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6 Things You Need To Know About Protein

6 Things You Need To Know About Protein

Those containers of whey protein you have stacked in your closet, are they helping or hurting you? While they definitely buy you a membership card into the Jersey Shore Club, they might be better used as bed risers. The average man believes that the more protein you eat, the more muscle you’ll gain, but this is not entirely true. Before you eat your pound of grilled chicken for lunch, read on:

1. Protein is essential for you to survive.

Protein is a component of every cell, tissue, and organ in the body. When we eat protein, it is digested into amino acids, which are considered the “building blocks” of life, as they are responsible for creating all the other proteins our body needs. This is a continuous cycle, and thus your body needs protein every day. If it’s been a while since high school biology, and this seems confusing, think of a big building made out of different Lego pieces. Once that building is broken apart, you can use the pieces to build new things, just as your body does with the amino acids found in the protein you digest.

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2. Not all proteins were created equal.

Different sources of protein provide different amino acids. Foods that provide all of the essential amino acids, or ones that cannot be made by our bodies, are called complete proteins and come from animal-based foods. Meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs, and cheese are sources of complete proteins. Incomplete proteins are low in one or more of these essential amino acids, and include foods such as beans and rice. However, you can combine these incomplete protein sources to ensure you get all of the essential amino acids you need.

3. You do not need as much protein as you think you do.

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is 46 grams for women ages 19–70+ years of age and 56 grams from men 19–70+ years of age. This equates to 10–35% of your daily caloric intake. According to the Food and Nutrition Board, it is recommended that you consume 0.36 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should consume 58 grams of protein per day. The 2005–2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES) found that men above the age of 20 years old were consuming 101.9 grams of protein and women of the same age were taking in 70.1 grams of protein. This means that most Americans are getting almost twice the amount of protein they need.

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4. You can get a sufficient amount of protein from plants.

For those who choose to not eat meat, there are still ample ways to get your recommended daily intake of protein. Non-animal sources of meat include beans, nuts, nut butters such as peanut butter, almond milk, seeds, whole grains, and soy protein such as tofu and veggie burgers. Contrary to popular belief as well, you can be an athlete and a vegetarian. Famous vegetarian athletes include Joe Namath, Prince Fielder, and Billie Jean King.

5. More protein does not always equal more muscles.
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    Eating large levels protein does not directly equate to more muscle mass. In fact, athletes only need slightly more protein than the average individual, which they are likely getting from the increased amount of food intake. A 2004 article in the Journal of Sports Sciences, by Kevin D. Tipton and Robert R. Wolfe, states that increased protein will provide a “minimal” advantage and that lean body mass can be maintained with a large variety of protein diets. They conclude that most athletes are already meeting this requirement, thus high protein diets are not necessary.

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    6. A high-protein diet can harm you.

    Often high-protein foods, such as red meat and full-fat dairy products, contain high levels of saturated fat as well. These foods can increase the amount of bad cholesterol in your body and thus put you at a higher risk of heart disease. In people who suffer from kidney disease, high-protein diets put an extra strain on the kidneys as they attempt to eliminate the by-products of protein metabolism. Furthermore, some high-protein diets suggest limiting carbohydrate intake. This can result in a lack of other important nutrients, as well as fiber, which can cause constipation and diverticulitis.

    The information on the internet related to protein is largely dominated by websites promoting high-protein diets and supplements. The next time you read about how you should eat a bowl of whey a day with a side of bone marrow, take a look at how many supplement ads are also on the website. A balanced diet, as always, is best. Before starting any diet, though, you should talk to your healthcare professional. Now, enjoy your chicken and maybe throw in some veggies or some pasta. Your biceps will not disappear.

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    Last Updated on July 8, 2020

    18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

    18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

    The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

    1. Understand Yourself Better

    Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

    Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

    2. Keep Track of Small Changes

    I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

    Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

    3. Become Aware of What Matters

    As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

    You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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    4. Boost Creativity

    The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

    When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

    You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

    5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

    A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

    Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

    6. Process Life Experiences

    When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

    Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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    7. Stress Relief

    In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

    Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

    8. Provide Direction

    Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

    One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

    9. Solve Problems

    Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

    Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

    When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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    10. Find Relief From Fighting

    Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

    Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

    11. Find Meaning in Life

    Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

    12. Allow Yourself to Focus

    Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

    13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

    When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

    14. Let the Past Go

    I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

    15. Allow Freedom

    Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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    16. Enhance Your Career

    Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

    Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

    17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

    All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

    18. Catalog Your Life for Others

    No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

    We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

    Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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