Where you should start
Most people get lost and overwhelmed with the misinformation on the internet. Avoid the confusion and try this:
My first tip, and what I require from my clients before they come see me, is to write down everything you eat for at least 3 days. Once you’ve done this, take note of how you felt when you ate that particular food, or how you feel in general, on a daily basis. Do you get tired and fatigued in the afternoon? Are you plagued with headaches? These are things you should make note of. After you’ve written everything down, go through it and write a C next to all the carbohydrates you ate. Remember, a carb is any fruit, starchy vegetable, fiber, bread, pasta, or sugary substance. Write a P next to all the protein and an F next to the fat. Notice any patterns? If you marked a lot of C’s you should make a note of that.
The second thing to consider is your weight and medical history. Are you overweight and/or on medications for any “off the charts” health markers, like blood pressure or cholesterol?
If you answered yes to any of the above, you need to start by replacing some of those “C’s and F’s” with Protein and Real Food.
What is the best protein?
Once you have identified where you’re missing protein, you need figure out how you can add protein into your daily routine. The purest sources of protein, without the extra fat, are egg whites, whey protein, and chicken breasts. I am not saying you have to eat only these protein sources. However, they are good additions to whatever you are already eating. Eggs are an easy food to add in, especially at breakfast. If you are used to eating a carbohydrate-laden breakfast you should start eating a protein-filled breakfast. Skip the cereal and have eggs instead.
You should be having protein with every meal. Don’t forget beans have protein and fiber. So, if you are a vegetarian you can still get protein. Vegetables have protein in them too. So, don’t skip out on your veggies. Grass-fed chicken, beef, and wild-caught fish are best for you. They are full of vitamins and minerals your body needs. This is where you should start. Good quality protein powder is great for supplementing if you are having a hard time hitting your protein needs or if you are an athlete.
Protein from Real Food
One thing that real food has going for it is that it usually has protein and/or fiber in it. If the average American just ate more real, natural, grown from the earth food we would see a major shift in the health of this country. The cycle of humans and animals eating from the earth is supposed to be just that, a cycle. We complicate this simple process by being too busy to partake.
My final easy tip to get more real food in your life is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store, not the inside aisles. Better yet shop local farms, farmers’ markets, and butchers. Stay away from foods that are in a box or bag. Sure, you will have some food in your pantry, but your refrigerator and counter should be more stocked than the pantry. Your vegetable bins should be always be full. Your weekly menu should revolve around protein, even if you are a vegetarian. Start getting more protein in your diet by swapping out a few of your “C’s” for “P’s”. I guarantee you will feel more satisfied, have more energy, and lose a little body fat.
More on Protein Next week. Stay tuned…