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Power of Protein

This one’s for the dudes
(ladies can take some notes too!)

Throughout my years of being a nutritional coach, I’ve had a few times that I’ve truly been stumped with regards to how to handle a certain client. It’s always a certain group or the newest Diet craze they want to follow; the Paleo Diet, Ketogenic Diet, Atkins, vegetarian, vegan, etc. You name it, I’ve heard of it. I’ve even tried them all along with my clients so I can make sure I gave them the best coaching and help possible. The one that hits me the most are my male clients. And it’s not because of anything more than I’m always amazed at their approach to getting the nutritional goals they need in order to keep up their daily life and fitness levels – the access & abundance of protein.

It is no secret that protein is key to the male diet, and any daily diet period, but to the male body it is ever more important for the sheer way the body metabolizes & recovers. The reason why it’s so important? Our body is composed of protein; yes, skin, bones, hair, & nails are all made up of mostly protein.

How much protein?

Well, let’s get something straight – Americans aren’t eating enough of the macronutrients; this is the biggest problem of the dilemma with obesity.  Most adults benefit from 56 grams of protein daily. This isn’t just for bodybuilders though, this is for your everyday life. Protein stops hunger and can be linked to preventing diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

So the equation of how much is based on how much do you truly exercise? According to Men’s Health Magazine, “Men who work out 5 or more days a week for an hour or longer need 0.55 gram per pound. And men who work out 3 to 5 days a week for 45 minutes to an hour need 0.45 gram per pound. So an 180-pound guy who works out regularly needs about 80 grams of protein a day.”

If weight loss is your goal and you’re following the Calories In, Calories Out (CICO) method, you will need most of your calories to come from protein sources. And if you’re diabetic, don’t freak out and think that protein will wreck your kidneys. That’s just not the case.

All Proteins Are Not Created Equal

So this is my favorite topic. Full disclosure, I am a vegetarian and part-time vegan but I don’t prescribe this diet (with a little d) for everyone – it just works for me. In San Antonio, it would be simple to get the plant-based proteins like nuts and beans; yes, your frijoles are considered a plant based protein and carbohydrate making it a super food. What doesn’t make it a super food is when you add the extras like the arroz (rice) and potato salads that you’ll find at the barbecues this summer so watch out for those. The best sources you’ll find are from dairy products, eggs, lean meats, and fish.

Now, yes if you do want to come over to my world of plant-based proteins there are plenty of sources you will find by combining legumes (beans), nuts, and grains at one meal or over the course of the day. You do need to consume 20-25% more than your animal protein eating friends though.

I’m also not saying you can go ahead and eat those chicken wings and ranch dressing either – those have a ton of fat and carbohydrates so make sure that you make room for the good stuff. But, at the end of the day, it’s not the fat that’s the problem, it’s your carbs man… carbs.

When is the best time?

If you truly think about when you eat your protein, it’s probably not wrapped up in the foil and tortilla in the morning. It’s more than likely at night which doesn’t allow your body much time to process and use it for fuel. Protein has its spikes much like carbohydrates do. You will find yourself best served by eating your protein throughout the day. The protein spikes last 3-4 hours and your body can truly only process a small amount of protein at a time. So that 90 gram shake your buddy is raving about will take the same amount of time to break down as the 30-gram shake and you’ll have more benefit to eating the 30 grams; that remaining 60 grams becomes spill over and that spill over results in wasted energy.

Try your protein power hour at breakfast time. Skip the tacos and go for the huevos rancheros (without potatoes and tortillas… I know, I’m so mean).

I just don’t have time

Then get a protein shake in the morning. Not a shake person? Sure you are! You just haven’t found the right one yet. I recently watched an employee of mine make a 3,000-calorie shake for lunch in less than three minutes. That’s less time than it would take for you to head on over to the local fast food place. Try out shakes. Want to get one from a friend who works for a multi-level marketing company? Do your research. All shakes are not created the same so make sure you find one that you like and give you the right kinds of protein. Whey and casein are the two top animal proteins sold in supplement form. If your body doesn’t react well to animal protein they come from bovine aka cow protein, then try pea protein.

You got this dads  (and ladies, protein is important for you too!).  Happy Father’s Day and light up that grill, it’s for your health.

This article was originally published in the June 2017 issue of The Bingo Nugget.

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