Dr. Vander Doelen’s 5 Favourite Protein Sources (that you need to start eating!)

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, decrease anxiety or fight fatigue, increasing the protein in your diet can be a simple way to improve your health. Protein is critical for keeping your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day, preventing energy crashes, hanger, and panic attacks. Amping up your protein will help you increase your lean muscle mass while decreasing your fat mass, totaling up to overall weight loss and an improved body composition (which is one of the most important factors for health and longevity!)

How much protein you ask? Start by ensuring you’re getting a minimum of 1g of protein per kg of your body weight (e.g. if you weigh 65kg you should eat 65g of protein per day). You might need more if you’re an athlete, or have particular weight loss goals (check in with your ND to find out your individual recommendations). If you have kidney disease, be sure to consult with your Naturopathic Doctor before adding more protein into your diet, since it can put strain on those precious organs!

It doesn’t have to be hard to make this minor change to your diet either. Here are my 5 favourite protein sources that make eating more protein seem effortless.

1. Eggs
The old adage that eggs are bad for your heart is completely untrue, and we need to squash that myth ASAP. Eggs are an awesome source of complete protein (aka. they contain all of the amino acids that we require) racking in at 6g per 1 large egg. I love them at breakfast but you can enjoy them any time of day, boiled, scrambled, over-easy or as an omelette. Choose organic when you can.

2. Organic or Grass Fed Meat
Just like we care about what we put in our bodies, it’s important that we care about what our food ate too. Traditionally raised meat is more inflammatory than its organic/grass fed counterpart, and is likely why meat has been associated with so many chronic diseases. By choosing organic/grass fed, this complete protein source is richer in healthy fatty acids and lower in chemicals, hormones and antibiotics. One serving of meat is approximately the size and thickness of your palm. Limit your intake to 1-2 servings per day.

3. Hemp Hearts
These tasty little seeds are so versatile, you can practically add them to anything. At 10g of protein for 3tbsp, they might just be the easiest way to up your intake. They are also rich in omega 3 fatty acids which are great for the healthy of your skin, heart and joints. Try hemp seeds sprinkled on a salad or oatmeal, or blended into a smoothie.

4. Greek Yogurt
If you can tolerate dairy, then you absolutely must make the switch to Greek yogurt. ¾ cup of the creamy goodness gives you 16g of protein. Choose plain and add your own fruit or a touch of honey to sweeten it.

5. Protein Powder
Protein powder is my favourite way to take protein with me on the go. I usually blend a scoop or two into my smoothies for an easy breakfast or snack after a workout. A lot of powders are versatile enough to dissolve into water or milk/milk alternative for a really convenient blood sugar balancer. Read the label carefully to make sure you’re getting 100% protein powder (either Whey isolate or plant based like brown rice or pea) with no added sugars or chemicals. Ask your ND for a recommendation.

Interested in learning more about how food impacts your health? Dr. Vander Doelen offers complimentary 15 minute consults to see if Naturopathic Medicine is the right fit for you.