I’ve been getting a lot of questions about foods high in protein (protein rich foods), and what types of protein to eat. Many of you have been asking about good sources of protein; some of you are vegetarian, some of you are vegan, others paleo and others a mix of everything. So today we’re not putting a label on anything, we’re just simply chatting about protein.

Protein is SO important for our lifestyles; it helps with your digestion, hormones, immune system, tissue and muscle building and much more. Something you may not know is that every single one of our cells has protein in it!

It wasn’t until I started working with Integrative MD’s that I heard the word ‘Amino Acids’ and I’m sure many of you haven’t even heard of this before…so today we’re going to chat about it because amino acids are the building blocks of protein. It’s SO important to make sure you are getting amino acids in the food you are eating (especially if you are vegan/vegetarian because many of the foods you eat don’t have amino acids in them). It’s important to eat a variety of these amino acids every day to make sure your body is healthy and working properly!

What are the amino acids in protein?

There are three types of amino acids:

  • CONDITIONAL AMINO ACIDS: tyrosine // serine // proline // ornithine // gycine // glutamine // cysteine // arginine
  • NON-ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS: glutamic acid // aspartic acid // asparagine // alanine
  • ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS: valine // tryptophan // threonine // phenylalanine // methionine // lysine // eucine // isoleucine // histidine

Now, everyone likes different types of protein and everyone’s body digests protein differently. You may do great with eating beans while they bother your mother or you could love eating salmon while your sister can’t digest it and gets a stomach ache. Make sense? That’s why it’s so important to eat what works for you and your body without listening to what everyone else is eating. Some people need digestive enzymes and HCL (acid) to help digest proteins; I take both of these supplements when I eat to help build my digestive juices and break down the proteins so I can absorb, assimilate and digest them. If you are having bloating or indigestion or constipation when you eat certain proteins, you can talk to your Integrative MD about taking digestive enzymes and/or HCL. If you do not have enough stomach acid in your stomach you’ll find bloating and other stomach issues will occur, therefore supplementing with acid can be helpful. Moreover, I’ve had great results with myself, my family and my clients who use apple cider vinegar, and the enzyme bromelain which is found in papaya and pineapple when they eat! You can take a shot of apple cider vinegar or eat pineapple or papaya with your food for help with digestion. There are also papaya and pineapple enzymes in health food stores that you can purchase to take when you eat.

No matter what you decide to eat, make sure it is as close to the natural source as possible with no additives. I personally stopped eating protein powder (other than hemp protein because it’s only one ingredient) because other protein powders are filled with chemicals and are usually rice based, which makes them high in arsenic. If you do eat protein powders, I suggest organic and Non-GMO protein powder and only using hemp because it’s the cleanest and only has one ingredient.

What are some vegetarian foods that contain protein?

Here are a few great protein sources to fuel your day.

  • Hemp seeds
  • Raw pumpkin seeds
  • Cooked lentils
  • Organic poultry
  • Wild salmon
  • Organic grass-fed lamb
  • Organic grass-fed bison
  • Organic eggs
  • Raw almonds
  • Raw walnuts
  • Ground flaxseeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Almond butter
  • Cooked black beans
  • Cooked amaranth
  • Cooked forbidden rice
  • Cooked quinoa
  • Green peas
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet potato
  • Spirulina
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Hummus


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  1. I think you’ve misspelled “glycine” as “gycine” in your list of “Conditional amino acids”.

  2. Thanks for not only giving a list, but also some info and explanation to go with it. I think understanding how/why things work makes it easier to stick with eating them.