When you hear the word protein, quite often we tend to imagine bodybuilders and elite athletes chowing down on a bowl of egg whites or sipping on protein shakes throughout the day.
HERE’S THE TRUTH
Protein is a necessary part of our diet and eating a moderately high protein diet has been linked with more fat loss and better recovery from working out. The question is what should you be eating and how much is recommended. Not only that, but protein is vital for hormone function, enzymatic processes, healthy hair, nails, and skin. In short, protein is really important.
Ok, so you can probably tell I’m a science guy. I love research and numbers, but I’m also a huge believer in keeping things nice and simple for my clients. Firstly, counting macros get’s annoying in the long term, and two it takes the whole fun social aspect of food away. Who could be bothered weighing and measuring their food when out for dinner?? Food should be fun.
Protein should be adjusted to around 1.5g/2g per kg of body weight and can potentially increase up to 3g/kg when eating in a calorie deficit. I know what you’re thinking… “Mark, you said eating was meant to be fun, I don’t want to have to figure that stuff out.”
Don’t worry, I’ve got your back. Simply eat 3-4 meals a day with a palm-size serving of protein.
OK SO ARE QUINOA AND CHICKPEAS GOOD?
There’s a popular argument that certain foods contain more protein than meat and poultry. I’m not saying you MUST eat meat, but I’m being honest that the best sources of protein are in fact animal products. Which is super easy for those who choose to eat meat, as it’s generally a case of choosing leaner sources of produce.
For the vegan, vegetarian or more socially conscious amongst us, choosing your protein sources can be a little trickier, but once you get the hang of it you’ll be nailing it in no time. Here you will find very few foods that are high in protein but comparatively low in calories bar tofu and plant-based protein powders.
Saying that you can find a HUGE amount of foods that are packed with fibre, vitamins, and minerals, carbohydrates or fats for energy as well as protein. This is where foods such as beans, chickpeas, nuts, and lentils are the key choices. You just need to be conscious of the carbohydrates or fats added to your meals.
One final addition if you feel you need more protein in your diet is protein powders. The absolute gold standard is Whey Protein for its bio-availability, but once again we have a vegan alternative. A blend of rice and pea protein has an amino acid profile almost identical to whey protein.