How much protein do I need.

enough protein

I was thinking about my protein intake because it’s important for all kinds of things like your skin, connective tissue, muscle building or maintenance, makes hormones and enzymes. As a ‘fish only eating’ vegetarian, I wondered… “if I don’t eat fish every day, would I still be eating enough?” How much protein do I need?

(Note – 2021 Update: I no longer eat tahini, nuts, chia seeds, protein powder, peanut butter and only very occasionally fresh salmon. This is because they are too high in polyunsaturated fats which cause all kinds of issues. Read more about what kinds of issues in this article.)

So I had a look at how much you are supposed to eat and apparently for the average woman it’s about 46g, so let’s say around about 50g* per day, ‘cos I’m more likely to remember a round number.

From the foods I eat, how much protein do they have…

1 serve salmon (100g) 20g
Small tin of tuna (95g) 17g
1 scoop vanilla protein powder 15g
¼ cup greek yogurt 12g
1 TBS gelatin 11g
¼ cup almonds 7g
1 TBS peanut butter 6g
¼ cup hard cheese 6g
1 egg 6g
A TBS tahini 4g
1 TBS raw cacao powder 4g
¼ cup walnuts 4g
¼ cup macadamias 3g
1 TBS chia seeds 3g

(for the meat eaters: here are a few stats: 100g chicken breast – 21g, 100g steak – 24g)

This was very interesting for me, just doing the exercise to see how much protein is in everything. I am surprised that even tahini and raw cacao powder have that much when chia seeds for example are touted as the high protein superfood. Peanut butter has more for goodness sake.

Anyway, so if I ate the following in a day:-

Day 1

Breakfast – 2 eggs – 12 g

Lunch – Tuna salad – 17g

Dinner – Salmon – 20g

Snack – 2 x chocolate tweets – 2g (guess)

Snack – ¼ cup almonds – 7g

Total: 58g

So that’s pretty good for this type of day, however I don’t eat salmon every day, maybe only once a week. Nor do I eat tuna every day, maybe only twice a week. So once you take out these high protein foods, it’s not looking so good…

Day 2

Breakfast – 2 eggs – 12 g

Lunch – Salad with cheese – 6g

Dinner – green vege curry – 5g

Snack – 2 x chocolate tweets – 2g (guess)

Snack – ¼ cup almonds – 7g

Total: 32g

So jeepers, way less than I am supposed to have and given that the fishy stuff is only on a few days a week, this means I am eating less than I should be more often than not. Eeek!

I put together a protein ‘milkshake’ for myself (recipe next week) for the non-fishy days to make sure I am boosting it enough. Too much protein and it causes all kinds of other kinds of complications like kidney problems, so you have to make sure its not too much, not too little and just right for your body and activity level. Just call me Goldilocks!

Add gelatin to your diet

Another easy way I have discovered to sneak in my protein is adding gelatin or protein powder or both into my hot chocolate in the morning. The gelatin you can’t taste at all and the protein powder makes it taste a little thicker but more like an easter egg! Can’t complain about that.

I expect to see more muscles and a collagen boost after this dietary tweak.

So how about you? Do you think you have too much or too little protein? From a health and weight loss point of view pretty important stuff.


Kristy x

Note 1: *I now follow the Dr Ray Peat style of eating and protein for women is a minimum of between 80-100g a day for optimal liver function. Under that amount and it can’t detox properly. The diet is detailed in my book the Zen Beach Diet which includes a 7 day meal plan and recipes.

Zen Beach Diet

Note2: Beautiful image by Adrian Alford Photography. Check out his website here and Youtube channel here.