Do you crave sweets or feel uncontrollable urges to eat bread, muffins or chocolate chip cookies? Do you lack motivation? Are you depressed without reason? Do you feel tired all the time? Are you constantly fighting the battle of the bulge and losing? Does it take you a long time to get over a cold or flu? Is your thyroid under active? Is your hair dull and brittle? Are your nails too soft or split? Are you frustrated with the way you look, even though you train six days a week?
If you answered yes to any one of these questions, theres a good chance youre NOT consuming enough high quality, low-fat protein in your diet. As a health consultant specializing in human performance, weight management and clinical sports nutrition, I have engaged with literally thousands of female clients who express enormous variation in body chemistry, ethnic origin, body type, genetic predisposition, body composition and knowledge in health, fitness and nutrition. And 95% percent of them have a sub-optimal intake of protein (amino acids).
Why? Because the vast majority of women simply arent attracted to pork ribs, steak and lamb chops - foods that contain no carbohydrates. Instead they favor potatoes, bread, muffins, bagels, pasta and rice which are acid forming, carbohydrate dense, and low in water volume. Trouble is, eating high-glycemic, high-carbohydrate meals three times a day and at bedtime can cause insulin to remain high in your bloodstream for up to 18 hours a day (hyperinsulinemia). Over time, impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance can develop, resulting in elevated serum cholesterol, chronic joint inflammation, high triglycerides, depression and obesity.
Briefly stated, protein is one of several macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates & fat) constituting about one-fifth of our weight. After water (and sometimes fat) it is the most plentiful substance identified in our body composition. Our cells are actually mini-protein factories, expending an enormous amount of time and energy synthesizing the protein building blocks we need to support the biochemical demands of our structure and function.
Proteins obtained from dietary sources, be they plant or animal, provide the body with essential nutrients called amino acids. Amino acids are linked together like a string of pearls, and it is these pearls which possess the nitrogen and sulfur that carbohydrates and fats do not. Amino acid chains are arranged in a vast array of possible sequences. They are biological active, meaning they possess many unique properties associated with building and repairing body tissue. They also sustain the immune system and regulate the structural basis of enzymes, hormones and neurotransmitters.
Protein is also a component of muscle, collagen, elastin, keratin, bone, connective tissue and cartilage. You cant even think without protein. For optimum performance and function, you have to eat enough of the right kind of protein because unlike fats and carbohydrates, protein is not stored in the body. The body uses combinations of amino acids to create new cells in a way similar to how a mason worker uses bricks to construct a retaining wall. Run out of bricks and construction comes to a halt.
So how much protein do you need to eat per day? Simple. Start first with a body composition analysis to determine your lean mass in kilograms. If youre completely inactive, multiply this number by 1gm. If you exercise aerobically only, multiply by a factor of 1.5gm. But if you combine aerobics with resistance training (which is by far the best way to train for health and to optimize your weight) multiply your lean mass in kilograms by 2gm. Your lean mass, volume of physical activity and intensity of training determines your protein requirements.
Lets say your total weight is 138lb (63kg). After a body composition test, you discover that 22% of your weight is bodyfat (14kg) and 78% is lean mass (49kg). You ride the Lifecycle and lift weights 3-5 times a week, so multiply 49kg by 2gm, which equals 98gm. Thats it! Now you know how much protein in grams you need to eat per day to supply your body with the amino acids and nitrogen it requires to function without impairment.
Now divide your daily protein requirement (98gm) by 25gm to calculate the number of servings of protein you need per day to meet your target. For this example, 4 servings of lean, low-fat, non-contaminated, non-denatured protein high in biological value are necessary. And each time you consume this quantity and quality of protein with a moderate amount of low-glycemic carbohydrates, such as fresh green vegetables, you will raise your metabolic rate, stabilize your blood sugar, optimize your nitrogen status so you dont lose muscle as you age, stimulate the release of glucagon (fat-burning hormone) and cause a dopaminergic response in your brain which brings you up!
Check your diet for protein content. A whole can of tuna in water provides about 25gm. But unlike tuna sashimi, the canned alternative is highly denatured and extremely acidic. Commercial red meat such as sirloin is about 72% fat and provides no omega-3 fatty acids. A large egg provides 6 grams of high-quality protein, but is 67% fat. Nuts & seeds are all high in fat. Legumes, lentils and beans are all high in carbohydrates. Now you know why bodybuilders eat egg whites, turkey breast, halibut and PROTEIN SHAKES six times a day.
If you want a super high-quality source of protein which also boosts your immune system, consider whey protein isolate - especially if youre athletic and committed to the active lifestyle. Whey contains an extensive range of remarkable proteins called whey peptides which provide the highest quality source of protein known higher than eggs, fish, turkey, beef or soy. Whey protein is also cleaner than commercial animal proteins, less susceptible to oxidant and free radical conversion and carries virtually no risk of parasite, pathogen or infective microorganism exposure. It also tastes good and mixes well. Really!
BASIC ENERGY HEALTH SHAKE RECIPE
1 cup (250ml) filtered water
1 tsp. The Sport Oil
1 scoop Whey Protein*
1-2 cups fresh and/or frozen fruit
(papaya, mango, kiwi, banana, berries, etc
Optional Ingredients to Improve Strength, Health & Recovery
2 grams Creatine Monohydrate
2 grams L-Glutamine
1-2 tsp. Green Blend (Greens+)
1-2 tsp. Bee Pollen
* Whey Protein, Whey with Soy or Whey Supreme
Directions: Add selected ingredients together in a blender and mix at high speed for 10-20 seconds. Drink after workouts, sporting events, between meals or as a complete breakfast. You can also take additional antioxidant, botanical and/or vitamin/mineral supplements at the same time, such as Ester-C, B-Stress Select, CoQ10, Grape Seed Extract or Enzymes Plus.
Nutritional Information (Basic Shake Recipe)
* 1 cup fruit
** 2 cups fruit