I'm pretty sure that everyone reading this knows that protein is essential to their overall health and well-being. But have you ever wondered exactly why that is the case? Long story short, protein is a macronutrient that is found in every part of our body because it's a part of every cell. Protein helps to build and repair tissues in our system while also being what helps to make enzymes, hormones, muscle bones and more. Our hair? It's mostly protein. Our nails? They are mostly protein too. Bottom line, there's basically no way we can function properly without protein being a part of our daily diet.
And what has a lot of protein in it? Meat, hands down. Yet what do you do if you happen to be a vegetarian or vegan because, as a woman, you need around 46 grams of protein a day (56 grams if you're a man)? Good question. Luckily, there are several non-animal-related foods that can get you the protein that your body craves without you having to betray your personal eating preferences. As far as the ones that can get you the most protein possible, I've got a list of 12 of 'em right here.
If you're a vegan, you'll need to pass on eggs because they are a dairy product. But if you're a vegetarian, technically you can eat them because they aren't considered to be what falls into the "animal flesh" category. As far as health benefits go, eggs are high in selenium and riboflavin (Vitamin B2), along with having a good amount of vitamins A and E, folate, calcium and zinc in them. Eggs also contain choline (which helps to build healthy cell membranes), they help to produce "good cholesterol" that can lower heart disease and they have the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin in them to help with keeping your vision in peak condition.
Eggs are also dope on the protein tip because one egg contains about six grams of it. Another great thing about eggs is they contain amino acids; ones that your system is able to turn into protein once you consume them.
2. Greek Yogurt
This is another heads up for vegetarians only because Greek yogurt is also a dairy product. If you've ever wondered what makes Greek yogurt different from all of the rest, it's because the whey that is in other yogurts is removed from it. As a result, Greek yogurt doesn't contain any lactose (a sugar that is found in milk). When it comes to Greek yogurt's benefits, it's got calcium, probiotics and Vitamin B12. The combination makes this particular food great for maintaining bone health, boosting metabolism, improving gut health, lowering blood pressure and even helping to treat depression.
And just how much protein is in this kind of yogurt? Oh, it's got a lot! If you eat one container of it, you'll be giving your system somewhere between 14-17 grams of protein. Whew!
3. Sun-Dried Tomatoes
If you keep tomatoes in your refrigerator, they are able to last anywhere from 10-14 days. But if you want to be able to enjoy them longer, one thing you can do is let them dry out in the sun or oven (you can learn how to go the oven route here). Considering this as an alternative is good because tomatoes are full of fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, several forms of Vitamin B and also vitamins C and K. Tomatoes are also a great source of antioxidants which makes them a great fruit to fight off free radicals, reduce bodily inflammation, improve your digestive health and, even boost collagen levels so that your skin looks younger for longer.
When it comes to protein consumption, it doesn't get much better than tomatoes. The reason why I say that is because you can get as much as eight grams of protein for every cup of them that you eat. So, if you put a few of these on a salad, you will have a lot of the protein intake that you need for any particular day.
Broccoli is a great source of all kinds of goodness. It's full of vitamins A, C, E, K and iron, calcium, potassium, folic acid and magnesium. So, no wonder broccoli is the kind of veggie that is able to support strong bones, reduce the risk of heart disease and keep your eyes in great shape (thanks to the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin that are also in them). As a bonus, broccoli even contains cancer-fighting compounds.
As if all of that wasn't impressive enough, something else that broccoli's got plenty of is protein. As much as five grams per serving (which is a cup). Just make sure that you steam it if you want to get the most out of it. Preparing broccoli any other way can zap some of its nutrients.
If you're someone who has a heaping bowl of oatmeal, at least a couple of times a week, good for you. Oats contain a massive amount of manganese (191 percent of the reference daily intake), along with a high amount of phosphorus, magnesium, copper, fiber, thiamin (Vitamin B1) and some iron and zinc too. Oats will also do your body good because they've got the antioxidants avenanthramides that can lower your blood pressure, improve your blood sugar levels, reduce your colon cancer risk, strengthen your immune system and, because it's high in good carbs, oats can give you a good boost of energy too.
Oats are a good way to get more protein. If you have a half-cup of 'em, you'll get someone around 13 grams. Impressive.
6. Lima Beans
Is it just me or are lima beans a super acquired taste? Either way, in just a sec, I'm gonna blow your mind with how much protein is in this particular vegetable. But first, its other health benefits. As far as vitamins and minerals go, lima beans can get you a good amount of manganese, copper, potassium, phosphorus, iron and folate. These are the kind of beans that can help to lower your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, support your nervous system and, thanks to the fiber that's also in them, lima beans can help to keep you regular while detoxifying your system too.
But here's the real clincher. Guess how much protein is in a half-cup of lima beans? 21 freakin' grams! Yep, that's the most out of any other food on this list and, if you eat a cup of 'em, you've pretty much taken in all of the protein that your body needs for the day. No wonder grandma used to make us eat them so often, huh?
Unlike a lot of fruits that are in their peak during any other season but winter, guava is the opposite. It is at its best between November and April. Guava is a tropical fruit that's really good for you because it's high in Vitamin C, potassium and fiber. It is able to help to lower your blood sugar levels, improve your heart health, boost your digestive health, strengthen your immunity and even lessen the pain of period cramps (how cool is that?).
