There is a reason why I talk about, recommend, force feed and eat meat all the time. Itís not just because I believe meat eaters are superior beings to herbivores (yes, Iíll take a grizzly bear over a panda bear anyday if we are talking about which bear is more badass, but I still like and would totally cuddle with a panda okay.. so donít get bent out of shape.. I still have love for my herbies) but itís because your body NEEDS complete proteins.
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First of all letís talk about how awesome protein is. Itís one of the essential three macronutrients our bodies need to be healthy (carbohydrates, fat and PROTEIN.) Our body uses protein to build and repair muscle tissue; produces enzymes and hormones our bodies use to function; regulates body functions such as water balance and transportation of nutrients; boosts the immune system; gives you energy; aids in satiety.
However there complete proteins and incomplete proteins. What makes them different you ask? Great question! Well young grasshopper, proteins are molecules consisting of one or more chains (two chainz) of amino acids.
What the hell does that mean? Thatís an even better question! Amino acids make a protein. Just like you, your mom, your dad, your brother and your sister make your family. But letís say your sister was gone on a trip to the Bahamas and left you all at home (that bitch!) to celebrate Christmas on your own. You would feel incomplete wouldnít you? Well the same thing goes for protein! Basically there are nine essential amino acids that your body needs. Theyíre ESSENTIAL because your body cannot produce them, so you need to ingest them. If you do not get all nine of those essential amino acids, then the protein isnít complete.
I'm drooling as I post this...
The only foods that contain all nine of the essential amino acids thus making them a complete protein are animal based foods*.
- meat (bison, beef, venison, duck, lamb, etc)
- fish (shellfish included)
- eggs (and whites)
- dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, etc)
- protein powder (whey, casein, soy, egg white only)
- soy beans*
- quinoa* (yes, I know this is a weird one but quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids)
Now that I just dropped some knowledge on you, letís put this to workÖ.
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Letís say you are in the market for a new protein powder and youíve been hearing all this good stuff about this vegan protein powder. My first question to you is, ďare you vegan?Ē No? Okay, get some whey protein and drink that after your workout with some fruit. If you are vegan then stay tuned.. Iím gonna talk about getting complete proteins momentarily. If you just choose not to drink whey, then your next best choice would be to go with egg white protein powder or eat a whole food like some chicken after your workout.
Letís say you are vegetarian, then itís going to be really important for you to make sure you are getting all nine essential amino acids in your diet daily. This means lots of eggs, milk, yogurt, protein powders (possibly whey and casein) and quinoa. If you are confused an need help setting up a meal plan to ensure you are getting enough complete proteins, then let me know Ė I work with vegetarians on a regular basis to set up meal plans.
If you are vegan then you need to pay especially close attention to ensure you are going to get all of your essential aminos. No one wants to have a Christmas celebration without the entire family right? You gotta make sure you donít end up with a deficiency Ė it wonít be fun!
Legumes like lentils, peas or beans are lacking tryptophan and methionine but grains, nuts and seeds have plenty of that so a good meal may contain black beans and brown rice.
Grains like wheat, corn, rice and oats are lacking lysine, isoleucine and theonine, but legumes have plenty.
And nuts and seeds like sunflowers seeds, almonds and cashews are lacking lysine and isoleucine but once again legumes have plenty so if you are making a salad then make sure you add beans, sunflower seeds, and some brown rice.
If any of this confuses you, let me know! I can help!
The Get In Shape Girl