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Protein & The Reboot – Setting The Record Straight

Have you wondered, “Will I get enough protein during my Reboot?” Have friends, family, trainers, and others shared their concerns with your plans to juice, “But you won’t be getting enough protein!!!” Feeling confused or worried? Think this whole protein issue is being blown out of proportion?

Let’s set the record straight.

What is protein?
Protein is an important nutrient, made up of individual “building blocks,” known as amino acids. There are 9 essential amino acids, meaning that we must get these nutrients from food, our bodies can not construct them out of other nutrients in our diet. Animal sources of protein contain all 9 of these essential amino acids and are called “complete” proteins. Many vegetables have some but not all 9 amino acids and are called, “incomplete” proteins. There are, however, many excellent plant-based foods that are complete proteins.

The scientific belief used to be that incomplete proteins had to be combined and eaten at the same meal to create a complete protein – like beans and rice. Science has debunked this rigid notion, making vegetarian meal planning much simpler. The goal is to consume a wide variety of plants day to day to naturally match up incomplete proteins over the course of a few days, to create complete proteins. This will provide all the necessary building blocks in a timely fashion for the body to work with.

Why is protein important?
Proteins play many important roles to keep us well.

Here are a few examples:
– Hunger and fullness regulation
– Maintaining and building muscle mass
– Fluid balance
– Regulating blood sugar
– Helping reduce reflux

They are also the building blocks for creating:
– Immune factors
– Enzymes
– Hormones
– Skin, hair, nails and other connective tissues
– Transports for absorbing and distributing other nutrients

How much protein do I need to eat?
The amount of protein needed to maintain optimal health is different for everyone and can even be different for the same person at different times depending on the situation or context. There is also a range of protein that is best, not an absolute number. In our “meat ‘n potatoes” focused society, the average American consumes far more protein than is required for health. Yet, inadequate protein intake is risky and can lead to many complications including severe malnutrition (think of the swollen bellies in starving children) or an increased likelihood for catching a virus. You may find many methods for calculating protein needs online or in books, but to know your numbers it is best to ask a qualified professional.

Which plant-based foods have the most protein?
Examples of plant based complete proteins include: amaranth, buckwheat, chia seeds, hemp seed, quinoa, soybeans, spirulina.
Examples of high protein Reboot-friendly plants include: kale and other dark green leafys, broccoli, celery, corn, and avocado.

Will I get enough protein during my Reboot?
Clinically speaking, it is highly unlikely a healthy person will develop a protein deficiency in the time frame of the posted Reboot programs (5-15 days).

Green juices in particular are rather rich in protein, making them a cornerstone of any Reboot program. The amount of vegetables eaten during the Reboot for those who are eating + juicing, helps bump up the amount of protein an individual will consume in a day during their program.

Can I add protein powders during a Reboot?
If you feel you need more protein it is OK to include protein rich additives in your juice, as desired. It may not be necessary, but the Reboot is meant to be deeply personal and we support everyone’s choices when it comes to creating what works best.

Examples of situations where you may wish to add more protein to your juices include:
-Frequent or intense exercise
-Diabetes, pre-diabetes, insulin resistance, PCOS or other blood sugar regulation needs
-Hunger control issues that persist well into the Reboot, after increasing the amounts of juice and water consumed

Ideas for Reboot friendly additives to juice
-Chia seeds
-Hemp seed powder
-Ground flax seeds
-Pea protein powder

I’m concerned about losing muscle mass during my Reboot.
Consuming protein rich vegetables and juices can help to maintain muscle mass while you are Rebooting. Walking and doing light weights can also help to preserve muscle mass. Juice and plant foods provide a big boost of nutrient dense meals and snacks so that overall nourishment is generally maintained during your Reboot. Not everyone loses a lot of muscle, even with a large amount of body weight lost during their Reboot. For example, Joe’s 100 pound weight loss during his 60 day reboot we saw in Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, was 70% body fat and 30% muscle.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this hot topic!

Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN; Reboot Nutritionist

Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN; Reboot Nutritionist

Stacy is the nutritionist for Reboot with Joe. She is a Senior Clinical Nutritionist at Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. She also writes for online health and nutrition sites and works in private practice with her husband Dr. Russell Kennedy, Stacy opened Stacy's Juice Bar in Needham, MA with Stacy Madison, founder of Stacy's Pita Chip company, Stacy is a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor through the American College of Sports Medicine. Stacy received a Bachelor’s of Science in Dietetics from Indiana University, completed her Dietetic Internship at Massachusetts General Hospital and earned a Masters in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She currently resides in Wellesley where she loves cooking healthy, juicing, hiking, practicing yoga and spending time with her husband, two sons, three dogs and friends.

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