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Fuel Your Body: Get to Know Protein and Its Sources

Fuel Your Body: Get to Know Protein and Its Sources

Meat!

    Most people know that the vast majority of the protein we eat comes from lean (and fatty) meats. They are absolutely the best, and most complete protein sources available…but it leaves you to wonder what the protein in a loaf of bread leaves you with when you’re counting your calories at the end of the day.

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    Well think of it like this, protein is like a 2-Stroke engine. It runs off gas, it uses oil, but doesn’t have tanks for both – so you mix them. Mix 1/4 bottle of oil and 3/4 tank of gas, viola! Your weed-whacker runs like a champ again — same thing with a meal! You’ll have proteins in every form of food you eat (herbivores [the dinosaurs that ate leaves] had muscle right? They need to get their protein somewhere!) but the trick is to make them effective.

    Proteins are complex, otherwise I would get into it more, but it confuses even me. That’s the laymen’s terms, the best way I can think to describe proteins. It gets FAR more advanced, when dealing with BCAA’s and Esterfied proteins … anyone got a nutrient sciences degree around here?

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    Back to business, you must see it coming…yes! The 5 Best Sources of Protein!

    5) Non-Lean Foods! This is breads, fruits, veggies, beans, muffins – anything that’s not meat and protein. Not complete sources of protein, and not the best for you (compared to the next 4), but are needed in any and every diet since – well, vitamins, carbs, and fill-me-up food fits into this category!

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    4) Supplements. I’m sure there’s a pound of whey somewhere in most of our gym bags…but what’s better than that even? Well, whey is broken down into a few different types dependent upon how it’s made, according to whether it’s cold filtration, isolation, or just a powdered concentrate. Supplements provide a protein your body can readily absorb when it needs it most (mornings, and after a workout). How this plays into my diet is usually a ~25g protein shake first thing in the morning before cardio and depending on your size and intensity of workout, between 30 and 60 grams post-workout.

    3) Got Milk? No, Casein! A great source for protein, as Brett Favre and dozens of others have told you over the years, is milk. I’ve recommended it to kids as long as I’ve been in the gym. “I’m a skinny guy, and can’t put on weight … any supplements you recommend?” Well, yes…a good fork and a big appetite! Eat up, drink up! Milk is filled with vitamins, and loaded with protein. It’s especially great before bedtime, since casein is the slowest protein to break down and will last throughout the night. (That does NOT give you a reason to eat a bowl of ice cream!) Milk is also a great way to mix protein or weight-gainer shakes: more protein, vitamins, and a great tasting shake!

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    2) Huevos (Eggs). Ever wonder why Rocky downed them in a cup during his training? They might make the gas you pass smell like sulfur, but it’s a great source of protein and a great way to start the day. I usually buy egg beaters, pure egg whites, since the yolk is extra-high in fat and cost-wise…it’s about the same after separating a dozen eggs for breakfast one day. Dozen eggs, 6 pieces of toast, fruit, glass of milk, real PB on said toast… nothing better!

    1) Lean meats! Argh, Argh, Argh. Remember Tim Taylor of Home Improvement? Guys, this is where it’s at! If you want protein, you gotta eat! We’re omnivores (the dinosaurs that eat everything), we can handle it! Beef, chicken, fish, octopus, whatever! If it lived and had blood, it’s a good source of protein. Now, as sadistic as that sounds – it’s true. But, not just anything cuts it.

    Focus specifically on the leanest cuts you can; eye of the round, top round steak, top round roast, sirloin steak, top loin steak, tenderloin steak and check arm pot roast. These will be the highest amount of protein per ounce, with lowest amount of fat. Flank, is what I usually buy… since it’s cheap, and great with A1!

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    Last Updated on November 11, 2019

    How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

    How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

    Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

    To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

    Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

    1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

    Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

    Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

    To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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    2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

    Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

    If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

    Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

    3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

    Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

    Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

    4. Feed Your Brain

    Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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    This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

    Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

    Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

    5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

    According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

    Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

    Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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    6. Write it Down

    If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

    It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

    You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

    7. Listen to Music

    Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

    8. Visual Concepts

    In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

    Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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    Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

    9. Teach Someone Else

    Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

    Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

    10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

    Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

    So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

    Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

    More About Boosting Memory

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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