Answers to questions from the PREVIOUS article about what I eat every day.
I’m so glad when I get responses from my newsletters! An especially high amount of responses from this past one! (Missed it? Read it here.)
There were a few key questions that I received the most. But one in particular, and I will do my best to answer it. Since, after all, it is a big question.
Just a reminder, in the past newsletter I shared with you exactly what it is that I eat every day - breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And I also recommended that you try it and explained why.
So - did you give it a go? If yes, hooray. If no, then I hope you do since I know you’ll be so glad you did. The diet tips that I am sharing have changed the lives of thousands of people - all of who are glad they went for it, to say the least!
Before I answer the question, first…
Remember the simple reality - implementing a healthy diet creates a quality of life-experience for which no one has ever regretted spending the time and effort. We’re talking about our overall health here which is invaluable.
On the contrary, we live in an age with increased rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and a plethora of autoimmune diseases. According to a study published in health.gov, about half of all American adults—117 million individuals—will have one or more preventable chronic diseases, many of which are related to poor quality diet.
Thankfully, it’s a lot easier to raise the quality of your diet than you might think.
What I shared with you last week are the dietary protocols I’ve seen to offer the most benefit for the amount of effort they require. The brilliance of it is the reward of better health is generally much greater than expected.
And more good news is the benefits will come fast, especially with how you feel. Dietary choices absolutely can affect how you feel in terms of life-force and clarity of thought on a daily basis. I’ll also share with you that what I’m sharing can change the way you look. Yes, weight loss. But skin too. And that change can happen fast. Especially when we’re talking the elite dietary protocols that I am sharing. I let you in on this secret (humbly) - when I share my age with people who ask they often don’t believe me. Actually when I have my drivers license handy to show this is no BS is when I often recruit more health enthusiasts!
So, if you haven’t yet, give the diet I shared with you last week a try for at least a a few days. Easy. As for your overall day to day diet, it’s a matter of starting where you are and adding a few of the truly healthy foods to your daily routine - like what I’m sharing.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with the idea of a complete diet overhaul. Just yet, anyway. But note - your tastes will gradually change in the favor of genuinely healthy foods, and your choices will intuitively gravitate in the direction of an overall healthier diet. Which, by the way, there is no end since there is always room to grow and improve. As does the reward that comes with it.
It’s helpful to view your diet as part of your personal development. A never ending journey toward becoming a better you.
The good news is the essence of it all isn’t so complicated - the win-win solution to any diet, whether the goal is weight loss, increased energy, or healing, is to add natural, unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods to your diet. My mission is to help you cut to the finish line.
I just love showing you the how-to’s - especially sharing the vitally important foods that should be part of everyone’s diet. While there is no “one size fits all diet”, there are dietary protocols that will improve the lifespan of anyone. Today, adequate consumption of the key foods has fallen way short in the average diet. But let that not be the case for you!
It boils down to this (and you’re lucky to know it) - When we fuel our bodies with quality nutrition, we have more energy, we think more clearly, we don’t have those cravings for foods that aren’t beneficial for us, we become more resistant to disease, and, all in all, we just feel better, making the great benefit worth the little effort and discipline it requires.
And thankfully, your dietary goals are certainly at least a little more enlightened than average. (The fact that you’re reading this newsletter is my case in point.)
And now the number one question I received from my newsletter…
PROTEIN. There were two parts this big question -
One - many readers from my previous newsletter were surprised to learn that I eat fish, thinking that I was total vegetarian. I have been vegetarian in years past, and I will share with you my current thoughts about it below. (Fun fact: approximately 4% of Americans are vegetarian.)
Two, other readers were feeling a sense of overwhelm that I was instructing to keep animal protein in their diet limited to fish. Ha!…so here I am, caught in the middle! So let’s talk!
Both of these questions I am answering with the following information….but first, let's remember….
Protein is the primary building block of muscle, ligaments, cartilage, vital organs, and essentially every cell in the body. The old saying, “You are what you eat,” is more true than we might realize. New cells, the very substance we are made of, are being created every moment. Although it’s largely imperceptible to the outside senses, our bodies are constantly changing, for good or for bad, based on what we’re feeding ourselves.
