Let’s face it. The weather is quickly warming up and I know I’m starting to worry about bathing suit season. Sure, I count calories and go to the gym (almost) on a daily basis…but I still have those stubborn 5 extra pounds to contend with. As much as I hate them, low carb diets work. The first time I did South Beach, I thought I was going to murder someone by the end of week 1. The headaches and crankiness were worth it once I lost the ten pounds I aimed for. I no longer diet. While they “work”, I find that I like eating too much to go through them. I have cut out bad carbs: white breads, most pasta…(although I do sneak them from time to time). I count calories and make sure to stay at goal. Either way, it is important to make healthy protein choices. Here are some findings from Harvard Medical school on protein intake in 85,000 female nurses and 45,000 male health professionals followed since the mid-1980s:
The more protein from red meat, the higher the chances of developing heart disease.
Women who averaged two or more servings of red meat a day had a 30% higher risk of developing heart disease than those who had one or fewer servings a day.
Replacing one serving of meat with one of nuts reduced the risk by 30%.
How does this translate to real life?
When you consume protein, your body can’t really tell the difference. What makes the difference is all the stuff that comes along with said proteins: fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Your best choice is plant protein to keep you healthy. This means beans and nuts.
These are some tips I’ve picked up over the last few years:
Instead of bacon and eggs, do an egg white scramble. If you really miss the yolk, use only one whole egg and make the rest of the mixture egg whites.
For lunch, instead of beef, opt for seafood.
If you do eat beef, make sure it is grass fed. Corn fed (grain) beef has none of the Omega 3’s, fatty acids that grass fed has. Besides, the majority of the time your grass fed cows will have lived a happier life.
When you have fish, try to pick up wild caught over farmed.
Eat lentils, lots of them. They are “meaty” and are packed with fiber & protein.
Get beans into the rotation often. They are a great source of protein, fiber & nutrients.
Munch on tofu, but make sure it is organic, otherwise you’ll be ingesting GMOs.
Yogurt is a great source of protein, I prefer Greek style because it is so versatile. It’s tangier and you can use it instead of sour cream and creme fraiche.
Nuts are super high in protein and happy monounsaturated fats. These are a better snack than potato chips.
Poultry is ok. Chicken and turkey have protein and if you go skinless you can reduce the intake of saturated fats. Make sure that you choose organic, pasture raised and antibiotic free whenever possible.