Power of Protein

We are deluged with diets, from Atkins to the Zone, and everything in between. They all have worthy components, aspects that work to help us with our nutrition and weight goals. Ultimately, we all discover what works best for us. In that process of discovery, it is often important to understand some basic, fundamental truths about nutrition.

I was once out with a group of hikers, and a dude with all the right REI equipment, opened his Cliff Bar and said “13 grams of protein in here, it’ll give me energy” I didn’t want to contradict Ranger Dave, but truth is protein is not about giving the body energy, its about building and repairing tissues. Protein already lives in almost every cell in our body. The amino acids that are found in all proteins are the building blocks of our muscles. When we really need protein is after the workout, when the muscles are recovering. That Cliff Bar was going to be put to use on the other side of the mountain.

Unlike fat and carbohydrates, which also make up a good portion of our caloric intake, our bodies do not store protein. So be mindful of when you are exerting yourself and when those muscles are going to need a little love as they repair, rebuild and SHiFT!

Recipes for Success
We aren’t talking about eating steak all day, try some fun mix and match snacks:

  • pumpkin seeds and greek yogurt
  • almond butter on celery
  • mango and avocado over greens
  • deli wraps, slice of turkey, slice of cheese, lettuce and tomato, wrap it up and enjoy
  • shish kabob a cheddar chunk and alternating green and red grapes, kids will love too!

And for the main course . . .easy and light for the Summer

Summer Soup
3.5 pounds fresh tomatoes chopped
1 can navy beans (high in protein)
2 T chia seeds (pro protein!)
3 T olive oil
3 T red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
cilantro (for topping l)

Throw it all in a blender, top with cilantro.  Mix in some fresh peas, squash, whatever you get from the garden.

Tuna Patties
Organic canned tuna
1.5 cups cooked quinoa
herbs and spices, lemon juice

Mix together, form into patties, then pan fry or grill.  Add some sun dried tomatoes or chopped bell peppers for color and flavor.

Crock Pot Chili
Using the crock pot in the Summer is a great way for a hot meal without heating up the kitchen.

I pound ground turkey
1 bag dry lentils (no need to soak)
5 fresh roma tomatoes, bell peppers (think color)
1 can black bean
16 oz. Broth or Veggie stock
salt and pepper

Brown the meat in a skillet, drain fat. Add all ingredients cover with broth, slow cook on low 4-6 hours.

No matter where you are on your nutrition path, knowing what we put into our body, why we put it into our body and making it taste delicious … that’s how we SHiFT to better place !

Written by SHiFT Instructor and guest blogger, Emily Webster.