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Today’s Daily Tip: Remember that we all have days where we “fail.” It’s called being human. Build some “human-ness” into your plan and don’t look for perfection.
Everyone needs protein in their diet. Unlike fat, our bodies cannot store up protein, so we need to eat protein every day to stay healthy. We are literally made of protein from our bones to our muscles, arteries and veins, skin, hair, and fingernails. Our heart, brain, liver, kidneys, and lungs are built of tissue made of proteins. It is essential for growth, for the formation of hormones, for the process of blood clotting and it also helps regulate the acid-alkaline balance of tissues and blood.
The Best Source Of Protein
Animal sources, such as meat and eggs, are called “complete” proteins since they contain all nine essential amino acids. “Incomplete” proteins, such as in tofu made from soybeans, do not have large enough amounts of all the essential amino acids to be considered a good source of protein.
Protein And Fat Need Each Other
Not getting enough protein in your diet can lead to heart disease. Protein carries fat throughout the body. If it is deficient, then fat gets deposited on the body, rather than through it. However, if there is too much fat, even the protein cannot handle it and it still gets deposited. When eating high-fat foods, it is important to eat protein at the same time to lessen the increase in cholesterol and weight gain.
However, protein cannot be adequately utilized without dietary fats. That is why protein and fats occur together in eggs, milk, fish and meats. A high-protein, low-fat diet can cause many problems including too rapid growth and depletion of vitamin A and vitamin D reserves.
How Much Protein?
As with all other nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, the amount of protein required depends on the individual’s age, weight, sex, level of activity, total intake of calories, and health. Other considerations may also be important; growing children and teenagers, pregnant women, and persons recovering from illness all need more protein than the “average” person.
Temporary abstinence from animal products has been traditionally valued as a cleansing, healing practice. This wisdom is justified by the fact that meatless diets often prove beneficial in the treatment of cancer and other diseases such as arthritis, kidney problems and gout. But problems arise when the practice is continued for too long, such as, caries, bone loss, nervous disorders, and reproductive ailments.
We hear on the news, studies that red meat causes diseases and shortens your life, but this information is simply not true. Red meat is rich in iron and zinc, both which play important roles in the body’s use of essential fatty acids. I must say though, that the quality of our meat is very important.
The meat, milk and eggs in our supermarkets are highly contaminated and vastly inferior in nutritional quality to those available to our ancestors just a few decades ago. According to the renowned cancer specialist Virgina Livingston-Wheeler, most chicken and nearly half the beef consumed in America today is cancerous and pathogenic.
I don’t recommend that you stop eating meat, but I do suggest that you be aware of quality. Make an effort to obtain organic beef, lamb, and chicken. Other good meat choices include buffalo and wild game such as deer and birds like duck, pheasant, and wild turkey. Learn to eat the organs of land animals as well as their muscle meats. Here are some clever ways to include liver in your diet.
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Eggs from pasture-fed chickens are available at many health food stores. They are the most complete, nutritious and economical form of animal protein available.
Make a habit of eating fish, especially wild-caught, cold-water deep-sea fish, as often as possible. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins and many important minerals including iodine, selenium and magnesium.
How To Stretch Protein
Protein, especially good quality protein (as described above), is one of the most expensive grocery items. Often times that is the reason why we try to stretch our protein as much as we can, or even go without it. “Meatless Mondays” are especially popular. So, what do we use to fill the spot of protein on our plates? Pasta? Bread?
Here is what Nourishing Traditions suggests:
Animal fats and gelatin-rich bone broths both spare protein, which means that meat goes a lot further when eaten in broth or combined with animal fat. Individuals who must restrict protein consumption for budgetary reasons should include liberal amounts of good quality animal fats and budget-sparing bone broth in their diets.
Soups are a great way to stretch your protein and still get tons of minerals if you use bone broth.
Another way to stretch your protein is by increasing the amount of animal fat you consume with it. How about a rich cream sauce to go with your meat? Yum!
Eat More Eggs
Eggs are probably the most frugal form of animal protein, and are the perfect choice to help you stick to your budget if you love eating breakfast for supper! My husband and I each eat two eggs a day for breakfast, but if I make baked oatmeal or even egg casserole, we will consume less.
Perhaps the most nutrient dense way to stretch your protein is to mix in as much organ meat as your family can stand with you muscle meat, or eat organ meats straight! My husband loves liver; me… not so much, but I can eat it if I marinate it in apple cider vinegar first.
Here are a few protein-stretching meals to get you started. Enjoy!