Protein is such a vital part of life. Proteins are long chains of amino acids, which can be found in many different foods. The highest sources of proteins come from animals, like meat, dairy, eggs and fish, but some vegetables, beans and seeds also have certain amounts of protein. There are 20 different amino acids that can create a protein, 9 of which are considered essential, meaning our bodies can’t make them. Because our bodies can’t create essential amino acids, we must eat them. Meat and eggs are considered a “complete protein” because they contain all 9 of the essential amino acids in roughly equal parts. This is super important to consider when you are considering meatless meals or a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. According to Dr. Axe, if you aren’t eating enough complete proteins you could be experiencing some of these symptoms:
· A sluggish metabolism
· Trouble losing weight
· Trouble building muscle mass
· Low energy levels and fatigue
· Poor concentration and trouble learning
· Moodiness and mood swings
· Muscle, bone and joint pain
· Blood sugar changes that can lead to diabetes
· Slow wound healing
· Low immunity
It is recommended that we consume at least half of our body weight in protein a day. So if you weigh 200 lb. you would need to have at least 100 grams of protein a day. I bet that seems like a lot to most people! Those eating the standard American diet, filled with all sorts of grains, are fueling their bodies on carbohydrates, and can easily miss out on getting enough complete proteins every day. If you are trying to lose weight or gain muscle it is extremely important to consume enough good proteins or your body will not be able to perform at its optimum level. Nowadays, it’s easy to track your protein intake by tracking your meals through an app on your phone. My personal favorites are My Fitness Pal and Lose It. I love tracking my meals to monitor my protein, fat and carbohydrate intake. I like to make sure that I am consuming enough protein and healthy fats to keep myself feeling the best.
Some of my favorite cuts of meat that are high in protein are:
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast – I especially love it when it has gone through the tenderizer (we call it cubed chicken).
Pork Tenderloin – This is great on the grill or in the oven. It’s always so tender.
Ground Turkey – Ours is made right and without any skin or fillers.
Beef Roasts – This is a staple at our house, an easy crock pot meal with potatoes and carrots.
It’s very important to get your protein from meat and plant sources. When looking to select some great meat sources, it is important to choose local grass fed and free range meats. John Henry’s offers meats that are free from hormones, antibiotics, steroids and other chemicals that can destroy your health.