My life changed when I stopped obsessing about protein. I didn't realise that I was doing it until I listened to Medical Medium talking about it. I realised that whenever I was planning a meal, my starting point was the protein. Roast chicken and vegetables. Fish and salad. Lentils and rice. Salad with nuts. Smoothie with almond butter. I would make sure there was protein on my plate and then add vegetables to make sure that I was adding all the healing antioxidants, mineral salts and glucose that come from them. I wasn't even thinking of fruit in this equation.
I then realised that Ayurveda does not focus on protein. In fact, Ayurveda specifically states that animal protein is very difficult for the body to digest, which is why a person needs a strong digestive fire to digest it.
I also learned that protein is very high in fat, so eating a lot of protein meant that I was eating a lot of fat. And I learned that my liver was working very very hard to process this fat, but, it was being overloaded. This was contributing to my blood being too thick, which meant that it was difficult for my body to receive those wonderful antioxidants, mineral salts and glucose.
Of course, I was terrified that I would fall over and die if I was not getting adequate protein with every meal, but I was so over being unwell that I gave it a try.
I started eating fruit before my breakfast, because I didn't actually consider fruit as real food. I thought of it as a snack or a filler. I thought that if I wasn't getting protein, I was not actually being fed.
A strange thing happened. I was full after eating my fruits. And I didn't need to have anything else for breakfast. By this stage, I understood that fruit has very few calories, so I knew that I had to have way more volume than I was used to having to give my body the goodness it needed. So I started to make myself a really big fruit smoothie for breakfast!
I then started tracking my macros. I noticed that there was protein in almost every plant that I was eating. On a day where I had fruit for breakfast and a salad for lunch, my protein was 12% of my daily calories at lunch time! And my fat was only 6%. This blew my mind, as, up until that point, I really believed that I could only get my protein from eating animal products, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds and tofu.
I decided to just let the idea of protein go and see what happened. I noticed that my body became more and more energised. And it started healing quicker and quicker. I couldn't believe how good I was feeling and I wasn't eating protein with every meal.
At this point in my life, I no longer focus on protein. I enjoy it if I feel like it, but I am conscious of the fat content and I feel much much better when I lower the fat in my diet.
My focus is now on plants. Lots and lots of plants. Specifically fruits, vegetables and leafy greens. If there is space for other things, I let them in and enjoy them. But I no longer obsess about getting my protein, and life is lighter and sweeter.
I learned two things:
I base my diet on plants, not protein. I receive all the antioxidants my body needs as it is receiving the life force from living food. If I feel I need some extra protein from animals or plants, I have it, but it is not my primary focus. Now protein is the filler, instead of the plants.
I need to eat a lot more volume than I am used to. I had been used to being filled up from way less food because protein is very calorie dense. If I am feeling like I am not getting enough from fruit and vegetables, I first look at the volume of food I have been eating, before declaring that I am deprived because my protein is too low.
I hope this helps you if have started eating more plants and are worried that you may be depriving your body of something it needs. Experiment and see how you feel, you may be as surprised as I was.