Eat Protein To Get Lean - Top 10 Protein Foods For a Healthy Diet
everybody knows that protein plays a critical role in achieving
and maintaining the body we want. You often hear of low carb or
low fat diets, but rarely if ever do you hear of a low protein diet
for good health or a fit body. That is because it is just that important
to get adequate lean protein in our diet if we even want to consider
having a sexy lean body. It may seem as cut an dry as boneless/skinless
chicken breasts, canned water-packed tuna, egg whites and whey powder,
and these are fine foods, but there are many incredible sources
of protein that will not only help dramatically improve your shape,
but also your total health. In addition, not all protein sources
that are best for health and fitness are all that lean, or ultra
low in fat. Lets sort through the basics and find out what
the best sources of this critical macronutrient are.
Top Ten List of High Protein Foods To Eat:
10.) Amish-style, organic raw milk cheese: Cheese? On a
diet? Cheese is thought of by most folks to be the ultimate fat
food, building an obese body one slice after succulent slice. But
wait a minute, if the cows are organically grass-fed and the milk
not pasteurized, the fat in cheese is actually very healthy, with
some omega-3 fatty acids and CLA acting on your lean behalf. The
protein is all casein, a slow digesting protein that I wouldnt
recommend immediately post workout, but for a late evening snack
or on a salad, a pretty good choice. You can find several varieties
at natural whole food markets.
9.) Organic, free-range chicken breast: Most commercial
chicken these days are laden with hormones, antibiotics, pesticides
and food-borne pathogens. They arent worth your time, money
or health! However, natural, free-range white chicken meat is super
lean and a healthy protein source. For a little more bank, it is
available at most supermarkets. You still need to cook this thoroughly,
to 155°F minimum. Pull off that fatty skin too. Other than that,
grill, bake, broil, or sauté and enjoy!
8.) Milk-fed veal, preferably from an organic, grass-fed mother:
Just because it is an excellent source of protein doesnt mean
you have to eat it. I personally dont eat veal, as I dont
like the idea of slaughtering young calves for food. From a nutritional
standpoint, however, it is worth mentioning because it is a truly
lean and healthy protein choice. Anyway, to each there own.
7.) Farm fresh eggs from free-range, organically vegetarian-fed
chickens: True eggs like these, yolks included, are excellent
whole foods and a rich source of nutrition and bioavailable protein.
Eggs of this nature can be eaten raw and also can be stored at room
temperature, with virtually no risk of food-borne illness. Check
with local ranches or farms and inquire about purchasing farm fresh
eggs, safe to eat everyday. If you buy commercial eggs, their okay,
but you need to refrigerate them and cook them before consuming.
I also would eat mainly the whites if Im looking to get lean,
as the yolks are not that great in commercial eggs.
6.) High quality whey protein powder: There are many varieties
of whey protein powder available and most are probably a royal waste
of money. The poorest quality ones are also typically the cheapest
as well, consisting of whey that is simply a byproduct of the cheese
making process. It is waste that is sold by dairies cheaply to supplement
companies. It is then cross-filtered or deionized, then powdered
and sold to you at a price gouging markup. Ouch! If that isnt
enough, they fill them up with artificial sweeteners like Aspartame,
Sucralose, and Asulfame K along with artificial flavors. Some companies
even blend them off into so-called patented formulas using cheaper
proteins as fillers like soy protein isolates and dehydrated milk.
They might even sell it at this point as a meal replacement product
and add corn syrup solids, maltodextrin, and a pinch of vitamins.
High quality whey should be made from cows not treated with hormones,
hopefully they are organically grass-fed, and made from non pasteurized
milk. It is best if it is not all ion-exchanged or cross-flow microfiltered,
but also contains a little whey concentrate with a bit of the natural
carbohydrate and fat still intact.
Whey is truly an amazing protein in its natural form. It contains
immune boosting probiotics like Lactoferrin, Immunoglobulins, and
IGEs (insulin like growth factors). However, when milk is pasteurized
and then most of the carbohydrate and fat stripped away during ion-exchange,
what is left is a highly pure and predigested whey powder. That
may sound great, but it tends to digest too quickly and easily,
where your body cant even utilize it fast enough. Do I still
recommend whey in this form? Yes, but only to be used under certain
circumstances. Use standard pure ion-exchange or cross-filtered
whey, but only in a pre-workout protein drink or a post-workout
carb/protein drink. That is the time that the sudden blast of amino
acids is likely to be better utilized and not wasted. I recommend
Jay Robb's Whey Protein as it tastes great and uses only Stevia
and natural flavors and the cows arent hormone treated. If
you know a whey manufacturer that does fit the correct criteria;
that the whey is made from organic, grass-fed cows milk, never
pasteurized and with some of the concentrate still in the product;
go ahead and use it anytime.
