How Much Protein Do We Actually Need?

If you’ve been watching your health and nutrition, you’ve no doubt wondered if you were getting enough protein.

Before answering that question, it’s important to understand what proteins are, and how they function in our bodies.

Proteins are Macronutrients, along with Carbs and Fats.

Proteins are made up of amino acids.

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Once consumed and digested, the body breaks apart the amino acids, and then they are reconnected to form structures such as: bone, skin, muscle, organs, hair, and nails.

They are also used in other areas and functions of the body that we are not as aware of, such as enzymes, hormones, hemoglobin, the immune system, repair, brain function, genes, and much more.

The amino acids from proteins also help vitamins and minerals to be utilized properly.

Complete Proteins/ Incomplete Proteins

There are Complete Proteins and Incomplete Proteins.

Complete means that we are getting the full profile of amino acids essential to us.

Any time we say essential in nutrition, it means that the body cannot synthesize it and we need to get it from our diet.

We get Complete Proteins from meat, fish, eggs, and dairy.

We get Incomplete Proteins from legumes, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, and vegetables.

So, if you have decided to be vegan (which is a good way to save the planet), it is very important that you combine foods to get the full profile of essential amino acids.

A deficiency in any essential amino acid can lead to serious illnesses.

These are just a few of the combinations:

  • almonds / buckwheat
  • barley / kidney beans
  • corn tortillas / beans
  • lima beans / brown rice
  • cauliflower, spinach / cashews
  • hummus / Pita bread
  • mixed vegetables / pumpkin seeds

Do you notice some traditional combinations?

Generally, if you combine beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds you will get the compete profile of the essential amino acids.

A disruption in the synthesis of essential amino acids can also be caused from pollution, alcohol, processed food, smoking, drugs given to animals that provide us with meat sources, and pesticides

If you have been reading my blogs (are you?) you will recall that in my “Why Do We Need Carbs?” post, I mentioned that carbs were the primary source of energy, the secondary source being fat. If the diet is low in carbs and fats, the body will break down tissue. The body does not store amino acids in reserve the way it stores fats.

There are two other important functions of protein in the body. One is to maintain fluid/salt balance. This is how your heart, lungs and nervous system functions properly.

The second function is maintaining Alkaline/acid balance so that the blood is kept at a Ph of 7.5.

Deficiency

Protein deficiency can happen if we are not consuming enough protein or not digesting it properly.

A deficiency in proteins would most likely occur because of starvation. Causes include: unavailable proper nutrition, eating disorders, alcoholism, an undiagnosed digestive disorder, or general poor digestion.

Any of these causes could lead to weight loss (tissue loss), water retention (extremely bloated abdomen), general weakness, hair loss, and an inability to heal wounds.

Excess

If one is consuming too much protein, they run the risk of developing kidney stones: both uric and calcium stones.

Kidney stones occur when calcium is released from the bones. Now remember, we need to keep calcium in the bones in order not to develop osteoporosis, therefore Osteoporosis can also be a risk factor in a high protein diet.

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Protein Powders

There is an abundant selection of protein powders on the market.

It is important to choose the right one according to the results one needs or wants.

Is it a meal replacement?

Is it for bulking up? This one is for those building muscle (and hopefully accompanied by weight training) otherwise – guess what? – you’ll just get fat.

Read labels carefully when choosing a protein supplement to make sure you are getting one without additives, food colouring, or ingredients you may be allergic to.

Requirements

The average adult needs about 0.37 gr per lbs weight or 0.08 gr. per kgs weight. That’s about:

  • 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man.
  • 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman.

Pregnant and lactating women need more

A 4-ounce serving of grilled chicken breast, that’s a little bigger than the palm of your hand, has 35 grams of protein.

So, those of you on a high protein diet – are you overdoing it?

Those that have hypoglycemia  (low blood sugar) have a higher requirement for protein.

During any kind of illness or injury, as the body is trying to repair itself, our need for protein increases.

If you need more information about your specific protein needs, consult with a nutritionist.

They will take your whole health and physical needs into consideration to make the proper recommendations.

If you are an athlete, consult with a nutritionist that specializes in sports nutrition, for the same reason as above.

Now, please remember, this blog is NOT to promote a high protein diet.

As Michael Pollan says, “Eat food (not too much), mostly plants.”

How Well Do You Know Your Skincare Products?

When was the last time you thought – really thought – about the products you put on your skin?

Which skin products should you be using?

How often should you be using them?

Are they really effective?

You should be asking yourself these important questions about your skin products on a regular basis.

Here are the products I assume you are using, and some important points about each one…

1. Cleanser

When it comes to skin cleanser, you only need to use it in the evening. However, you MUST cleanse every evening – that is, unless you need to remove and reapply makeup.

It is important that you use a cleansing product to properly cleanse, to remove all daily pollution and makeup. I am not a fan of the cleansing cloths that use just water.

A good cleanser should be able to remove all makeup in one application. If your cleanser cannot do this, I am going to suggest that you are applying too much foundation, bb cream, or cc cream.

If you are taking care of your skin, you really don’t need to cover it all up unless you need to use camouflage makeup.

Stop comparing your skin to Photoshopped images.

2. Toner/ Lotion

In the olden days, toners or lotions were called astringents because they contained mostly alcohol, which is what gave you that tightening feeling.

The reason they contained mostly alcohol was because in those days, women used cold cream to remove heavy foundations, and alcohol was the only thing that would remove the cold cream.

