We are talking about protein today. Seems innocent enough.
We all eat it and need it. But it seems like that is where the ease of this topic stops.
Growing up, we all just ate what mom put in front of us. No questions, just eat it, or you will be sitting there a long time, right? I look back now as what I fed my kids when they were
little and I realize that I really didn’t know why I fed my kids what I did. Other than that is what my mom fed me. There was always some veggies on the table, a starch, and some protein. As I went through school, I took several foods classes. I have always loved to cook, but looking back I don’t remember a lot of why we ate what we did. There was always the Canada Food Guide, but that was it.
In the last few years, I have had a rude awakening about what I eat and what I should not eat. Our daily food intake has changed dramatically and as a result, Doug and I have managed to become much healthier and as a result much smaller because of what we do now. One of the things that we have learned more about is protein.
OK, fast facts:
- Proteins form the basic machinery of all cells.
- Proteins are made out of amino acids.
- Amino acids are not interchangeable: to synthesize a protein, each one of its constituent amino acids must be available.
- Many amino acids are essential—we cannot synthesize them, and therefore must ingest them as part of our diet. Many others are conditionally essential, and cannot be synthesized or converted at the rate we require them.
- Since we have no way to store amino acids for later use, our bodies have a daily requirement for them.
- Therefore, we must ingest each amino acid, roughly in the proportion we require it, every day.
As I researched protein, I learned how much we depend on them and that they are so essential to
everything we do. Even though all experts agree how important protein is to every function we have,
there are extreme opinions on how much we need to consume.
One of the curious facts that I learned is that elderly people need to consume as much protein as
young adults. As we age there seems to be supporting studies that say that one of the reasons that
seniors have weakened bones and muscles could be from lack of protein.
After sifting through all the murky data and interpretations, the minimum amount of protein required to
avoid losing muscle mass is around .36 grams/pound of body weight per day needed for growth and repair of muscles, bone, tendons, skin, hair, and other tissues. But we are talking about inactive, non-
athletic people here. If you are active, you need to up your intake.
Here are 10 foods high in protein that should be part of your diet.
Tuna, Salmon, Halibut, Snapper, Perch, Flounder and Sole, Cod, Tilapia.
2: Lean Chicken and Turkey
Cheese high in protein per ounce; Lowfat Cottage Cheese, Lowfat Swiss Cheese, Lowfat Cheddar, Parmesan, Romano. *Low or Non Fat Mozzarella and Cottage Cheese provide the most protein per calorie, full fat cheeses typically only provide 1g protein per 20 calories, and are less optimal sources of protein.
4: Lean Beef and Veal (Low Fat)
TBone Steak, 1 Piece of Beef Jerky, Pork Loin (Chops)
Sirloin Roast, Ham, 1 slice of bacon (8g) provides 3g of protein.
1 cup (252g) of firm tofu,1 cup of soft tofu,1 cup of tempeh
7: Yogurt, Milk, and Soymilk
8: Beans (Mature Soy Beans)
Kidney Beans, White Beans, Lima Beans, Fava Beans, Black Beans, Mung Beans.
9: Eggs (Especially Egg Whites)
1 Egg White (33g) provides 4g protein, 1 cup of scrambled eggs (220g) provides 22g protein.
10: Nuts and Seeds
Peanuts, Almonds, Pistachios, Sunflower Seeds, Flaxseed, Mixed Nuts.
Other than adding more protein overall to our diet, the most crucial thing that we did breaks most rules that you see out there. Just before bed we eat. Yup, eat. But not just a bag of chips, bowl of cereal, carb rich snack, but a serving of protein. This was explained to us in this way. Your body is like a wood burning stove. If you have ever been camping and this was the heat, the last thing you do before bed, is put more wood on the fire. It keeps the stove warm all night and hopefully, there is some warmth to start the day with rather than a cold stove. If you eat protein right before bed, it has the same effect. Your body keeps its metabolism up while you sleep and you start the next day with a head start rather than a ‘cold stove’. So, right before bed, we will have a serving of greek yogurt, or a protein shake.
After all is said and done, you need to do what is right for you. Keeping a few thoughts in mind.
● Everyone’s body is different, don’t compare an athlete with someone who is sedentary.
● Eat protein at every meal. It helps in the breakdown of carbs and keeps you full longer.
● Seek advice from an expert. Just because your doctor went to school for a long time, it doesn’t make them an expert in everything.
● Listen to your body. Most people don’t pay enough attention to what their body is telling them.
● Drink water. Regardless of what other things you try or change, drink lots of water.
● Sleep. Make sure you getting enough sleep. Your body repairs itself as you sleep.
Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon. – Doug Larson