Yes, you read that right! I am an avid supporter of a diet rich in protein! Mind you, I’m not going to tell you to eat protein all day every day, because you do need other macro nutrients like carbs and fat, not to mention certain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. But, without a doubt, protein is an essential component to getting in shape, staying lean, and having an overall healthy lifestyle. If you’re looking to get more protein into your diet, or are in a protein rut, keep reading for some great tips to up your protein intake and a super simple protein packed recipe that tastes delicious!
Why I’m Not a Fan of Protein Powders & Shakes
I may be one of few people in the health industry to feel weary about protein supplements, but it’s for a good reason. Let’s talk a little about the dark side of protein powders and what health and fitness enthusiasts DON’T tell you:
- You really don’t know what’s in your protein powder—Sure, you might read the nutrition label or ingredients list on your package of protein powder and think you know exactly what you’re eating. But did you know that the FDA has absolutely no jurisdiction over what goes into these powders? In other words, there’s no way you can surely know what is (or isn’t) in your protein shake. Protein powders are often loaded with artificial sweeteners, additives that prolong their shelf life, or even non-edible components like cellulose to keep them from caking. Some brands even include additives to make you hungrier! This isn’t to say that ALL powders are like this; the point is you need to take the time and do your research. If you do decide to use protein powders as a supplement to your diet, invest in a high quality protein from a brand you trust.
- Protein is meant to supplement, NOT substitute--Often I see people chug a protein shake without thinking, or have a protein shake for lunch instead of a meal. While it might be tempting, protein is meant to supplement a healthy diet and lifestyle, not replace it. Sure, you might be getting 20-30g of protein in each shake. But you’re also missing on on essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. If possible, opt for protein from a whole food. Whether it’s chicken, tuna, eggs, or whatever, try to make whole, unprocessed foods your main source of protein.
- They can make you bigger( in a bad way)–Most of you who consume protein powders probably consume whey protein. It’s the cheapest, most popular, and most readily available protein powder on the market. Whey is designed to promote muscle growth and increase in size. Specifically, whey can create an increase in insulin which makes you hungry, hence you keep eating. So for the aspiring body builder, this is great news! But what if you’re not trying to “get swole,” and are trying to lean out? Or want to drop 30 pounds? As much as you might think whey protein is a great way to shed pounds, think again. Whey might actually mitigate your hard work and impede results. Like I’ve said, it’s better to choose protein from whole food plant and animal sources. With whole food protein sources, there’s no guessing game here. You know straight up that you’re eating and there’s no confusion whatsoever!
Try This Protein Packed Recipe!
Okay, so you understand the importance of protein, and why you shouldn’t consume cheap, processed forms of protein. But where do you start? What kind of foods and recipes are you supposed to eat? Some great sources of protein include, but are not limited to:
- Poultry (All cuts of chicken and turkey, including organ meats)
- Pork (Opt for lean cuts like pork loin)
- Beef (Opt for lean cuts; ground beef should ideally be 93/7)
- Eggs (Whole yolks and/or whites)
- Fish/seafood (salmon, shrimp, crab, fish, etc.)
- High-protein dairy like cottage cheese or Greek yogurt
- Legumes/Beans (Be careful with these, they have a higher carb content)
Try this awesome egg recipe I’ve developed for everyone! I ate this for lunch the other day, but you’re welcome to make it for breakfast or even dinner!
Scrambled Spinach and Cage-Free Egg Burrito (Gluten Free)
- 4 eggs (2 whole eggs and 2 egg whites)
- 1 gluten free tortilla (Rudi’s makes a great one)
- 1 1/2 cups spinach
- 1 Tbsp hot sauce of your choosing
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cooking spray (I use coconut oil)
1. Spray a pan liberally with cooking spray. Let the pan heat up for 1-2 minutes. Add the spinach, and cook until wilted, about 4-5 minutes.
2. Turn the heat to low. Add the eggs. Stir continuously in a figure-eight motion until the eggs are fully cooked.
3. Wrap the eggs in the tortilla. Top with hot sauce. Enjoy!
I like this recipe because it’s another super simple, but healthy meal! The eggs provide you with plenty of protein to sustain your energy levels, keep hunger at bay, and build lean muscle mass. The spinach is also a great way to work some veggies into your daily quota.
Stay tuned for more eats, treats, and reads!