Monday, August 15, 2011

Protein

I recently read that the Center for Disease Control claims that Americans eat way too much protein.  But is this the case, or are we just eating too much altogether?  Nutritionists recommend that the average person eat about 60 grams of protein daily.  But which protein?  There are many different types of proteins, and the body metabolizes each type of protein differently (not to make it more confusing).  In early med school, I was taught that lean meat the size of a deck of cards, cooked vegetables about the size of my palm, and large spoonful of whole grains was a satisfactory dinner.  However, I must argue that not all people eat like this.  I sure as hell don't!  I enjoy a plethora of cuisine, including wild game, different salads, BBQ, and exotic palates such as sushi and calamari.  I can honestly say that I have tried some exotic dishes that would have the normal American's stomach turn upside-down.  
With that said, I also want to emphasize that eating for disease prevention must be an important attribute to anyone's diet, however, many Americans face the diet intervention as a consequence of obtaining a preventable disease.  I should know, I was pre-diabetic and I was put on a regimen of pills to choke on and was put on a low calorie diet to lose weight (may I add that it didn't work because calories are not the cause of obesity). 
But I digress.  Through many years of research and experimentation, I have figured out how much protein to consume and what types my body prefers.  I don't measure, I don't count, and I don't restrict my intake of protein.  Most importantly, I listen to my body's needs instead of listening to a "professional" telling me how much I need.  These are my personal rules, which can be personalized by anyone looking to slim down, prevent disease, and feel awesome.   

1. Eat protein in the morning.  Eating a plate-full of protein will level out blood sugar and help the body stay fuller - longer.  I personally like a ham & cheese omelet with fresh vegetables, or a protein shake on the go.  Limiting sugar, starches, and fruit in the morning will help your energy levels stay up throughout the morning.

2.  Eat legumes and lentils everyday.  These plant-based proteins do not cause cancer like animal-based proteins do.  Satiating a meal with a few spoonfuls of plant protein will help the body feel better in the afternoons.

3. Eat holistic meats and wild game when possible.  It is really important to eat the best meat possible from animals which are holistically raised and harvested, free from hormones, immunizations, synthetic chemicals, harmful by-products and pesticides, and only naturally fed on an open range. Wild game, which has been properly harvested can offer the best choice of meat, and help decrease cancer risk, cholesterol, and obesity.

4. Avoid animals with mercury.  Unfortunately, high levels of heavy metals can interlace with protein structures in fish and other amphibious-type animals (including some fowl, frogs, alligators).  These types of meats should be avoided since mercury and heavy metals can cause brain and central nervous system damage, liver and kidney troubles, and other damaging effects.  

5. Eat holistic meat as rare as possible.  Meats with char marks, cooked at high temperatures, can develop carcinogens within the meat.  When cooking meat, it should be cooked as low as possible for the least amount of time as possible.  A guideline for red meat is about 160 degrees on the inside, and 180 for poultry.   

     

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