Becoming educated about nutrition is awesome because you can say goodbye to yo-yo dieting, and instead; adopt a new way to eat for the rest of your life. Once you have the knowledge about which foods are healthy choices; you will be able to control your weight naturally, and feel better overall.
One area of nutrition that I’ve learned a lot about since I started this course is protein. I used to think that the only way to get protein was to eat chicken, beef, pork and canned tuna. A lot has changed. I now eat chicken once a week, pork & beef once a month (maybe), and canned tuna every couple months. To explain how this transformation came about; I’ll provide you with a quick lesson on protein.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and are vital to health. They are involved in making the neurotransmitters in our brain, which influence how we feel. For example, the amino acid tryptophan makes the neurotransmitter serotonin, which makes you feel happy, and the amino acid phenylalanine makes the neurotransmitters adrenalin and dopamine, which make us feel motivated. You are what you eat!
There are 23 amino acids in total, but our body needs only 8 of the essential amino acids and from there; it can make all 23. So when it comes to the quality of protein; it’s best to choose a protein source that includes a good balance of the 8 essential amino acids. Here’s a list of good quality protein sources from “Optimum Nutrition for the Mind” by Patrick Holford:
(canned tuna was also listed here, but albacore tuna is high in mercury, so it should be consumed in moderation – twice a month)
Note: beans are an incomplete source of protein on their own, but when combined with a whole grain (like brown rice); you create a complete protein with all 8 essential amino acids.
You can see from this list why my idea of a good protein source has changed, and in turn, my food choices have changed. For example, my husband and I went out to a pub the other night, and I ordered the market fresh salmon with grilled veggies & rice. Now that I know how good salmon is for you (great source of protein & omega-3!); it’s an easy choice.
In terms of daily protein intake; a man should be eating 60-80g of protein per day, and a woman should be eating 40-60g per day. A sample meal for a man would be: 1 egg (10g) for breakfast, a 7oz salmon for lunch (40g) and a serving of beans with dinner (20g);
Remember, it’s not about fad diets. Get educated about healthy food, and change your lifestyle!