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Protein is a critical component of building muscle. Protein is made up of 20 amino acids. The body is able to produce 11 of them. The other nine (known as essential amino acids) need to be obtained through your diet as your body isn’t able to create them internally.

When you eat protein, the body breaks down the macronutrient into usable amino acids that contribute to a number of bodily functions, including muscle growth, muscle repair, and recovery. Your body can break protein down and use the amino acids as a source of fuel, making protein a great energy source.

Protein helps keep you feeling fuller for longer periods of time, but even more, it’s essential for maximum recovery and repairing after training. Beans, whole grains, nuts & seeds and/or fruits and veggies with every meal/snack. Getting your protein through these forms fills you with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants so that you always feel your best, while expediting fat loss.

Legumes such as chickpeas, seitan, tofu, black beans are top sources for healthy protein, as they are packed with nutrients and sources of energy. Try to eat them as often as possible, aim for at least twice per day, specifically if your goal is muscle growth. They are the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat, meaning you can eat more food without worrying about eating too many calories. (Which is why I personally love them).

I recommend having at least one serving of protein with every meal. Visit the Protein list section of this guide for recommended Protein Sources.