Nowadays, we have lotions that serve different purposes, depending on the company.

They can be a combination of herbal and essential oils; they may contain acids or they may contain mostly water.

My preference are the ones with herbal and essential oil extracts – they are meant to heal or soothe the skin.

Also, by spraying a lotion on before your hydrator or moisturizer, you will be putting water into your skin, and your moisturizing or hydrating product will spread easier.

3. Moisturizer / Hydrator

Are you using a hydrating product or a moisturizing product?

If your product is water-based (water being the first ingredient), you are using a hydrating product.

If your product is mostly a combination of oils and emulsifiers, then you are using a moisturizer.

Which is best? Well, that depends on your skin’s needs.

YOUR AESTHETICIAN knows best!!!

4. Serum

Serums are generally made up of active ingredients, and are meant to absorb or penetrate deeper.

Many cosmeceutical companies now suggest using a serum in the A.M., followed by sun block and a cream in the P.M.

5. Eye Cream

It is important to use an eye cream – created specifically for application around your eyes – because generally, eye creams are lighter in texture and contain ingredients that are safe for the eyes.

Will eye cream remove dark circles? Probably not – sometimes you may need a product that addresses pigmentation. It is possible that the dark circles might be an internal issue.

Again, your aesthetician should know best.

6. Neck Cream

Neck cream is absolutely unnecessary, just spread your face serum or cream onto your neck and décolleté – this goes for you too, gents.

7. Cosmeceutical or Cosmetics?

Cosmeceuticals are made up of mostly active ingredients that actually create a change in the skin.

Cosmetics mostly sit on the surface of the skin. They feel good, and your skin will feel moisturized, but that is about it.

For best results, these products should be used daily.

If you are using a good cosmeceutical product, it can take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks to see results.

Will your wrinkles disappear?  Will you look younger? Absolutely not!

Stop listening to all the hoopla that the industry dishes out.

Your skin will be healthier and have a natural glow, and YOU WILL get compliments

This is just the tip of the ICEBERG, I can go ON and ON!

For more info, come and see me!

 

 

Why Do We Need Carbohydrates?

Before you jump into a new eating plan because you read an article about “The 10 Best Foods For…”

 

Or, you want to lose weight.

 

Or, you have read the virtues of one particular food and you see articles, Facebook, and Instagram posts with all sorts of conflicting advice.

 

Low carb… low fat… high fat…

 

Let me help break some of this down for you.

 

In order for our bodies to function properly, we need Micronutrients and Macronutrients.

 

The Macros are: Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats.

 

The Micros are: Vitamins, Minerals, Enzymes, and Hormones (I am not just talking  sex here).

 

We need these nutrients to keep our bodies functioning properly.

 

That means every cell, tissue, and organ needs these nutrients.

 

In this blog, I am going to focus on Carbohydrates.

 

Carbs are broken down into sugars.

 

Now, I know I dis sugar a lot, but keep reading.

 

Why do we need Carbs?

 

Carbs are the best and quickest source of energy.

 

I am not just talking about the energy we need to get out of bed, to move, and to exercise.

 

I am talking about the energy our body needs – along with red blood cells and our nervous systems – in order for all your internal organs to work properly.

 

Take my word for it, because I can’t give you a lesson in body metabolism in one short blog post.

 

Also, did you know that the only energy source used by our brains is glucose?

 

And, we get glucose from carbs.

 

(But, don’t you go crazy on sugar now! Read the whole blog!!)

 

Carbs regulate protein and fat metabolism. Now, if you are on a low carb and high protein or fat diet, how is your body going to use the fat and protein properly?

 

Carbs regulate appetite, so we feel satiated and don’t over-eat.

 

Carbs are a source of fiber.

 

We need fiber so – you know – our bowels can move better.

 

Plant fiber attracts water, making the stool larger and softer.

 

Otherwise, the stool will be hard and small – pellet-like.

 

But, enough about poop.

 

Fiber also feeds all the good bacteria in the intestines.

 

You have been hearing and reading a lot about gut microbes and their connection to the brain, and health in general, (okay, this is a topic for a whole other blog).

 

It is Complex Carbs that we need, not Refined Carbs.

 

These are the whole grains, seeds, stalks, leaves, and fruit, to name a few.

 

I know you have heard this over and over again.

 

Every time we go for a treat – a cakel, a cookie, or a cracker, etc. – we are eating Refined Carbs.

 

So, it is fine to cut back or give up on breads and regular pastas, but make sure you do not give up on fruits and vegetables.

 

For example, did you know that potatoes are high in Potassium?

 

Potassium is a vasodilator, it widens blood vessels, and consuming them is a natural way to reduce blood pressure.

 

Potatoes are packed with other vitamins and minerals, as well.

 

Potatoes are also rich in fiber – remember what I said about fiber?

 

Now, obviously fries and chips are not the healthiest way to consume potatoes – so, lay off those!

 

If you want to read all about potatoes, click here.

 

Here are a couple of other facts about Carbs:

 

We start to digest Carbs in the mouth – chew, chew, chew.

 

We digest Carbs before proteins and fats – that is why some people with digestive issue may need to eat the carbs first in a meal, followed by the proteins and fats.

 

Carbs help the body absorb and retain calcium – you know, the mineral you need for your bones!

 

What should our ideal intake be?  Out of our entire diet, it should be between 60 to 70% – yes, that high.

 

Want to know more?

 

Contact me! I can help you sort through the quagmire of diet articles and beliefs based on your individual needs.