That’s why all of this is a big deal. So I say let’s use the finest dietary ‘building blocks’ that we have available.
The reality check - Today, the diet of the Western world is plagued by poor quality meat—and lots of it!
Moreover, very definite data now exist that show a connection between the consumption of today’s animal protein and cancer and heart disease. Processed beef and pork have been newly classified by the World Health Organization as Level One carcinogens. That’s the same as cigarettes! That’s nuts! And few people even know about this.
The Flaws of Modern Day Protein are important to know…
Yes, we’re gonna talk more about fish, but first, know that the days of low-grade beef, pork, and chicken have caught up with us. This meat is definitely protein, but it’s the wear and tear on our overall health that comes with it that needs our attention.
Part of the problem is the type of saturated fats that come with animal protein. These are the fats that very definitely can raise unhealthy cholesterol—I talk about this in my book. Even with the low-fat meat products, a little lard can go a long way, and not in our favor! I feel that the fats in meat are actually a big part of why we crave them.
Another vital consideration: meats are acid-forming. Quick lesson: our bodies seek to strike a healthy acid-alkaline chemistry that’s affected mostly by the foods we eat. All animal protein makes the body acidic (as does processed sugar, interestingly enough). An “acidic” internal environment ultimately translates into a decrease of calcium in bones and an increase of inflammation in tissues causing reduced blood flow, which ultimately translates to a weaker body that simply ages faster than it regenerates. And in case you’re wondering, chicken is just as acid-forming as red meat, so you’re not really doing your body any favors by sticking with just “white” low-fat meat.
Additionally, metabolic waste from regular animal protein can accumulate over time in the gastrointestinal system. An eight-ounce steak isn’t eight ounces of protein, after all. A lot of it is indigestible animal matter which can build up in your large intestine and colon, slowly but surely weakening your digestive system, a vital pillar of your health.
Also, ever notice you’re tired after eating meat? Even just a chicken salad? This is because it actually takes a lot of work for your body to break it down to extract the protein. So if you do have any animal protein in your diet, you might want to consider limiting it as a dinner food.
The reality check is it doesn’t help, of course, that beef, pork, and chicken are so prevalent. It is true that especially the cattle industry has done a phenomenal job with promoting and advertising. It’s the main part of most entrees in most restaurants! And now you know that few people know how high-impact this part of their diet can be. But now you do. If you’re starting to become more and more sold on the healthier proteins, then fantastic.
Note - Yes, we have the hunter-gatherer 'Paleo diet’ in our genes, but we also have the option to live a lot healthier than our ancestors did—and longer too. And as we’ve seen, because of today’s variety and availability of plant food and healthier protein, this can be easy to do.
(Hopefully this has answered your general questions about animal protein….but you’re welcome to message me if you have any further questions.)
But now what about Fish?
Having fish (the right kind) in your diet can offer some overall benefits. Certain fish can be excellent food nutritionally and a far superior option to other meat products.
Remember fish oils contain omega-3 fatty acids which have the exact opposite effect of the fats in other meat products. These fats actually reduce unhealthy cholesterol.
In my book I have talked about going with wild-caught fish and avoiding farm- raised fish. A lot of the fish today are farm-raised where the fish are crowded together, producing unclean conditions. The reality check is salmon labeled as “Atlantic salmon” is, more likely than not, farm-raised. If salmon or any fish are wild-caught it will clearly say “wild-caught” on the label.
But are there any guarantees that, now, wild-caught is better in terms of nutrition and purity? Hard to say. The word is that farm raising salmon has improved in recent years. Nevertheless it has its flaws. But so does wild-caught fish.
If ocean- caught fish is a regular part of your diet, it’s important to be aware of fish that are known to be high in mercury as well as other harmful contaminants. Fish repeatedly testing high in mercury include tuna (especially albacore, ahi, and yellowfin tuna; skipjack tuna is okay), swordfish, shark, grouper, marlin, and mackerel. I suggest avoiding these entirely. Stick with the options tested to be low-mercury. These include salmon, trout, tilapia, sole, and most smaller fish. Other seafood like shrimp, oysters, and scallops tend to be okay too. In general, it’s the large predatory fish that have toxic levels of mercury, even with freshwater fish.
Another question I got: What about B12?
