How To Get More Protein In Your Diet Without Eating More Meat

Finally, protein is getting its much-deserved attention. For decades, most discussions revolving around macronutrients focused on fat and carbs, namely how much should we be eating of both.

But there SHOULD be focus on protein. Protein builds our entire body, from muscles and bones to hormones and other biochemicals. If we don’t get enough protein in our diet every day, our health and well-being are compromised.

Okay, but how can you ensure you are getting enough protein and what if you don’t eat meat at all or are trying to limit meat consumption? Though animal-based protein delivers all of the essential amino acids we need, you can get sufficient protein from plant-based sources.

Here’s how you can get more protein into your diet without eating more meat:

Reach for a Good Protein Powder

Protein powders can be the perfect way to get some more protein in. There are vegan powders on the market as well as powders made from animal sources (whey). They key is to find a powder that offers around 25 grams of protein per serving, is clean and does not come with added sugars or unnecessary fillers. Read those labels to be certain of what you are getting.

Pair Lower Protein Sources with Higher Ones

If you try and eat more foods that offer the highest protein grams per bite, you’re going to be eating a lot of the same foods such as a protein powder, eggs, lentils etc. A better approach, and one that will add variety to your meals, is to pair lower protein sources with higher ones.

So this might look like adding a tablespoon of hemp seeds, which contain 4 grams of protein per tablespoon, to your morning smoothie and adding a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds (10 grams) to your salad and have some almond butter on an apple as a snack (another 4 grams per tablespoon). Right there you’ve added 18 grams of protein to your daily intake.

Eat More Than One Protein Source at Each Meal

Like a good pasta dish with Bolognese sauce? Whether that sauce was made from beef or lentils, there is one single source of protein right there. But what if you now had chickpea pasta instead of regular pasta? You’ve just added a second source of protein to your meal. And what if you add some tofu to your side salad, you’ve now added another source and really upped your daily intake.

If you use these 3 simple but effective tricks, you can ensure you get enough protein into your diet without having to eat any more meat!

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Reasons to Start Working with a Nutritionist In 2021

You most likely know that in order to “be healthy” you’ve got to “eat healthy.” But what does that mean exactly? Everyone has different nutritional needs and everyone also has their own idea of what “healthy eating” looks like. To some, that’s eating no meat, to others it’s eating mostly meat. To some it’s eating a lot of fruits and veggies, to others it’s eating diet bars and diet shakes!

How do you know what you really should be eating for your health and to prevent disease? Well, you have a couple of options:

1) Spend a lot of time researching the internet and Youtube videos hoping you find valid and effective information.

Or…

2) Work with a licensed nutritionist who can develop meal plans tailored to your specific health needs and goals.

I don’t know about you, but that second option seems to be the right choice to me.

Still not convinced? Here are just a handful of reasons to start working with a nutritionist in 2021:

Break Through Barriers

When you are so close to your own behaviors, it’s hard for you to see what is standing in your way of reaching a weight loss goal. A nutritionist can monitor and offer a different perspective and point out what’s working and what’s not. Nutritionists work with all kinds of people and have seen all kinds of scenarios, challenges, and setbacks and can help you troubleshoot whatever may be going on.

More Accountability

It’s easy to set some kind of health goal by yourself because then there is no one there to hold you accountable when you don’t stick with the program. When you work with a nutritionist, yes, you have someone in your corner, cheering you on to reach your goals. But you also have an accountability partner.

You Have a Mentor on Call

How many times have you hit up Google for an answer to a health or nutrition question, only to scroll through countless websites trying to determine what the right answer is? Having a nutritionist in your corner means you can contact them with any food/health questions you may have and get a reliable answer.

These are just a handful of the reasons it makes sense for, well… pretty much everyone to work with a nutritionist this year. Get in shape, get healthy and get your best life with a qualified cheerleader in your corner.

 

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3 Things That May be Keeping You from Losing Weight

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight you know it can be challenging! You think you’re doing everything right: You’re cutting calories, upping your water intake, and exercising, yet you’re still not getting any real kind of results.

It’s very possible that, though your efforts are commendable, you’re following outdated or just simply wrong advice and it’s stopping you from finally losing that weight.

Here are 3 things that may be keeping you from losing weight:

1. Focusing on the Scale

A lot of people focus too much on the number on the scale. It doesn’t go down quickly enough for them, and so they quit.

But that number doesn’t tell the full story. If you are exercising, which you should be, then without question you are putting on some muscle. Obviously, if you are actively weight-lifting or resistance training, then you are putting on quite a bit of muscle, though you may not be able to see it yet if you have a layer of fat.

Muscle weighs more than fat. So you may be losing fat but putting on muscle, and so the number on the scale may go up at times. Better to look at your overall body composition and pay attention to how your clothes fit than focusing on the scale.

2. Over-Exercising

You may think if you go at it hard 7 days a week at the gym, that you’ll lose weight faster. In theory, this may be true, but in actuality, over-exercising can cause problems and hamper your weight loss efforts.

Studies have shown that excessive exercising is not only unsustainable for the long term, but it can also lead to too much stress on the body as well as impair the production of adrenal hormones that regulate stress response.

Simply put, forcing your body to burn more calories by exercising too much is neither effective nor healthy. It is a better choice to lift weights and do some cardio 3-4 times per week.

3. Not Getting Enough Protein

You’ve probably heard that protein helps you lose weight because it makes you feel fuller longer. And this is true. It also helps your body build new lean muscle, and that can increase your metabolic rate.

