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Plant vs Animal Protein: The Great Debate!

Stay tuned folks this will be a juicy topic!

Protein is a macronutrient found in both animal and plant-based foods. It facilitates several important functions in the body: muscle and tissue repair, hormone regulation, and enzymatic processes. Protein needs vary depending on your activity level, body size and age. I generally suggest 1 g per pound of ideal body weight per person with a max of 150g for most women and 200g for men (which may mean less than 1g per ideal body weight for some).

Plant and Animal based protein sources having varying amounts of amino acids, making some protein sources complete and others incomplete. A protein is considered complete when it contains all 9 amino acids. If any are missing its deemed incomplete. Animal proteins are all complete. Plants are all incomplete, with the exception of soy. So, a complete protein would be beef, chicken, eggs, fish, pork, soy. Incomplete would be tempeh, beans, nuts, seeds, and peas. Highest protein foods are animal based.

Here's a list per 3 ounce serving of some common proteins.

I always work with clients on choosing efficient (high) sources of protein so they can fit in other macronutrients like carbs and fat into their calorie profile without going overboard.

  • Beef 24 g

  • Chicken 25g

  • Pork 23g

  • Turkey 26g

  • Fish 22g

  • Eggs 6g per egg

  • Tempeh 18g

  • Almonds 6g per ounce serving

  • Black beans 14g per cup

  • Lentils 18g per cup cooked

  • Tofu 9g

  • Hemp seeds 9g per ounce

Diets rich in plant proteins are linked to many positive health benefits. Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease is one example. Aim to consume whole food containing meals featuring both plant and animal sources of protein. Avoid the processed alternatives like hot dogs, sausages, lunchmeat, and bean “patties”. Also, because of the percentage of GMO soy crops in the USA (98”%), I ONLY buy organic soy products if I choose to eat them. I usually stick with fermented organic form tofu and tempeh.

Its possible if you are vegan or vegetarian to obtain enough protein but it requires paying special attention to your diet. Certain prep techniques such as boiling, soaking, sprouting and fermenting can help increase digestibility of plant proteins.. I limit plant-based proteins for those with gut disorders, they often prove to be problematic. Also, you don’t need to combine incomplete proteins in each meal-just focus on getting enough grams through the day.


Early research many years ago had demonstrated that the consumption of red meat was associated with increased mortality. However more recent research points to a much different conclusion. According to the 2020 meta-analysis research, animal protein is NOT associated with increased risk of heart disease, cancer, or overall mortality. Many studies fail to take into consideration lifestyle factors, physical activity, weight management, or tobacco or alcohol use. Much livestock these days are fed grains and raised in industrial feed lots instead of nutrient rich pastures☹. Feedlot meat you buy from the store is significantly inferior to grass fed organic farm direct meat. To find where to buy meat check out my resources HERE. Meat from grass fed pastures contains a higher amount of heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids which contributes to decreased inflammation in the entire body.

  • Avoid processed deep fried meats

  • Choose certified organic where you can

  • Look for grass fed and finished

  • Look for unprocessed nitrate free products

  • Purchase locally raised meat and poultry from farms or markets

  • The EWG consumer guide to seafood for sustainable seafood options is a good resource, find it HERE.

Protein quality is determined by amino acid composition and digestibility. The presence of anti-nutrients like tannins, phytates, or lectins will reduce the protein’s digestibility. Individual factors exist like how you absorb protein, your gut microbiome, and the amount of stomach acid you produce. We assess the proteins biological value-the measure of how well the body utilizes a foods protein ie the percentage of protein from the food absorbed by the gut. The higher score the better. There are additional measures which are too complex for today’s overview that I wont go into here. Here are the utilization/digestibility scores of some of the proteins I discussed earlier:

  • Pork: 117

  • Chicken: 111

  • Turkey: 108

  • Eggs: 101

  • Fish: 100

  • Beef: 97

  • Tofu and Tempeh: 91

  • Lentils: 58

  • Hemp seeds:54

  • Beans: 49

  • Almonds: 40

In summary, fill your plate with whole food high quality sources of protein from both plant and animal sources and you will do great! If you prioritize protein, you will be full! Add to your plate some veggies or fruit and there won’t be much left for anything else!

If you are having difficulty meeting your protein needs, check out my favorite protein powder highlighted below! Most people use vanilla, but there is also chocolate and unflavored. I have samples in my office if you like as well! Use my fullscript discount to order - you do not need to be a coaching client


** Fill out a discovery form HERE and after we chat, you will have a chance for a free organic pasture raised beef roast valued at about 15.00!

Keep Moving Forward 😊 Sarah

Supplement of the Month

Vitamin D Full Script

Protein is necessary for a healthy immune system and required for organs like your heart, brain, and skin to function properly. The nutrient is also touted for its ability to help control appetite and enhance muscle growth. How much protein you need typically depends on your exercise routine, age, and health. And whether to supplement protein intake with a protein powder has become a common query.

PurePaleo™ Protein is a novel, great-tasting, dairy-free protein powder, yielding 26 g of protein per serving. It contains HydroBEEF™, a highly concentrated, pure beef protein, produced through an exclusive proprietary process that allows the protein to be hydrolyzed into more peptides, resulting in easier absorption and assimilation. This product contains beef from animals raised in Sweden without hormones or antibiotics, and is free of any GMO grains, grasses, and/or ensilage.

PurePaleo™ is an ideal protein for those who:

  • want a true Paleo protein source

  • want the power of beef to build muscle, cartilage & ligaments

  • are dairy sensitive

Get Discount Quality Supplements by joining my Fullscript, get info HERE.

To purchase Protein Powder on Fullscripit click HERE.

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