Lean Mean Protein Fiend
I've touched on this, but want to give protein its own moment because it not only affects my body, but my mood and energy as well.
I fluctuate in weight depending on PMS, season, whatever... I've (eventually) worked out that it is not something I need to get down on myself about. If I have a few good tools, I can work around this.
Disclaimer: I really think that everyone has different foods that they thrive on- my girlfriend runs marathons and is a carb monster. I mean, proper Italian style- pizza to pasta to tiramisu and back to pasta for dessert. I, however, am a Protein Fiend and I find that unless I am doing frequent and intense bouts of cardio- and we are talking miles and miles, my dears- carbs can sit on me like innertubes and ultimately contribute to lethargy- which is the last thing I know I need after a carb binge.
Being from the United States, it's pretty common to find red meat in every meal. You wake up to bacon for breakfast, burger for lunch and pork chops or steak for dinner. Though I probably wouldn't complain at first, I am not advocating for this at all- for the environmental impact alone. We must try to cut down on foods that impact the planet and source our food responsibly. I am advocating for healthy, moderate sources of protein. This can be found not only in meats, but in pulses, vegetables and seeds as well. I find, what works best for me is lean and clean protein.
Protein is a marvellous tool for weight loss. What I've noticed is that it is so much harder to overeat protein as opposed to carbohydrates. I've never once said, "Oh man, I went way overboard on the roast chicken and quinoa at lunch", but how often have you said, "Why? Why? Whyaaa? Did I eat that much cheese pizza?" or "Did I actually just eat that whole bag of crisps?" Furthermore, post-meal it's all the easier to pass on empty sugary carbs when you're constitution is content with a full (leaner) stomach of protein.
These are my quick protein fixes- Order or cook accordingly;
Eggs: They are the easiest go-to protein smash. You can scramble them, poach them, boil them as a main or on the go snack. Super easy- get to love them!
Lentils: Serve these on their own with beets and feta or throw them in any main- Pasta, chili, salad. If you're adding to a veg dish for protein bulk or serving it as a side, their gentle nutrient flavour adds sneaky protein that is flexible, healthy and better for the earth than a filet mignon.
Salmon: But it must be sustainably caught and not farmed- the fishing industry is something to be mindful of- which brings me to...
Tuna: I LOVE tuna but it has higher levels of mercury and is something that needs to be bought with great prudence from sustainable sources and LINE-CAUGHT.
Poultry: Turkey and chicken are always good sources, but I encourage clean meats- that means cage-free organic and local if you can. You'll thank me on flavour alone.
Green Peas: They are delicious and easily added to almost anything- a high in protein veg, these little guys need their lip service.
Duck: Duck can be found on many menus, but because of it's darker meat and richer flavours, isn't always considered the healthiest choice. I disagree; maybe eat the duck first and take the mountain of mashed potatoes that accompanies it home for your little ones to devour the next morning.
Feeling up to the Game? I love a bit of buffalo or venison. It's rich in flavour and mixes things up a bit.
Spinach, kale and cavolo nero- These three are my dream team meal. They add sneaky protein AND veg! They bulk up the meal, not only with protein but vitamins and minerals that my waistline and skin thrive on. Think about it: breakfast- spinach omelette, lunch- kale, lentil, feta and steamed broccoli, dinner-salmon and wilted cavalo nero. Now that is basically a deliciously easy protein day. My personal fave is loads of Megan's Bolognese atop a combo of these three leafy lovelies. You may actually find yourself saying, 'No- I don't care for the pasta'.