But what you may not know is that if your body does not get enough protein, it will overeat in an effort to get more. This is called the Protein-Leverage Hypothesis (PLH). Studies have found that people subconsciously increase their intake of food in an effort to get more protein BECAUSE the body prioritizes protein over fats and carbohydrates.

So, if you are always feeling hungry, try upping your protein and giving your body what it demands.

While this list of weight loss mistakes isn’t exhaustive, we have found these 3 are the top mistakes people make. If you stop focusing on what the scale says and instead focus on how you look and feel, stop over-exercising, and make sure you get enough protein, you are setting yourself up for weight loss success. And once you taste that first hint of success, it will propel you to the finish line.

 

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4 Stay-Fit Tips for People Who Hate Exercise

Hate exercising? You’re definitely not alone.

It seems that each year, millions of people around the country start off with good intentions, committing to an exercise plan, only to quit completely a few weeks later.

Look, we understand, exercising is not easy. It’s hard work, but it’s hard work that’s really important for your health and overall well-being. And we want to make sure the next time you commit to an exercise plan, you STAY committed.

So, with that in mind, here are 4 tips that will help you stay fit, even when you hate exercise:

Tip #1: Have Fun

No one says you have to go to the gym 5 days a week and do circuit training. If you hate going to the gym, then find something you actually enjoy doing. Do you like swimming? Hiking? Kayaking? Dancing? Playing basketball? There are PLENTY of ways you can get your body moving, condition your heart while building some lean muscle. Find something you love to do and you’ll actually do it more.

Tip #2: Give Yourself Some Time

The science is out and it says that it takes roughly 30 days for a human being to form a new habit. So you can expect that days 1-29 are going to be challenging to ensure you work out. That’s okay. Just be sure to give yourself adequate time to allow this new habit to form. If you do, you’ll find it does indeed get easier to incorporate exercise into your life.

Tip #3: Build Exercise into Your Daily Life

Some people will swear until they are blue in the face that “they just don’t have time for exercising.” Well, you can easily make time if you build exercise into your life. For instance, if you try and spend time with the family each day, why not get the family to go on a family bike ride after dinner?

If you need to spend an hour each day reading through student papers, why not read through them while on the stationary bike? There are ways you can kill 2 birds with one proverbial stone, so look for ways to do it in your own life.

Tip #4: Take Baby Steps

Too many people make HUGE goals that are simply unrealistic. For example, someone may make a goal to lose 40 pounds in 3 months. Well, that’s not only unrealistic, but it’s also not even healthy.

Someone else may have a goal of running a marathon in 3 months. Well, if you’ve never run a day in your life, that’s also not very realistic.

When starting out, set small goals that you can easily achieve. As an example, your first goal may be to consistently swim for half an hour, three days a week for one month. That’s very doable. And when you reach a goal, it gives you confidence in your abilities and energy to keep going and reach even more goals.

If you follow these 4 tips, you will be able to stick to an exercise plan and see positive results from your efforts. Who knows? You may even learn to LIKE exercising.

 

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Balance Your Mood With Food: How Good Nutrition Supports Mental Health

Our brains are magnificent machines: while the brain controls rudimentary yet complex functions like your heartbeat, breathing and motor functions, it also controls a multitude of other complicated tasks such as creating your thoughts and feelings. A machine this advanced, that runs 24/7, clearly requires fuel to run. The fuel you supply to your hard-working brain is none other than the food and drink you consume.

Like any other machine, the quality of your brain function is relative to the quality of the fuel you put in it. Foods rich in nourishment such as complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants help stabilize blood sugar levels while increasing your brain’s energy. When it comes to feeding the brain, you get back what you put in.

Selenium

Selenium is an important mineral that your body relies on to perform many of its basic functions. Studies have shown that people with a low amount of selenium in their diet have an elevated rate of depression, irritability, and anxiety. While too little selenium causes health problems, too much can be toxic. According to the National Institute of Health, 55 mcg of selenium a day is the sweet spot for adults 19 years of age and older.

Brazil nuts are by far the most selenium-rich food available. An ounce (about 7 or 8) of brazil nuts contains 544 mcg of selenium per serving, so two or three brazil nuts a day is more than sufficient to get your RDA of selenium. You can also get your 55 mcg a day with 3 to 4 ounces of halibut, roasted ham, or shrimp. Cottage cheese, roast chicken, oatmeal, and eggs also contain moderate amounts of selenium, around 10 to 20 mcg per serving.

Folate (Folic Acid)

Studies have shown that an increased intake of folate or folic acid is associated with a lower risk of depression. Folate is found in a wide variety of food, with spinach, liver, yeast, asparagus, and brussels sprouts containing the highest levels. You can also get your recommended 400 mcg of folate with avocado, peanuts, orange juice, leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale, and whole grains, among many other foods.

Omega-3

Dopamine and serotonin are chemicals in the brain that are produced by nerve cells. Serotonin is a natural mood stabilizer, and dopamine controls your feelings of pleasure and reward. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties in them, and they effect the transmission of dopamine and serotonin. Omega-3 also has a role in brain development and function, with the ability to stabilize moods. Omega 3 foods include salmon, walnuts, soybeans, and chia seeds.

There are many other nutritious foods that will serve as prime fuel for your brain, helping you perform, feel and be at your very best. Using this list to help change your eating habits for the better is a great step in the right direction.

If you’re struggling with a mood disorder and would like some support and guidance to live a more balanced life, contact my office today so we can set up a time to talk.