Since starting my nutrition practice just a short 3 years ago, I’ve learned a lot about myself and even more from all of my clients.
Together we’ve discovered a variety of ways to support health through optimal nutrition, and sometimes it took some trial and error before settling on something that was going to work long-term. One thing that always remains the same though, is that we all need adequate protein and good quality fats in order to thrive.
Whether your goals are to #liftheavy or to #agegracefully these two macronutrients cannot be compromised.
One struggle that a lot of my client’s face is not knowing what to eat, or how to properly 'build' their meals.
While there are endless food options available in grocery stores, from restaurants, or online, I believe that many of us fall into the routine of eating the same things, or are stricken with 'analysis paralysis' in which we are just totally overwhelmed with all the information and options available.
Other reasons I've heard from clients who are having difficulty knowing what to eat include:
If any of the above hits home, then this one’s for you.
Recently I posted about the importance of protein, and a friend commented asking about vegetarian options. I appreciated this, as I was a vegetarian from the ages of 11-32. One of the reasons that I chose vegetarianism at the beginning was that I didn’t really like the taste of most meats, and since I was vegetarian for 22 years, I understand the challenge of ensuring a ‘well-rounded’ diet that included protein.
Unfortunately, in my personal experience, a vegetarian/vegan diet did not provide my body with what it needed even though I tried really hard. I included a variety of whole foods, and used processed vegetarian options to ‘complement’ my diet only occasionally. I took supplements as recommended by a naturopath. I exercised regularly, spent plenty of time outdoors and had a good social life. However, while I didn’t see things building until I became overwhelmed, I was dealing with health issues related to my diet including digestive problems, infertility, hypothyroid and allergies. I made the transition to re-introduce meat, 3 years ago, and since then my health has only gotten better and better.
While this was my experience, I know that there are people out there who have done the opposite and transitioned to a plant-based diet and claim that they feel better eating this way. However, I believe this is the minority. I trust my experience as well as the history and irrefutable science, all of which demonstrate that animal protein is what we are meant to base our diet on, and so this is what I recommend.
Now, there are so many options when it comes to protein. If you feel like I did at one point, that there’s a lot that you don’t like, be patient with yourself, but also, be open to trying something new or different. Perhaps you could consider trying one new recipe each week or so. But in the end, you are an adult, and you never have to eat anything that you don’t like!
Here’s a list of just some of the protein options I’ve found regularly available, either in the grocery store or from local farm or butcher shops, in my own community:
Personally, I find ground meat one of the easiest proteins to work with. It’s so versatile and forgiving. Here’s a list of just some of the options;
Another great resource available to everyone is Robb Wolf's Food Matrix. It’s an incredibly detailed, yet simple-to-use resource on how you can keep your meals focused on healthy proteins, fats & veggies without getting bored.
So even for those of you who stick to the same few proteins, the options are endless. Use spices and a variety of good fats to mix up the flavour profile.
If you’d like more support on finding protein centered meal plan to support your health, please reach out today!
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