5.) Free-range & organic turkey: Turkey is a great protein
source. It is leaner than chicken and more nutritious as well. The
dark meat on turkey is even more nutritious than the white and when
ground, can be easily substituted for beef, pork, or chicken in
most recipes. Turkey contains two amino acids in relatively high
quantities that are worth talking about. The first is Arginine.
Arginine creates Nitric Oxide in the bloodstream, which acts as
a natural vasodilator (widens blood vessels). Widening of the blood
vessels can help shuttle nutrients to muscles and organs, give your
skin a rosy and healthy glow, allow you to think more clearly and
aid both men and women in the bedroom (amazing what a little blood
flow will accomplish). Turkey also contains Tryptophan, which causes
sleepiness, just think about how you feel following Thanksgiving
dinner. I recommend turkey mostly as a dinner food. I wouldnt
send my kids to school with a turkey sandwich everyday. Just try
to find organic free-range turkey whenever possible.
4.) Ocean, lake or river caught lean fish: Im talking
true fish, with gills and scales, not shellfish like shrimp, scallops,
lobster, crab, clams, oysters, mussels, or crawfish. Shellfish are
merely scavengers that feed off the trash and pollution at the bottom
of oceans, seas, and lakes. Because of this, they help to clean
up the oceans, but themselves are filthy and if you eat them regularly,
increase your chance of food-borne illness exponentially. They are
also highly allergenic foods, so beware. The real fish to consume
are orange roughy, perch, flounder, trout, bass, sea bass, halibut,
snapper, grouper, sole, haddock, tuna (ahi, yellowtail or even canned)
or cod. These fish contain little fat but high protein contents.
The fat they do contain is full of omega-3 fatty acids. The key
is making sure they are wild fish, not farmed, to get all the benefits.
They cook up quick too, either baked, poached, grilled or sautéed.
Nix the breading and try with a little lemon and herbs or real herb
butter. Youll find that they make a tasty and healthy treat.
3.) Wild salmon and other fatty fish: They key word here
is wild, and this typically comes from Alaska. There are several
varieties like Sockeye, Copper River and King and all are amazing
foods. The difference between wild Alaskan salmon and farmed salmon
(Atlantic salmon) is night and day. Wild salmon are free and active,
eating their natural diet of algae and krill and the pink to red
color is 100% natural. The wild salmon is full of omega-3 fatty
acids and the powerful antioxidant and carotenoid, Astaxanthin.
Other good choices are sardines and anchovies. There is one drawback
and that is that the oceans are becoming quite polluted and salmon
is not as safe as it was several years ago. PCBs and heavy metals
are wreaking havoc on our oceans, seas, lakes and rivers. Unfortunately,
toxins and chemicals tend to store themselves in fat and these are
fatty fish. To be safe, eat these fish and/or salmon maybe 2-3 days
a week maximum. For additional omega-3 fatty acids, grind flaxseeds
into yogurt or try grass fed meats and cheeses. You can also take
a high quality purified fish or krill oil supplement.
2.) Grass fed & organic red meats: Wow, beef right up
there near the top? Heresy! Wait a minute, before you have a beef
with beef. This is no ordinary beef, but an extraordinary nutritional
food. The key is that the animals are organically grass fed only
(not organic grain fed or typical commercial beef).
Not just beef either, but bison and lamb are also excellent choices
as long as the same principals apply. The grass is the animals
natural food source, and without pesticides, antibiotics and hormones,
the meat becomes nothing short of a superior protein choice to almost
anything. It is full of omega-3 fatty acids and CLA, two fats that
help make you lean and even at that, these meats are leaner than
their commercial counterparts. Being leaner than typical beef of
the same cut, the flavor may be a bit more gamey, but can still
be used in all your favorite recipes just as normal beef. I prefer
to eat meats that are cooked to medium rare, as this retains more
of the nutrients, yet without being too bloody, but regardless of
your preferred degree of doneness, these valuable meats will take
your protein consumption to a whole new level.
1.) Wild game meats: Deer and elk, mainly, are two incredibly
healthy meat sources that most people would not even consider. That
is mainly because the consumption of these has been mainly left
to sportsmen that actually hunt. A little like veal, in that not
everybody wants a bite of Bambi, but these are very healthy no less.
Surprisingly, with the explosion of giant outdoor superstores and
specialty grocers, these meats are becoming more available for the
average consumer. Why are they so healthy? They feed mostly on natural,
unfertilized grasses and foliage, are active and healthy animals
that spend most of their time trotting or running through forest
and meadowlands. These animals never take growth hormones, eat from
feed troughs or get antibiotic injections. Their meat is very lean,
yet what little fat they do have contains high levels of essential
omega-3 fatty acids and CLA.
Now, I would suggest 50% or more of your total protein intake
come from above preferred foods list. That doesnt mean you
cant eat other proteins like pasteurized dairy products, commercial
meats, fermented soy products like miso or tempeh, or even occasional
pork or shellfish dishes. It just means you should eat those foods
more sparingly now.
By Zach Smith