Stop Debating About Eating Protein. Stay Paleo. Here’s why . . . .
It’s not about protein, it’s about balance
Despite what you may think, I’m not the guy that’s going to tell you to eat lots and lots of protein. Protein is definitely necessary though, protein is an essential part of the diet. But, it does not make any other aspect of the diet less important. The bulk of your diet should be plants and healthy fats, but also include protein. What I am suggesting is that if you don’t eat a balanced diet, with plants fats and proteins, you will most certainly have metabolic dysfunction.
They are just rumors
Almost everyone has heard all the negatives about protein especially red meats. And because of that many people do not want to eat it on a regular basis. One of the comments you will hear most is that red meat is high in fat, and that somehow the consumption of fat also makes you fat.. You will also hear that the regular consumption of red meat can cause chronic disease and osteoporosis. And if you dig hard enough you will find someone preaching that you can get kidney damage when you eat too much red meat. And of course there is some medical evidence of this to a certain degree, but you aren’t hearing the full story. What these people are implying is that all proteins are the same and if you eat enough of it you should expect these negative consequences.
Grass fed, organic only
The first point I need to differentiate with you here is that not all meats are the same. Even some of the scientific studies are now finally differentiating meat sources. A cow raised in a pasture allowed to graze freely on grasses is much different than a cow raised for market that gets pumped full of corn at a feed lot. The cow raised on grasses has a meat composition that is higher in healthy fats, free of harmful antibiotics and hormones, and devoid of potential triggers for the immune system. In comparison, the cows grown on feed lots turn out to be “heifers”, speaking figuratively of course. They are fatter, less healthy and have excess hormones. Thus, choosing a grass fed source of meat is superior. Moreover, if you view food through the prism of the Paleo Diet, the only source of meat is grass fed. Inherently if you are living off of the land, there is not another option. So having established where our meat should come from and that it should be consumed as part of a balanced diet, let’s talk about the importance of protein. Don’t buy into the notion that you are better off eating only plants. Yes, most of the diet should come from plants. I will even pose that some a very small segment of the population does better with limited protein from meat. Yet, this is the exception rather than the rule.
Protein = Amino Acids
Protein broken down into Amino acids is a very vital part of our biochemistry. The Paleo Diet, a diet that helps restore metabolic function, can only do so with adequate protein. Adequate protein insures that the biochemical processes in our body that depend on the amino acids that come from protein are supplied. To make this more tangible, let me give you just a handful of the uses of dietary protein and why it is so important.
We need protein to function
Your gastrointestinal tract is arguably the most important system in the body. Protein fuels the regeneration of the gastrointestinal tract, a process that happens daily. You may think this is counter intuitive as some will say that excess protein causes constipation. It does, when not part of a balanced diet. Let’s not digress on that point though. Not only does the gastrointestinal tract need proteins, but so does nearly every tissue in your body. We are protein based structures. Several of our neurotransmitters and hormones are derived from proteins such as serotonin and thyroxine (thyroid hormone). Protein helps make us efficient. It is integral to energy production and metabolic rate. This happens not just through hormones like thyroxine that come from proteins, but also as a virtue of just consuming the Paleo Diet. The right selection of foods increases metabolic rate. The fact is that I am just scratching the surface of all of the uses of protein and why it is absolutely critical that you consume regular amounts.
Arguing against the merits of protein and suggesting that the diet should contain limited amounts of it neglects basic biochemistry. In fairness, the diet should be mostly plant based, but there should also be adequate consideration given to protein consumption as part of a Paleo Diet. So ease your mind. Rather than feel guilty about the consumption of protein, take pleasure in it and know that you are giving your body what it needs.