One of the best things about guava, though, is it's pretty off the charts when it comes to being a wonderful source of protein. While it's a pretty low-calorie fruit (somewhere around 120 calories per cup), you're able to get yourself 4 ½ grams of protein per cup too.
Ah, potatoes. Now this is the kind of food that sometimes I've gotta talk myself out of eating (because everything must be done in moderation, right?). I don't know what it is exactly, but whether it's a French fry or a baked one (white or sweet; it doesn't really matter), potatoes just feel so damn comforting. Plus, there are several things that make them good for us. Potatoes are a great source of vitamins B6 and C. Potatoes have a ton of potassium in them (a potato contains more potassium than a banana does). Believe it or not, potatoes are also fat, sodium and cholesterol-free. Added benefits include the fact that potatoes have no gluten in them, can help to fight off free radicals and even has studies stating that they can hinder the growth of liver and colon cancer cells.
Also, no matter how you prefer to prepare your potato, you can get a nice amount of protein from it. In fact, a medium-sized potato will give you around four grams of protein. Dope.
Coconut, taste wise, is something that is difficult to describe, I won't lie. Personally, I like coconut milk and even dried coconut. It's a food that's considered to be a fruit, nut and seed that contains healthy fats, is high in electrolytes (to keep you hydrated), contains lauric acid (which can fight bacteria in your system), and it has antifungal and antibacterial properties that will fight oral decay and help to prevent bladder infection, kidney disease, thyroid dysfunction and skin and scalp infections too.
Coconut is another food that makes the high-in-protein list because, if you eat a medium-sized coconut, you're actually getting somewhere around 13 grams of protein; that's close to one-third of the daily recommended amount that your system needs.
10. Hemp Seeds
OK, so let me say off top that, although these seeds have the word "hemp" in them, don't let that get you all excited. Hemp seeds are seeds that come from the Cannabis sativa plant and they don't produce any sort of mind-altering effect. Still, if you add these into your diet, they can benefit your health in a myriad of ways. Hemp seeds are a great source of alpha-linolenic acid (which is an omega-3 fatty acid), many forms of Vitamin B, Vitamin E, magnesium, potassium and folate. Eating hemp seeds will help to reduce bodily inflammation, boost heart health, heal acne, reduce symptoms related to rheumatoid arthritis and, they can help to protect your brain as well.
Hemp seeds are really impressive when it comes to how much protein that you can get out of them. You can actually get close to 10 grams of protein if you consume as little as three tablespoons of them. And, since hemp seeds contain all nine essential amino acids, they are the kind of seeds that are on the list of being a superfood too.
11. Green Peas
Green peas are something that I can get down with. Like carrots, they're a semi-sweet veggie. They've got an impressive amount of vitamins A and K as well as folate, fiber, calcium and manganese that work together to do things for your health like helping to protect you from getting heart disease and controlling your blood sugar.
And yes, they are another vegetable that is a good protein source. How much? Well, a half-cup can get you somewhere around four grams which is actually three times more than what a half-cup of carrots will provide.
12. Sprouted Bread
If you've got a craving for a sandwich, don't deprive yourself. Just be intentional to make it out of sprouted bread. What's that? It's bread that has been made from whole grains that have germinated. Sprouted bread is beneficial because, since its grains have literally sprouted, you are able to get more nutritional value when it comes to vitamins B and C and fiber with each slice. Sprouted bread also contains the enzymes phytase and amylase which makes it easier to digest, is lower in gluten and has higher antioxidant levels in it (like beta-carotene) to protect your system from free radicals.
If you opt for eating a sprouted bread brand like Ezekiel Bread, the millet, barley and beans that are in it will give you as much as three grams of protein a slice; that's pretty impressive if you're looking for just one more non-meat way to get your daily protein fix. So, what are you waiting for? Eat up, sis!
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Victoria Monét has had an incredible year. Thanks to the success of the widely popular “On My Mama” that went viral, the singer/ songwriter’s Jaguar II album debuted in the top 10 of Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart. She also went on to headline her own sold-out tour. So, when the MTV VMAs happened in September, everyone was surprised to learn that Victoria’s team was told that it was “too early” for the “Smoke” artist to perform at the award show. However, a couple of months later, the mom of one received seven Grammy nominations, including “Best R&B Album” and “Record Of The Year.”
Victoria is currently in London and stopped by The Dotty Show on Apple Music and shared how she feels “validated” after being dismissed by the VMAs.
“It really does feel nice and validating because, in my head, the reason why I wanted to be a performer at the VMAs or award ceremonies like that is because I felt like I am at the place where I should. I would work really hard to put on the best show that I could, and I was excited to do so,” she said.
“And I guess the best way to describe it for me is like when you're like on a sports team, and the coach is like, ‘No, you gotta sit this one out.’ When they finally put you in, and then you score all these points, and it feels like that feeling. You're like, yes, I knew it wasn't tripping, but I knew I worked hard for this, and so it's been super validating to just have these accolades come after a moment like that, and I know the fans feel vindicated for me.
While her fans called the VMAs out on their decision, the “Moment” singer kept it cute and is still open to performing at the iconic award show. “I feel no ill towards them because it's just maybe that's just truly how they felt at the time, but I hope their mind has changed,” she admitted.
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