It is week 8 of the Real Food Experience. Can you believe it? Over the past 7 weeks we have been systematically improving the diet of our families. We are educating ourselves about what is good in food and those ingredients we should avoid. We’ve even had an important talk in week 6 about organizing our kitchens and developing systems to make sure we can Juggle all of this Real Food and our Real Lives.
This week we are talking about protein. We in the United States are obsessed with protein. We buy protein powder and protein shakes. We want to make sure we have plenty of protein in each meal. We do need protein for our muscles and bones. You don’t want to eliminate this important nutrient from your diet. You are likely getting enough protein, but if you are not sure what how much you need you can check here. You will notice that your needs change throughout your lifetime. Teenage boys need the most and babies need the least.
What’s interesting about protein is that it not only comes in meat, but also a variety of other food sources as well. Nuts, dairy, legumes, soy, and seeds are all sources of protein. Many vegetables have protein too. Mind blown, right!?
This week’s challenge is again two part.
The first part involves meat. Much meat on the market includes lots of fillers and additives that are not desired in a real food diet. You eat what the animals eat so make sure you are looking for grass-fed beef and organic corn and soy fed chickens. The reason you are looking for organic corn and soy is because these crops are highly GMO. GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are believed to cause allergies and a variety of health problems. There is still much research to be done in this area, but I don’t want my family (or yours) to be anybody’s science experiment. You will also want to avoid growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides in the feed, and any additional fillers.
The second part of the challenge is dumping the meat and potatoes habit. We will be exploring alternate sources of protein and reducing overall meat consumption. Quality organic meat can be quite expensive. You might be tempted to buy meat that is more affordable. Most of us have pretty tight food budgets or at least don’t like to pay more than we have to for our food. Several strategies to use include using meat as an ingredient rather than as the main focus of the meal. For example, eating chicken Alfredo with broccoli rather than a chicken breast and side of pasta reduces the amount of meat you need to feed your family. Another strategy is “Meatless Mondays.” It doesn’t have to be Monday, but the concept really works. Pick a night or two a week and leave out the meat. My family doesn’t notice that meat is missing when we eat breakfast for dinner or have pasta and sauce without the meatballs. There are plenty of meatless meals that are meals that you eat on a regular basis. Just think about it. You don’t have to buy a vegetarian cook book or prepare meals that are out of the norm for your family. You are welcome to buy the cook book, but it is not necessary.
OK……..it’s your turn now. Time to start the challenge. Let’s take a look at the meat we eat and alternate sources of protein. Let me know what your family likes and what they turn their noses up at. What will your strategy be? Are you going to tell them they are eating meatless meals or meat that is used as an ingredient or are you just going to feed them dinner? I can’t wait to hear all of your stories.
If you have missed any of the Real Food Experience posts, I welcome you to just jump in this week and get started. You can get caught up on all of the rest of the posts here. Each week is full of terrific advice to help you transition from fast and processed food to a real food diet. Changes that will help you to live a healthy lifestyle and have the energy to keep up with your busy schedule.