Consider the following information as notes that accompany the video as opposed to a traditional blog post format.
Let's go back to the beginning very quickly. There are three macronutrients (nutrients that provide energy for our body): fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. I've recently shared some info about fats and cholesterol, and carbohydrates, so now it's time to highlight the last macronutrient: protein!
Protein Basics & Tips
Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of our body and cells.
In fact, protein is responsible for building every single cell in our body! It also helps control our appetite and satiety and is to credit for strong hair and nails.
I recommend starting with protein when you build your plate. Similar to carbohydrates, it offers 4 calories per gram.
Protein is typically the macronutrient that the average person struggles to eat enough of in their day, especially when out-and-about or traveling.
A portion is about the size of the palm of your hand, or about 4 ounces. You should aim for a portion at every single meal.
It is hard to overeat protein when you are eating real food forms unless the protein is combined with fat or combined with fat and salt. Think about eating a chicken wing versus a chicken breast. You have to really season the chicken breast and add some fat to make it palatable.
It becomes easier to overeat protein when you are adding in a lot of processed protein powders, shakes, and bars.
Questions I am asked often are, “What form of protein is ideal? Should I be eating just protein from meat, seafood, and eggs? Should I be adding in supplements?”
My short answer is that whole food forms of protein are ideal. Examples: chicken, beef, pork, lamb, seafood, eggs, etc.
When you eat the protein as it is found in mother nature, you are getting all the benefits: vitamins, minerals, fats, etc. They all work in synergy with the protein (amino acids) to fuel your body. For example, Vitamin A helps protein synthesis within the body and can be found in animal meat.
But to dig in deeper, collagen peptides or gelatin supplements are beneficial for those of us (aka the majority of us) that are not eating animals nose-to-tail. Ancestrally, we used to eat a very large range of protein from the animal, including organs like liver. Now we have that “ick” factor and sadly avoid these nutrient-dense organ meats.
And so, we are missing amino acids from those other protein sources, which can be found in collagen peptides and gelatin. An easy way to get those benefits would be adding in homemade bone broth. Again, some folks respond with an “ick” factor to bone broth, but you don't need to just sip it! You can use it to make soups, stews, braised short ribs – anything that calls for broth!
The reason athletes take powder into liquid form of protein after a work-out is:
(1) convenience (they are not carrying around chicken breast & sweet potatoes (props to those that do!)
(2) they are not in “rest and digest” mode immediately following a workout, so the body cannot physically break down protein the appropriate way since the stomach does not have sufficient acid and cortisol levels are still high
The flip side to liquid protein shakes is that there is really no satiety for the body, so I only recommend shakes for people who need them.
Remember: we are supposed to be eating food that we chew and swallow!
Protein and Product Recommendations
Here are some protein products that I recommend, mostly for emergency protein sources, on-the-go, and travel circumstances:
- Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides or Great Lakes Collagen
- Sophia's Survival Food Beef Jerky Grass-fed Chews
- Mini Jerky Chews
- Krave Jerky (check the ingredients for what works for you!)
- Epic Bars (I especially like the Sesame Chicken BBQ)
- Note that the sugar just makes these bars palatable, instead of making them sweet.
- Primal Kitchen Bars: Dark Chocolate Almond and Coconut Cashew (not all are on Amazon yet).
- Vital Choice Sardines in Olive Oil
- Vital Choice is a Balanced Bites Podcast Sponsor (use code balancedbites for 15% off your first order!)
- Wired to Eat by Robb Wolf (Pre-sale on Amazon now)
- Balanced Bites Podcast Episode #273: All About Protein
- Balanced Bites Podcast Episode #54: Top 10 Questions We Get – Protein Overload, Gall Bladder Removal, Cod Liver Oil, and More!
Balanced Bites Master Class
We cover everything there is to know about protein in module 4 of the Balanced Bites Master Class. Enrollment is opening for the January 2017 class very soon. Check out the details and sign up for our VIP list!