Habit #3: Eat Meat. With Every Meal.

March 16, 2015

Habit #3: Eat Meat. With Every Meal.

by Amanda Hepp Jackson, SHOP Blogger

I have a confession.  I was a vegetarian once.  For two whole years.  And one day after a grueling two-day ultimate frisbee practice  (confession:  I also used to play competitive ultimate frisbee) in the boiling temperatures of a Texas summer, I lost control of my limbs and my car drove itself to Chick-Fil-A where I bought a chicken sandwich, and I ate the hell out of it.  It was amazing.  And it was also the day I stopped being a vegetarian.

True story:  on the day I stopped being a vegetarian, I was also experiencing some legit weird body sensations like sweaty palms and rapid heart rate, and my body was telling me to eat some meat (and I hadn’t had meat in TWO YEARS).  I was craving it–just like Phoebe in that Friends episode where she’s pregnant with triplets and steals Joey’s sandwich.

I had to come to terms with the fact that while I still had (and still do have) some major ethical issues with factory farming (a different discussion for a different time), I knew that I needed to give my body more protein than I was giving it on my vegetarian diet.

I tell you this to show you that I had an actual wake-up call when I had a noticeable physical reaction to a lack of protein in my diet–most of the time, we’re not even aware of how our body is being impacted by a lack of protein.

So that brings us to Habit #3:  Eat protein with every meal.

You remember high school biology, right?  Remember how you learned that proteins are the building blocks of life and you totally filled in the correct bubble on that Scan-Tron?

Simply put, here’s how it works:  we take in protein and our body breaks down the protein into amino acids.  Then those amino acids go to work in various ways by producing needed molecules, repairing cells, transporting substances, and lots of other amazing things.  (We have this awesome maintenance guy in my apartment complex named Eddie.  He can fix everything and he’s super nice.  He’s kind of like the amino acids of our complex.)  Just like my hot water heater needs to be repaired occasionally by Eddie so that it works, your body needs adequate amounts of protein to function at an optimal level.  (Want diagrams?  Go here:  http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-protein)

You may be asking, well how much protein do I need?

(If I were at all proficient on Photoshop, I would put a SHOP shirt on the Arnold, but I’m not, so imagine him wearing a SHOP shirt instead of a Gold’s Gym shirt…)

Anyway, ladies, the protein on your plate should be the size of your palm.  Gents, two palms.  It’s that simple.

What’s nice about this whole protein thing is that it doesn’t seem to matter what kind of protein you eat.  So it can come from animals, plants, or powders.  Obviously you want to be eating as much whole, quality food as possible, but protein powders are certainly an option–especially post-workout (which is another really great time to have yo’self some protein).  Ask Drew about Trutein which is available at the SHOP and is “the best tasting stuff ever” (that’s a direct quote).

All this protein talk is making me hungry–if you need me, I’ll be making all of the eggs in my fridge.