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.
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?
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!
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!
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!