Proteins are the body’s building materials and are needed for all cells, tissues and hormone productions.
Proteins also help form enzymes which produce chemical reactions to help the immune system, carry nutrients in the blood, and keep the body’s fluid in balance.
- Too much protein can lead to complications by risks of failure on the kidney.
- Too little protein compromises the immune system and other functions.
Enzymes are complex proteins that assist in or enable chemical reactions to occur. “Digestive” enzymes, for example, help your body break food down into chemical compounds that can more easily be absorbed. Thousands of different enzymes are produced by your body. There are enzymes for neural cells, intestinal cells, and saliva. Protein can easily be incorporated to the regular diet by eating traditional proteins such as soups made with homemade bone broth, plenty of pastured butter and eggs, grass-fed meats and dairy. One thing to remember is too much protein and too little fat can cause a negative calcium balance that can lead to bone weakness (insufficient vitamin K2), eye problems (from insufficient vitamin A), immune issues (commonly linked to insufficient vitamin D), and other health conditions resulting from excessive ‘lean’ protein consumption.
Without significant saturated fats and fat soluble vitamins excessive protein will cause more harm than good.
Proteins help slows the glycemic (blood sugar) effect of carbohydrates into the bloodstream, thereby maintaining a steady supply of insulin secreted by the pancreas which, in turn, provides a steady energy source.
That means if blood sugar levels rise at slower rate, they will also fall at a slower rate, which can lengthen the time before hunger returns. It may also reduce cravings for more carbohydrates.
Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates or fat. By ensuring each meal contains a reasonable serving of protein, hunger may take longer to return. It may be that increased protein leads people to eat less because they are more satisfied from their meals.
- Supplementation with fermented cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil, and therapeutic consumption of bone broths will ensure optimal health far more than powdered protein in any form.
Best Protein Sources
Proteins are found in food sources such as pasture raised; meat, chicken, eggs, organic beans and legumes, and pasture raised dairy; raw milk, cheese, yogurt, and whey (the liquid that drains from yogurt, not powder).
Animal proteins (along with some super foods) provide all of the necessary amino acids, the building blocks of protein for our bodies. For thousands of years, these were the main sources of protein in human diets.
Today the animal protein found in the average American’s diet is much different than it once was; today the animals; cows, sheep, goats, chicken, turkey, fowl, game, and seafood are treated inhumane the majority of the time, they live in filth and disease so they are pumped full of antibiotics. There are some clean/sanitary conventional farms, but they are still given antibiotics, GMO feed, raised and slaughtered inhumane. There has also been the genetically altering of animals to produce meat/milk/eggs faster by using a growth hormone, as well as cloning which by law, doesn’t need to be labeled.
The animals are raised on foods which are completely foreign to them. The result is meat with a much-altered nutrient profile. The administering of antibiotics and hormones to animals, as well as GMO foods, creates superbugs and other bad bacteria will form and harm the animals, environment, and human health. Compare that to when the animals are fed on a traditional diet; green pastures, fresh water, and sunlight – maximum health benefits are received.
The good news is, you can still find good sources of animal protein out there, and increasing resources as the demand is high. (You can even raise a few backyard chickens for fresh eggs if you have a small space.)
When these animal protein sources are raised on diets they are meant to eat, the fat that is found in the meat is often healthier, containing more omega-3 fatty acids. Properly raised animals are grown without the use of antibiotics or hormones since there is no need; they don’t get sick.
Milk, cheese, and yogurt are very healthy foods, as long as the milk contains all the fat because it provides important vitamins like A, D and K2, which are needed to help you absorb the calcium, phosphorus and other minerals in the milk. The butterfat in milk also makes it much easier to digest and less likely to cause illness.
Another factor that makes it healthy is if the animal source is pasture-raised; raised on green pasture, has access to fresh-clean water, and is NOT processed; pasture-ised or homogenized.
Pasteurization is a type of heat treatment that destroys the pro-biotics (good bacteria) and makes it very difficult to digest, which can be very irritating to the digestive tract and cause health ailments such as digestive issues, allergies and asthma.
Homogenization breaks up the fats in milk and makes the components of the fat less healthy.
Unprocessed milk is called “raw milk.”
