Most Standard American Diets are not lacking in protein, but they are lacking in plant protein, and a higher quality animal protein, in moderation.
When it comes to protein, it's not about eating more. In reality, the Standard American Diet is not lacking in protein. In fact, too much animal protein, not enough plant protein and poor quality protein is the real problem. While most plant based proteins are not considered a whole protein, as they do not contain all 9 essential amino acids, they do contain protein, as well as phytonutrients, antioxidants and fiber that is absent in animal proteins. They are also a great source of vitamins and minerals.
The reality is, we don't need every essential amino acid in every bite of food. We will better meet our nutritional and protein needs by focusing on eating a variety of whole foods. Whole foods have the right balance of nutrients. When you increase your variety of whole foods, you ensure that you meet all your macronutrient needs, not just protein.
Here are a few examples of
Quality Plant Based Proteins:
Organic quinoa, organic amaranth, organic buckwheat, organic brown rice, organic wild rice, organic oat groats, organic beans, organic lentils, organic peas, organic chickpeas, organic nuts, organic seeds, organic kale, organic spinach, organic potatoes, organic corn, organic broccoli, organic mushrooms, organic artichokes, organic arugula, organic brussels sprouts, organic asparagus, organic cauliflower, organic summer and winter squash etc.
While fruit is not know for it's protein, it still does contain protein. Some fruits with higher protein to calorie ratios are: organic guavas, organic dates, organic blackberries, organic apricots, organic raspberries, organic pomegranate, organic orange, organic kiwi, organic cherries, organic avocado, organic bananas.
Quality Animal Based Protein: organic, pastured eggs; organic raw milk and raw dairy products; wild caught fish; organic pastured meats; wild game.
We need to be very careful when we consume animal proteins. Organic and pastured eggs are much more nutritious and digestible than conventional eggs. Raw milk and raw dairy products from pastured animals are unbelievably more nutritious and digestible than conventional dairy. The same is true for wild caught fish, and wild game.
Our convenience based society has led us to believe that something like a boneless, skinless chicken breast is a great source of protein, when in fact you have just discarded the very things that will help you utilize the animal protein in an efficient and effective way. When you prepare meat, include the bones, skin, fat, tendons and other connective tissues etc. in your preparations. The meat will be more flavorful, moist and nutritious.
It's important to eat meat in moderation. Instead of a big hunk of steak or chicken breast, eat smaller portions in dishes such as a stir fry, or a curry. You can then save the bones, skin, fat, tendons and other tissues to make a gelatinous broth.
There's good reason for the bone broth craze! The gelatin protein produced in properly prepared bone broth and meat broth preparations is very beneficial and quite lacking in our diet, as we generally discard the very things that produce this gelatin. Gelatin is a protein sparer. It allows the body to more effectively and efficiently utilize the other animal proteins consumed. In reality, we don't need to eat more protein, we just need to eat it in a more efficient and effective way. This is not only more healthy for us, it's more economical, sustainable and beneficial for our planet.
In addition, gelatin aids in digestion. If you have any food sensitivities, or digestion issues: gelatin is your friend! Unfortunately, for our fast paced society, it's not the powdered gelatin so many companies are marketing today. It's not the bone broth powder, or even chocolate bone broth powder you can buy. It's not the watery bone broth in a container on the shelf, or fridge section of the grocery store. It's the gelatin that you produce in your own kitchen that is a by product of the bones, skin, fat, tendons and other connective tissues. Maybe you remember your mom or grandma stewing a chicken, or simmering a turkey carcass in a big pot and then placing the liquid in a container in the fridge? It would then turn jiggly like Jello. That's it! That's the real deal gelatin protein.
Bone broth is a fad, but it's not a new. In fact, if you look at other cultures with rich food traditions, you will notice that a type of broth is always an important part of their diet. The fast food of previous generations was a pot of perpetual stew. They added a little of what was available each day to their pot. Of course, when an animal was available, they utilized as much of it as possible in these stews. They likely didn't understand that what they were creating out of necessity, was in reality, much more nutritious than the vast majority of what we consume today.
The best way for us to consume the gelatin protein, is not as I have said, in powder form. Commercially prepared gelatin, is highly processed. It contains a higher amount of free glutamic acid, similar to MSG and can cause mild to serious reactions in some people. The real way to get the amazing benefits of gelatin, is to use gelatinous broth, as much as possible, in our meal preparations ie: soups, stews, sauces, gravies, curries, stir fries etc.
I find it fascinating that when we are more careful in our animal protein preparations, we get the most nutrition. When we consume animal proteins in a more sustainable way, we reap more benefits.
Our earth and what it provides is an amazing gift. We need to be more conscientious in caring for it. Mother Nature always provides the most nourishment for us when we are careful in consuming what has been provided.
Read about protein powders here and for a real food protein shake, check this out.