How Much Is Enough Protein?

Many people, including nutritionist, still think that you cannot get enough protein without eating meat, fish, or chicken. But is this really true?  I don’t eat meat, I am in decent shape, my body is lean but not small.  I have good musculature and strong bones.  I walk/run 5 days a week, do yoga and lift weights at times.  I am always full of energy, don’t need too much sleep, unless it’s winter, then I hibernate. I am a over 80% raw and mostly Vegan.  Am I truly at a deficit if I am not eating animal flesh?   The question for me really is how much do “the experts” say we need, as apposed to how much we really need?  I  don’t have the answer, but if “the experts” are right, then I had better start eating MORE Spinach!

“The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has set the daily Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) of protein for males, 19 years old and older, at 56 grams and for females, 14 years old and older, at 46 grams.  Pregnant and lactating women require an additional 25 grams of protein per day for a total of 71 grams.  Though not proven, athletes who are doing strenuous aerobic exercises may need extra protein. If you’re doing regular, strenuous resistant or weight-lifting exercises, your body is actually producing more of its own protein so you don’t really need to be eating an extra amount.”

However, this is mostly disregarded as a standard because the theory is that you need a a certain amount of protein in direct relation to your body weight.  Of course this number varies depending on who you are talking too   The basic formula is the number of grams of protein you need is your body weight (in pounds) multiplied by 0.37.   So, if you weigh in at 170 pounds, you need to eat 63 grams of protein a day (170 x 0.37 = 62.9).  Here is a handy chart to help you get the gist of how to plan your next meal:

Body Weight Proteins (Grams)

  • 110            41
  • 120            44
  • 130            48
  • 140            52
  • 150            55
  • 160            59
  • 170            63
  • 180            67
  • 190            70
  • 200            74
  • 210            78
  • 220            81
  • 230            85
  • 240            89

But, what is a gram of protein and how do we measure that in pounds?

There are 454 grams in a pound.

The average cut of beef (T-Bone, Filet, Porterhouse, etc.) is about 25% protein.  So, if you require 70 grams of protein a day, a 10-ounce steak will take care of all of this. (454/16=28 x 10 = 280 x 0.25 = 70)  The fact is, anyone who eats meat, chicken or fish on a daily basis is probably getting enough protein when you add all the other sources and there are many.

A 10 ounce cut Top Sirloin has approximately 575 calories, 39.4grams of saturated fat, 191 mg of cholesterol, not to mention the addictive qualities, the difficulty in digesting, the inability to digest the proteins completely for lack of enzymatic activity, unless of course it is rare and all natural, then you may still have some live activity in the beef.  But our discussion is solely on Protein, so let’s focus!

Now, if you were to rely solely on spinach, which has 49 % bio-available protein,  you’d need to eat 12 cups of spinach to get your 70 gram requirement.  That would only be about 84 calories, no fat, with the added benefit of about 800mg of potassium. Many vegetables contain protein, but just eating a variety of them as your only source will probably not add up to the minimum requirement.  Add in some beans, lentils, nuts, and whole grains though, and things start adding up.  Here’s a list of protein rich foods not including meat, chicken or fish, I also excluded dairy products, to stay true to my discussion:

  • Food                            Serving Size        Amount Protein
  • Avocado                           1                                5 grams
  • Spirulina                         1 Tbsp                   10 grams
  • Soybeans                         1 cup cooked         29 grams
  • Shitake mushrooms      8 ounces                  5 grams
  • Sesame seeds                  1 ounce                     5 grams
  • Black beans                     1 cup                      15 grams
  • Lima beans                      1 cup                      14 grams
  • Lentils                               1 cup                      17 grams
  • Kidney beans                   1 cup                      15 grams
  • Pinto beans                      1 cup                      14 grams
  • Navy beans                      1 cup                      15 grams
  • Tempeh                            4 ounces                 20 grams
  • Tofu                                   4 ounces                   9 grams
  • Oats cooked                    1 cup                        6 grams
  • Tomato                              1                            1.5 grams
  • Pumpkin seeds               ¼ cup                     8.5 grams
  • Peanuts                            ¼ cup                    9.5 grams
  • Almonds                           ¼ cup                      7 grams
  • Kale                                    1 cup                       2.2 grams
  • Mustard greens               1 cup                        3 grams
  • Spinach                             1 cup                        5 grams
  • Romaine lettuce              2 cups                       2 grams
  • Mushrooms                     5 ounces                  4 grams
  • Asparagus                        1 cup                    4.5 grams
  • Broccoli                            1 cup                    4.5 grams
  • Swiss chard                      1 cup                       3 grams
  • Collard greens                 1 cup                       4 grams
  • Cauliflower                       1 cup                       2 grams
  • Brussel sprouts                1 cup                       4 grams
  • Miso                                   1 ounce                   4 grams
  • Turnip greens                  1 cup                    1.5 grams
  • Green beans                     1 cup                    2.5 grams
  • Cabbage                            1 cup                   1.5 grams
  • Squash                              1 cup                    1.5 grams
  • Garlic                               1 ounce                 1.5 grams

If you’re a vegan,or just getting Naked  it’s fairly easy to get enough protein listed on the chart above—2 cup spinach (Popeyes passion-12 grams), 1 cup lentils, tomato, avocado (Lentil tostadas in Get Naked Fast -26 grams), 1 quart green juice (18 grams), ¼ cup almonds (almond Milk-7 grams) 1 cup romaine lettuce, 1 oz sesame seeds (My Big fat greek Salad- Get Naked Fast-7 grams), and of course in these recipes are other sources of protein as well.

This being said,  it is all more complicated than you may think.  Protein is a complex molecule comprised of a combination of different amino acids, and not all proteins contain all of the amino acids.  Eight of these are refered to as “essential” because your body cannot manufacture them on its own.  The others are “nonessential” for the opposite reason. The menu that I have comprised above contains most if not all essential amino acids, based on the variety of vegetables, grains , seeds and nuts.  These plant-based proteins are bio-available for your body and easily digestible.

Now, we just ate a menu for a full grown man of 190 pounds, based on suggested protein- if the chart above feels accurate to you, modify for your body size.  Most important is quality of protein grams over quantity, for losing weight, maintaining healthy tissue, and keeping metabolism functioning at full potential.  If you are really interested in the most usable source of a complete protein, add fresh sprouts to every meal you eat.  Nothing promotes health and healing or contains more life force energy than fresh live sprouts!

And Bon appetite-  nothing tastes better than healthy food!


Blurb about today’s Guest Blogger:

Diana Stobo lives in Northern California with her husband and three children. She is a classically trained Cornell culinary artist and raw food advocate who healed herself through food. She teaches the raw food lifestyle in classes, retreats and live presentations on local television and in Whole Foods Markets. An inspirational and motivational speaker, Diana changes lives with her delicious and fully accessible recipes that make maintaining the raw lifestyle easy and fun to incorporate. You can find more information about Diana Stobo’s work, including recipes and more helpful tips about raw food, at


  1. pharmacy technician certificationJuly 22, 2010

    Great information! I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now. Thanks!

  2. jornJuly 22, 2010


    I looked and was amazed to see that quinoa was left off that very handy list above. Quinoa is yummy, makes for a great pasta/rice stand-in and is loaded with protein… like 12 – 18%! It gets bonus points for being a “complete protein” with all of the essential amino acids. 🙂

  3. forex robotJuly 24, 2010

    Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!

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