Sep 16th, 2012
By Connie Moreno
First, I want to thank those of you who’ve so kindly responded to my incessant pleas for recipes–keep ’em coming folks! And for those who haven’t submitted recipes, it’s not too late. Email them to me here.
On to today’s topic: protein. This blog post was inspired by the numerous food journals that I review of both CrossFit athletes like you, as well as everyday people that I see in my other work as a health educator. What I find almost across the board for everyone that I see is that most people are under-eating protein. Now, that’s not to say that I’m advocating that everyone should immediatly shift to the other end of the spectrum and just eat meat. Instead I’d like to encourage you to really take a close look at your plate to see whether you could benefit from upping your intake.
Protein requirements are highly variable and are based on factors such as age, activity level and your goals. For example, children will require higher intakes because their bodies are rapidly growing. The RDA (recommended daily allowance) as it’s laid out by the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight for a sedentary adult. This is the amount that gets used up by the body on an average day. So, if you weigh 200 lbs, then your daily protein requirement is roughly 91 grams (90.9 kg x 0.8). What does that actually look like? That’s about 3 eggs (21g) for breakfast, 6 oz cooked chicken breast (37g) for lunch, and a 6 oz salmon filet (34g) for dinner. Seems doable right? Now, keep in mind, this is the recommendation for sedentary adults.
Now, what about you? Well, if you’re working out at CFO, then you’re clearly not sedentary and the RDA is simply not going to supply you with enough protein to replenish what your body uses plus the demands that exercise puts on your muscles. Ideally, your intake will be somewhere between 1-1.4 grams per kg of body weight depending on who you ask.
Once you’ve calculated what your needs are, then you can slowly work your way up to your target number. I’m not one for obsessively weighting, measuring, and tracking everything you put in your mouth, but it might be a good idea to log your meals for a few days on an online program like fitday.com to see if you’re meeting your goals. If this doesn’t work for you, here’s a quick and easy tip: 1 oz of meat, 1 lg egg, 1 oz of cheese and 2 tablespoons of peanut/almond butter are all equivelant to roughly 7 grams of protein.
Why is getting adequate protein important? Proteins are made up of 20 amino acids that are broken down and used by the body for a number of diffferent processes. Here are some of the reasons why I’m a huge proponent:
- improved mood (neurotransmitters are made from amino acids)
- balanced and even energy/more stable blood sugar
- increased satiety–protein keeps you full longer
- repairs & builds tissue and muscles
Since I’m suggesting you eat more protein, I should point out that if you’re going to be getting your protein from animals, I think it’d be wise of you to always chose organic and grass-fed over conventionally raised meats.
The bottom line here is that you should include protein in every meal. Try to get a variety of sources and make sure you’re eating enough. Your body will thank you! Read More