Protein 101: How much do you need?

"Madelyn Fernstrom of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center offers a basic lesson in proteins."  

I grew up in the south and was raised with the notion that "protein" meant meat.  Maybe fish could slide as a protein depending on how you ate it... Now that I live in the Northwest, more specifically Portland, Oregon I see things very differently now.  Most all restaurants have vegan options.  Many of my friends, and now my roommate is raw vegan.  I knew the same as a diet that includes meat can be unhealthy, vegan diets can be just as unhealthy.  Now being a part of ecomerge, I've done more research into the subject to find out how much we need and where to get it from.  

I've read several articles and watched a few videos, but one that really stood out for me was on MSNBC, when Madelyn Fernstrom did a quick breakdown.  The following information is what I learned from her visit to the news channel.  

The easiest way to figure out how much protein in grams you should consume each day is by taking  half your body weight and subtracting it by ten.  As an example, I weigh 180 lbs.  Half of that is 90 pounds.  Then subtracting 10 leaves me with a necessary 80 grams of protein a day.  

Unless you suffer from liver or kidney disease you cannot consume too much protein, but you want to keep in mind that some proteins can contain fats and other unhealthy components that can be bad for you in higher amounts.  

Finally, the most interesting thing that I learned, was while items like soy are a good protein replacement and actually have more protein than meat, it is not considered a "complete" protein.  There is a difference between complete and incomplete proteins.  While all meats are complete proteins, which is what the body needs to stay healthy, vegan proteins are incomplete and do not contain all of the amino acids that the body needs and should be taken in combination with other vegan proteins that will complete them.  

Here is a chart from SAVVYVEGETARIAN that will help complete your proteins.

And here is a link to MSNBC if you would like to watch Madelyn Fernstrom discuss protein intake.