscle mass, and helps your metabolism. It is also the building block for every cell and tissue in your body, including your muscles, organs, tendons, skin, hair and nails. Protein also plays a role in hormone health as well as immunity.

Did you know that eating protein helps boost your mood? When you eat protein your body releases dopamine and norepinephrine which help to enhance mental concentration and alertness.

Protein also helps with weight management as it not only makes you feel full longer, but also increased protein helps to build more muscle. More muscle means greater energy demands so your body burns more calories.

How can I increase my protein intake?

The best way to increase your protein intake is to work alongside a Holistic Nutritionist, who is trained and equipped to help you reach YOUR specific protein needs and demands for YOUR body. They can help provide specific numbers on how much protein to consume, as well as personalized meals and tips to help you reach those goals.

Having the support of a Nutritionist while on a vegan or vegetarian diet is especially important, as such diets require more attention to detail and strategizing to reach protein adequacy.

Here are some general tips and tricks to help you increase your protein:

1. A little tip I use is to always carry around a little bag of nuts in my bag and car, that way when I am in a pinch and need a snack I have a go-to that will satisfy me and prevent me from falling into the temptation of craving less healthier things!

2. Get your protein intake from whole-foods as much as possible! Here are some high-protein whole foods:

  • Eggs

  • Almonds

  • Chicken

  • Beef

  • Chickpeas

  • Fish

  • Brown Rice

  • Quinoa

3. Protein rich swaps:

  • chickpea pasta for regular pasta

  • natural peanut butter for kraft peanut butter

  • greek yogurt for regular yogurt or sour cream

  • roasted chickpeas for croutons

  • brown rice or quinoa for white rice

  • Sliced roasted chicken breast for processed luncheon meat

4. When making homemade soups, add in a cup of lentils for a protein boost!

5. Try to avoid microwaving protein foods as this can change their molecular structure and impact how digestible they are. Instead, try to bake, boil, roast, or pan-fry your protein foods!

Wanting to work with a Holistic Nutritionist to improve your protein intake for your health? Well you’re in luck! I am a Holistic Nutritionist Student here to help and would love to chat with you!

Click here to book your FREE 30-minute Discovery Call with me so we can chat about various options and what works best for you! It is a great way for us to explore this opportunity and answer any questions you may have about what I can do for you.


  1. Anita Bean. The Complete Guide to Sports Nutrition. 9th Ed. (2022).

  2. Hulsken, S., Märtin, A., Mohajeri, M., & Homberg, J. (2013). Food-derived serotonergic modulators: Effects on mood and cognition. Nutrition Research Reviews, 26(2), 223-234. doi:10.1017/S0954422413000164

  3. Zeng, Y. , Li, S. , Xiong, G. , Su, H. and Wan, J. (2011) Influences of protein to energy ratios in breakfast on mood, alertness and attention in the healthy undergraduate students. Health, 3, 383-393. doi: 10.4236/health.2011.36065.

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