The nutrient that I call "The One" is a nutrient that so many people are concerned they may not be getting enough of, even though it's on every plate of food you eat!

It is a word that doesn't describe itself but covertly describes what it's made up of and it's level of relevance.

Yes, that macronutrient is called PROTEIN. It was discovered by a Dutch chemist in 1839 and coined from the Greek word proteios which means "of prime importance". Coined, cleverly I might add, with a positive connotation attached to it and having people seek it in a mildly addictive zombie-like fashion. Most of us who seek it on a daily don't even realize that every type of food contains it, we can't describe what it really is, let alone how much we truly need...but we NEED it!

I'm not a chemist but I've learned that protein is a nitrogen containing macronutrient made up of amino acid chains. They are composed of 20 or more amino acids linked in a genetically controlled sequence. All plant food that grows has an amino acid structure to it or it wouldn't even grow. For instance, every fruit I have ever looked up contains protein, and most of us have never used fruit and protein in the same sentence.

Proteins are components of all living cells which contain substances such as enzymes, hormones, and antibodies necessary for the functioning of an entire organism. Dietary protein is essential for growth, building muscle, and repair of tissue. Vegetable protein has all the amino acids we need without having to carefully combine them which is contrary to popular belief. Popular belief states that vegetable protein is predominately incomplete and plant based foods must be properly combined to be considered complete proteins for optimal biological utilization.

Studies in countries such as China, has shown that a modern protein diet where percentage of calories from protein was averaged around 9.5%, proved to be enough. To put that in perspective, the traditional unhealthy American diet has about 15% protein from calories There are several sources online that will recommend people to consume protein from 10% up to 35% of your total daily calories. That's actually a very large range considering that studies have been done where a negative mineral balance occurs at 19% and above, these minerals also include calcium.

A negative mineral balance happens when a high protein diet causes a loss in vital minerals. The continual leaching of calcium from the bones makes the bones weak and more susceptible to breaking. Eating too much protein also produces too much nitrogen in the body from converting protein to carbohydrates. Thickening and acidifying the blood, and damage to the kidneys also occur.

The recommended dietary amount for protein is multiplying your body weight by .36 and you will get your answer in grams. This calculation is more than adequate so the body's true requirement may be lower for a lot of people. The studies that I previously touched on, also further support that many people may require less.

If you only eat plant based foods, that being a variety of healthy fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes on a daily basis, you will very easily attain an adequate amount of protein. I recently experimented with my own fitness regimen to gain muscle mass on a 100% vegan, 75% raw (approx.) diet. I gained 15 pounds in 2 months and increased each bicep by 2 inches, while increasing definition at the same time.

I did not consume any isolated protein powders or even protein rich foods. Although I did not specifically count calories, I was mindful of increasing my caloric intake by eating larger meals and knowing what types of foods have a higher caloric value than others and I would then adjust accordingly.

If a deficiency of protein is a common reality, each one of us should know at least “someone” diagnosed with this condition. So far I haven’t met anyone yet. PROTEIN is all around you…right in front of you, and if you look down…zoom in closely, you WILL see it on every plate of food you eat.

You don’t have to laboriously look for something you already have an abundance of…you just have to know that it’s there.


Nelson Tynes

Raw Vegan Gourmet Chef/Personal Fitness Advocate

Living Gourmet produced by RAWkin' Juice

IG: @livinggourmet & @rawkin_juice