Finding Good Sources of Protein

Selection of protein sources
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Protein is one of my biggest focus points with clients, patients and family members. Are you getting enough protein? Do you think about where protein comes from? Are you getting way too much protein?

My husband and I had dinner once with a couple and the other couple's male counterpart discussed his diet regimen with us — it included an excessive amount of protein powder. The man was taking in well over 150 grams of protein a day. Unless you worry about the nutrition content of foods like I do, you may not realize that 150 grams is way too much. But that is what registered dietitians are for … to help with a balanced and healthy meal plan. 

If you have ever tried the Atkins diet or modified South Beach diets or any other protein-only diet, you will find that the "science" behind these diets is based on ketosis. Ketosis is when your body increases the ketones in your blood, causing it to burn fat as the primary fuel. It does not mean that these diets are good because, frankly, they are not balanced and you miss out on other nutritionally dense foods. You will lose weight, but it is only a temporary Band-Aid when the focus should be a lifestyle change. 
What does all of this mean for unrefined living?

Here is the 411 — you need protein, and it should take up roughly 20 percent of your diet. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian or carnivore, protein is an important part of your diet and your family’s diet. 
Here are some recommended sources of protein for unrefined living:

Eggs: Poach, scramble, hard boil or fry in coconut oil. 

Lean cuts of beef: Loin and round are the leanest cuts of the cow. Consider switching to farm-raised and grass-fed, trying to steer clear of corn-fed.

Chicken: Without the skin. Consider also switching chicken to farm-raised and grass-fed. 

Pork: I'm not a big fan of pork, but if it is a must on your go-to list, think lean white meat. NOT BACON … say no thanks to nitrates, salt and fillers.

Some other sources of protein include dairy products. I'll touch on these in later posts, but until then, consider buying only skim or low-fat dairy and organic dairy products (I know this can be expensive, but other than apples and a few other fruits and vegetables, the only organic products I recommend buying are organic dairy products). 

Beans: A great source of protein and, with hundreds of varieties to choose from, you should be able to find your favorites. 

Nuts and seeds: Also a good source of protein and especially easy to squeeze into snack time. 

Soy products: I'll explore soy products in a later post as well. In the meantime stick with edamame and soy milk. 

Fish: A great source of not only lean protein, but good fats. Bake, grill or broil it and stay away from farm-raised or fish imported from other countries. Canned tuna is OK as long as it's stored in spring water. 

Grains: Another source of protein that we'll explore in a later post, especially quinoa. 

Take some time to think about what you eat and where you get your protein from. It's easy to get it unrefined, which will make it healthier for you and your family. Stay tuned for more recipes and ways to eat unrefined! 

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Brandi Thompson
Brandi Thompson, RD, LDN, is a registered and licensed dietitian and a mom of two young children. She is also the ambassador of Boca Raton's Food Revolution Day and a consultant for Broward County's TOUCH grant for preschools. Read her blog, ABCD Eat Right, and follow her Dietitian's Husband Unrefined journey on Facebook.