By Brett Franciosi

What is protein?

Protein is the fundamental building block when it comes to maintaining and/or building muscle tissue. So if it is so important then let’s begin to understand what protein truly is. Protein is formed when amino acids join together in chains. There are 20 different types of amino acids and each chain of amino acids fold in a unique way which give the protein its unique 3D shape.

Amino Acids

Amino Acids independently serve a purpose for the body but when they are combined into long chains they form what we know as “protein.” The reason it is important to understand the importance of amino acids is because there are 9 amino acids that are classified as essential amino acids (EAA). EAA’s are the specific amino acids that our body does NOT produce naturally. Therefore, we must obtain these 9 amino acids through our diet.

How to choose the right protein source for you?

There are so many foods out there that provide us with protein but how do we know which one is the best for us? For me I try and keep it as simple as possible, I look for foods that are nutrient dense. The term nutrient dense means that the food source carries multiple macronutrients in a high quantity. Some examples of nutrient dense protein sources are things like chickpeas, lentils and almonds. All of which carry a decent amount of protein per serving but also help fill in the other essential macronutrients.

The most important thing is to have a well balanced diet with adequate servings of carbs, fat and protein so by choosing nutrient dense options it makes it easier to accomplish this goal!

Brett is a certified personal trainer and certified vegan nutrition coach based out of Central Massachusetts. As a vegan athlete and fitness professional, Brett emphasizes the importance of a well rounded vegan diet and contributes most of his and his clients success to that approach. If you or someone you know is struggling with a vegan diet or are interested in transitioning to a vegan diet please contact him at