Want to know how to eat for optimum nutrition? Starting this month, and for the next two months, I’ll break down information about each of the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats) and explain how to know what’s right to eat for you!
Our favourite macronutrient: Protein
We’ll kick it off with PROTEIN…our favourite topic. The body uses carbohydrates for fuel first, then healthy fats and then protein. It is involved in many more functions within the body, including enzymes which are responsible for biochemical reactions, red blood cells which carry oxygen to cells and tissues, as well as hormones like insulin for blood sugar balance and thyroid for metabolic rate. Meat has all of the amino acids or “building blocks” of proteins, as does quinoa. Otherwise, the body naturally collects them from different foods and forms necessary proteins all on its own, so there’s no need to be concerned about eating a “whole” protein at each meal.
*Important Note: Quality of protein is as equally important as the amount of protein we eat and many vegetables offer a range of amino acids. Shop for hormone-free, grass-fed meats to avoid adding toxins and inflammation to the body. Athletes should avoid fried foods and high fat meals foods cooked in animal fats.
The building block of muscle and one of the three macronutrients (as well as Carbohydrates and Healthy Fats) we need to live.
What is protein?
Protein is comprised of a variety of twenty-two amino acids which occur naturally in foods, alongside some being made by the body. Amino acids form different combinations to carry out many functions and meet the body’s needs. Protein makes up around twenty percent of our body weight.
What are the benefits of protein?
In addition to building muscle, proteins can also be found in our skin, hair, nails, eyes and internal organs…quite the list! Moreover, it plays an important role in red blood cell formation which carries essential oxygen to tissues and cells and for healthy immunity by producing antibodies to fight infection. Protein is also a key factor in hormone production impacting blood sugar balance via insulin as well as our metabolic rate, due to its role in thyroid hormones creation.
How much protein do I require?
Understanding what each individual needs for requirements doesn’t have to be difficult. Simply take your current weight in kilograms and multiply that number by 0.8. Let’s use the example of a 70 kg (154lbs) person: 70 x 0.8 = 56. That means a daily intake requirement would be 56 grams of protein. Overall, we’re a bit obsessed with protein here in North America, so ensure to meet your daily requirement, but keep in mind that more isn’t always better. Instead time your high-protein meals to take place right after your workout for optimal use by your body.
What food can I find protein in?
Protein can be found in a wide variety of foods, including many vegetables. As a quick guide, carnivores that consume 100 grams (approx. ½ cup) of turkey breast and 100 grams of canned tuna would meet their daily requirements, without even adding in the vegetables they’ve consumed. Vegans or vegetarians consuming 100 grams (approx. 1 cup) of cooked tofu/tempeh and 43 grams (approx. ¼ cup) of chia seeds or 100 grams (approx. ½ cup) hemp seeds will easily meet their requirements.
How do I supplement protein?
My go-to recommendation is always to eat what we need…who doesn’t love to eat? However, if you need to top-up your protein intake on a particular day and eat animal products – look to Whey. It has the greatest utility in the body and is the main component in most protein powders. That being said, look at the quality, not the quantity of your protein powder as many of them contain very unhealthy ingredients.
Vancouver Function offers Klean Isolate for $49.34, right at the gym. Klean Isolate contains no flavouring, sweeteners or other artificial ingredients and can easily be added to any beverage to enhance daily protein and amino acid intake. Just clean whey protein isolate! Alternatively, Vega Sport or Iron Vegan Sprouted Protein are animal free and effective.
Have more questions about protein? Simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to answer them.