You may have heard that raw milk is dangerous to consume; but actually pasteurized milk causes more illness than raw milk. However, if you are consuming raw milk from confined, grain-eating cows that are laden with disease and pumped full of antibiotics, then it would possibly be more dangerous than pasteurized milk, which is why pasteurization began in the first place; the animals were unclean, fed toxic foods and people began to get sick, you can read more about raw milk in a book call “The Untold Story of Milk”, by Ron Schmid.
Things to Consider about Raw Whole Milk that doesn’t apply to pasteurization:
- Helps cure certain disease, including heart burn and digestive issues since it contains special bacteria called lacto-bacilli, which help strengthen the digestive tract. When we have a lot of these good bacteria in our digestive tract, we digest our food very efficiently.
- Neutralize toxic poisons in the stomach by coating and extracting
- Protects against allergies, such as eczema and asthma and can even reverse these ailments
- Contains an enzyme which kills bad bacteria
- Contains an enzyme called lacto-ferrin, which prevents anemia
- Supports the immune system
- Many mothers report improved behavior in children.
Check for a local source of raw milk from pasture-fed cows by visiting www.realmilk.com.
Cheese is preferably made from raw milk.
Yogurt is a type of fermented milk that contains beneficial enzymes and bacteria. These help with digestion and also help your body absorb vitamins and minerals.
Homemade yogurt is best, using whole raw milk. You can also purchase organic plain-whole yogurt, you should buy whole plain yogurt. You can then:
- Sweeten it with fruit and vanilla extract, maple syrup or honey
- Add salt for a sour side dish to Middle Eastern or Indian food (goes great with spicy food to cool the mouth).
Protein Description; Animal Proteins
Based on what we covered about protein sources, the following are descriptions of how you should buy/obtain your protein. By following these guidelines, you will be making optimal choices for your health.
- Beef – Pasture-raised/grass-fed only
- Cheese* – Organic, from grass-fed cows
- Chicken – Organic, free-range chicken with bones; best to purchase the whole chicken.
- Dairy Alternatives – Homemade rice milk or homemade almond milk (use in moderation).
- Eggs – Organic, free-range
- Fish/Sea Food – Wild Caught; Alaskan salmon, tilapia, cod, halibut, orange roughy, scallops, white fish, shrimp, tuna, lobster
- Milk* – Organic, from grass-fed cows or goats, preferably raw (only if from clean source; grass fed, fresh. If you are afraid to consume raw milk, then heat it at home yourself, but purchase raw))
- Other Meats – pastured raised/grass fed only; goat, lamb, bison, venison
- Soy* – Miso, tempeh are preferred since they are fermented for easier digestion.
- Turkey – Organic, free-range turkey with bones; best to purchase the whole turkey.
- Whey Protein Liquid – Since it is very difficult to buy in stores, you can make your own by straining organic yogurt in a muslin cloth, the liquid that drains is your whey and the solids are creamy Greek yogurt. 2-4 Tbs a day is recommended, add to smoothies.
- Yogurt – Organic, from grass-fed cows and homemade Greek style yogurt
Check your local farmers market or health food stores for grass-fed beef, pasture-raised poultry and wild-caught fish sources.
A recent meta-analysis of current research showed that red meat intake was not associated with any increased risk of coronary heart disease or diabetes. Processed meat consumption, though, was associated with a 42 percent increased risk of CHD and a 19 percent increased risk of diabetes.
Like many other processed foods-processed meat consumption may lead to long-term health problems. Use unprocessed, naturally raised meats as often as possible.
Although it is best to eat local and get mostly protein from meat sources, there are those who:
- Don’t eat animal products
- Want more protein options
- Want to take a break from meat
- Can’t find clean sources
- Have your own personal reasons
In any case, here is a list of alternatives, not limited to as research is always finding new nutritional values in ancient foods (AKA Super Foods). Make sure you always buy ORGANIC or Fair Trade.
- Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa)
Seaweed (sea vegetables)
- Wild Blue-Green Algae
- Bee Pollen
- Goji Berries
- Chia Seeds
- Nuts and Seeds
Look for future articles on various suoer foods including the non-animal protein.
The amount of protein the body needs daily is a controversial subject and science cannot give a consistent answer so it’s left up to intuition. It’s best to include a small portion with at least 2 meals a day, more if you have an active lifestyle.
This article is not saying you must be a meat eater, but if you are going to be, do it right! And keep in mind, what works for one person, may not work for the others, so if someone is thriving and healthy but chooses not to eat meat, it should not be pushed upon them and vise versa.