At the age of 13, I became a vegetarian. On my own, I decided I wanted to be a vegetarian. This decision was not based on anything health or animal rights related. It was simply a decision I made out of disgust in a science class dissection.
Fast-forward 10 years, I still called myself a vegetarian and this just became a part of who I was and how I ate. A diet full of mostly carbs and cheese, who doesn’t love that?
In the next decade I was introduced to more of a Mediterranean diet, and I began to include eggs and fish as additional protein sources. I realize now this balance was necessary for me to have the energy it took to fuel my pregnancies. I’m still far from being able to stomach a rib-eye but now I do realize a balanced approach to carb/protein/and fat is what is really necessary to feeling optimal and to help shed pounds. You might question why protein is so powerful. How does it help you lose weight?
Here are 4 reasons why I have found protein to be so powerful:
1. PROTEIN SATISFIES
Protein is important because it helps you feel fuller longer. Protein slows down digestion and makes us satiated for a longer period of time. When this starts to compound over the course of days and months, you save calories by not filling up all the time on empty calories, thus aiding weight loss.
2. PROTEIN CURBS CARB HIGHS AND LOWS
I used to constantly get light headed, dizzy, and even faint. By pairing protein with carbohydrate-rich foods, the absorption of sugar from your stomach into your bloodstream slows down, which may help keep your blood sugar from skyrocketing and also helps to ward off future cravings.
3. PROTEIN FUELS FAT BURNING
Your body cannot effectively burn and use fat as energy if it doesn’t have help from either carbohydrate or protein. As you are losing weight, your body loses both muscle and fat. During this process it is especially important that you have adequate protein coming in from your food in order to fuel fat burning while preserving calorie-burning lean muscle.
4. PROTEIN PROMOTES MUSCLE REPAIR & GROWTH
Your protein needs increase especially after bouts of intense exercise. It is beneficial to increase your protein intake on days that you exercise. Additionally, if you strength train, try having a high protein snack right after a training session when the muscle is sensitive to nutrients that it can use to repair and grow.
As you can see protein is a very powerful macronutrient. But protein alone won’t help you shed pounds. You need a balanced approach that will give you all the energy you need to power through your workouts and your daily lives, while still helping you lose weight. Personally, I like to follow a plan that is roughly 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat. So what does that mean? How do you know if you’re getting enough protein?
For my size, I aim to eat 4 servings/day of lean protein. Here’s an example of how I incorporate the power of protein into a typical day:
|Breakfast||½ Cup oatmeal with ¾ cup Blueberries|
|2 Scrambled Eggs|
|Snack||Shakeology Vegan Chocolate meal replacement shake|
|Lunch||Large salad w/Tuna fish|
|Olive oil/balsalmic dressing|
|Dinner||Pistachio crusted baked fish|
|w/ ½ cup Quinoa|
If you would like help learning how to eat a balanced diet according to your size and goals, please let me know.
Have a great week,
SALMON AND WHITE BEANS
This quick and easy protein-packed mini meal is perfect. Keep canned tuna or salmon and white beans in the cupboard for a meal that can easily be transported if you bring your lunch to work.
1 can of water-packed tuna or salmon
1/2 cup white beans (drained and rinsed)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp olive oil
Flake tuna or salmon into a bowl and toss with all the other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.