If there’s one nutrient that stubbornly keeps meat relevant in the conversation, it’s this one. Why? Because—unfortunately—B12 isn’t found in plant foods. B12 is super important for maintaining healthy nerve cells, producing red blood cells, and serving a number of other vitally important tasks. So what to do? One decent source of vegetarian B12 are eggs. Dairy is a fair solution. Yogurt, cheese, and milk all have small amounts of B12. But certain fish, like salmon, are a superior source of B12.
But what if your system is sensitive to eggs and dairy, or you’re living a vegetarian lifestyle? In this case it’s wise to consider a B12 supplement. Bear in mind that I typically don’t endorse anything that’s made in a laboratory and is not from real food. But lab-formulated B12 is one exception and is definitely better than no B12 at all. And where should you look for B12 supplements? Let’s start with where you shouldn’t look. So-called fortified foods (like fortified cereals and breads and soy products) commonly use a synthetic B12 called cyanocobalamin, which is known to be mildly toxic with long-term use. Not so good. A better alternative is methylcobalamin B12. This B12 is available by injection, sublingual liquid drops, and capsules at your local store.
Something to remember, by the way, is that B12 can be stored in the body for years. So if you’re a newly-converted vegetarian or vegan, you’ll be fine for a while. But down the road, you’re going to need a plan for making sure you’re getting a sufficient quantity of B12.
Note: an important solution for preventing B12 deficiency is to avoid a lifestyle that depletes it. Get rid of the processed foods, and limit your intake alcohol and tobacco (preferably eliminate)—all of which can very definitely drain your body of B12.
By the way, besides B12, I often get asked about two other nutrients found in meat; namely, iron and zinc. Where besides meat can these be found? Lots of places! High iron plant foods include edamame, tempeh, lentils, cooked spinach, chick peas, chard, pumpkin seeds, figs, and blue-green algae like spirulina. Zinc can be found in watermelon seeds, cooked spinach, avocado, asparagus, broccoli, chard, and collard greens. There. Easy enough.
As for the Vegetarian Lifestyle...
If you’ve been thinking of trying a vegetarian diet, I say why not? Today, with the large variety of foods we have available year round, we can in most cases get all the protein and nutrients the body needs without animal protein.
I feel it’s worth sharing that for two years I was on the “Paleo/Keto” diet, a popular diet that is quite high in animal protein. I kept to the better quality options like bison, elk, venison, and meats of similar nature. These meats are definitely better alternatives to the more common meats like beef and pork. Even still, at the end of the day, I found that the Paleo diet yielded much less energy and sense of life-force than a diet without these animal products.
While we’re on the subject, I should say this. Many people take an ethical position on the eating of meat. In case you’re wondering, my role here is nutrition and so I’m going to keep within those bounds. I’ll leave the ethical question to each individual reader. Nevertheless, I do feel that a primarily plant-based diet with the right foods is the superior option for overall health. And the health of the planet too.
Now for where to find the Protein
Okay, so where can you find the plant foods high in protein, the plant foods you’ll need in order to compensate for cutting back (or maybe even eliminating) meat? Easy. High protein vegetarian foods include raw nuts and seeds, avocados, beans, edamame, eggs, and dairy. Protein supplements can also play an excellent role here. But beware of whey or soy based protein. They’re culprits of constipation, like eating glue. Hemp and rice protein get my stamp of approval and is why I stand 100% whole-heartedly behind Infinity Protein.
Note: don’t make this mistake frequently made by people cutting back on meat: replacing meat with pasta, bread, processed grains, and other starchy foods. You’re looking for protein, not tons of starch! As for my recommendation of how many grams of protein to have per day, I’d put this in the same category as counting calories. Unnecessary. Follow the suggestions above and there’s really not a margin of error you need to be given since your body’s tastes and instincts will be allowed to do the job they were born to do.
Just remember - this is a life-quest (a quest to be joyous) of making the mind and body superhuman. The potential is truly awesome, yet little-known. I can guarantee you that living the information I’m sharing will be reflected by enhancing your longevity, energy, ability to heal, clarity of thought and even your happiness. And weight loss, too, if that’s something you wish for!
Last thing, BTW!…I’m thinking about going vegetarian again, and I’ll keep you posted!
That’s it for now!