Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Great Sources of Protein

There are several great proteins available. What is the big deal about protein? There is tons of about the data benefits of protein, with many now saying that a consistent intake throughout the day whether you’re trying to lose fat or gain muscle is the way to go. I’d argue that protein timing, meaning the frequency of intake, trumps total protein intake. Most people eat very little protein for breakfast and lunch, then load up at dinner. Instead, a better approach would be to spread that same total amount throughout the day. The reason is protein helps fill you, it helps your muscles repair and recover from exercise, and quality proteins, like the great sources of protein listed below, provide the important amino acids we all need to function optimally. That being said, here are the proteins: Great Sources of Protein Whole eggs. While these are in no particular order, if there was a #1, whole eggs could arguably top the list. It’s hard to find a comparable source of high quality protein. And whole eggs is key – while the whites do have some protein, too, you get even more in the yolk, along with a plethora of other great nutrients. Therefore, I put my recommendation in for whole Eggs as the best protein source. Wild salmon. Wild salmon is loaded with protein. With around 7 grams per ounce, it’s certainly something to include on the weekly menu. It’s also loaded with great for you omega-3 fats, which are one of the most important nutrients you should eat more of. With animal based proteins, the less legs the better — which means fish are at the top of the list. Cottage cheese. This is one of my favorites! It is protein packed (16 grams for just 1/2 cup). Instead of always doing the basic cottage cheese and fruit, become creative with what you put in your cottage cheese. Here is an example; a couple spoonfuls on a Wasa crisp, some cracked black pepper and chopped jalapeno. Pretty amazing! It’s a perfect snack … and if you can’t get over the texture, try blending it in a smoothie or just blending it with a little fruit. Beef. It’s hard to knock the quality protein in beef, even though I'm not a big meat eater. It’s loaded with quality amino acids (building blocks of protein), zinc, iron, magnesium and plenty of other important nutrients. Stick with some of the leaner cuts like eye of round roast or steak, sirloin tip side steak, sirloin steak, or flank steaks. And it doesn’t have to just be a steak or a burger, try making fajitas with beef or top a salad with sliced flank. Greek yogurt. At around 16 grams per cup, this is a no brainer. With double the protein of “regular” yogurt and half the sugar, it’s a great choice for a snack or even a meal when you mix something with a bit of substance — nuts, fruit, etc. Sardines. They’re loaded with protein, but also omega-3 fats and vitamin D, yet low in contaminants that permeate the majority our seafood today. Whey protein. Whey protein is loaded with amino acids, particularly some key aminos called branched chain amino acids, that may specifically aid in recovery and muscle repair. Making a smoothie with a little fruit, maybe some veggies and a handful of nuts is a fantastic meal or snack. It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s convenient. And at around $2-$3 per 20 grams of protein, it’s high on the list of the best protein sources. Poultry (chicken, turkey, etc). Roasting a whole chicken at least once per week to have for dinner and the have a convenient, quality lunch option for the next day or two. Short on time? Pick up an already cooked rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store. This is a good option when pressed for time. Same with turkey — don’t just save this one for Thanksgiving Day. Nuts. These aren’t the highest source of amino acids — in fact, they’re a bit limited. BUT, for convenience sake they made the list. They’re a perfect snack, portable and not perishable. That means you can forget about them in your desk, gym bag or locker and when you find them a month later, they’re still edible. They’re also a great source of of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and fiber. Quinoa. Another vegetarian based protein, but my all time favorite. Unlike nuts, this one is a complete protein, meaning it has all the essential amino acids. I’d call this a “win win” for packing in a serious nutrients. I substitute this one for oatmeal quite often. In fact — cooked it in almond milk, added a handful of toasted almond, some fresh berries and raw honey. Provides you tons of energy to start the day!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Creating a Healthy Diet During and After Cancer Treatment

Considering the fact that I just lost a very dear friend to cancer, I thought sharing this article by David Haas, the the Director of Awareness Programs for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance was appropriate. Please read. My name is David Haas and I am the Director of Awareness Programs for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. I have been fortunate enough to be given this opportunity to tell you all about some of the information I have learned while doing research on the benefits of eating healthy for cancer patients. Below I have highlighted some health tips below. Not only is it important to stay as healthy as possible during and after cancer treatments, some patients may not realize that they require a completely different diet during this period. Many cancer treatments cause a wide array of side effects including major changes to their appetite and their body’s ability to digest food. For those that are wondering how to create a customized diet during their cancer treatment, here is a closer look at some of the best foods to keep one’s body as healthy as possible while it is undergoing the stresses of cancer and cancer treatments. Whether it has been a lung cancer, leukemia, thyroid cancer, or mesothelioma diagnosis, many studies note that one of the most important meals to plan for is breakfast. The Cancer Research UK claims that this meal is absolutely necessary in order to ward off some of the most common side effects of cancer treatment. Many times, patients will experience a serious lack energy when undergoing these treatments and cancer puts an exceptional amount of strain on the body. As many calories as possible should be ingested including complex carbohydrates to provide energy. Fresh produce and whole grains should also be included in every breakfast. Some of other common side effects of cancer and cancer treatments include diarrhea, constipation, dry mouth, appetite loss, sore mouth, nausea, and lactose intolerance. This means that all meal plans should be planned around any of the symptoms that the patient is currently experiencing. The key to this diet is to plan ahead as much as possible and not leave any meal up to chance. One’s refrigerator and cupboard should be filled with healthy snacks and easy meal options to reduce the chance of binging on unhealthy foods. Those undergoing treatment should also reduce their intake of alcohol, saturated fats, red meats, and dairy products. No matter the meal, lean protein and produce should be the cornerstone. In order to bypass meat products, there are a number of healthy alternatives for consuming the appropriate amount of protein. This includes tofu, almond milk, coconut milk, quinoa, and various nuts and legumes. Another important consideration is to keep all food items as fresh as possible. This will maximize the nutrients in every single meal and make each ingredient count towards creating a healthy lifestyle. A customized diet for those undergoing cancer treatment is indispensible. Cancer and cancer treatment is already difficult enough. There is no need for people to make it more difficult on him or her by not giving themselves a proper diet that includes things like complex carbohydrates and lean proteins. A diet can go a long way in helping to manage side effects of treatment, so nutrition should not be taken lightly. To Your Health John