Eat a Variety of Protein for More NutrientsSep 09, 2022
I can recall a period of time along my health & fitness journey where I strictly ate chicken breast, egg whites and fat free yogurt for my protein, plus some salmon here and there and a lot of protein powder, of course.
The trend was “eating clean” and eating “healthy” meat/protein - chicken breast (low fat) and egg whites (low cholesterol, toss the yolks). The protein powders for safe measure to ensure I got enough protein in the day (even though that’s easily accomplished with food lol).
Little to no red meat, no yolks, no milk or regular dairy, and certainly no organ parts (which is fair, not everyone grows up accustomed to these odd parts).
What’s ironic in this “healthy” and “clean” diet, though, is what was missing from it —
What was missing: Nutrients.
A quick nutrient comparison between a chicken gizzard and a chicken breast demonstrates the more concentrated amount of nutrients present in other cuts (see below).
What’s good to know is that gizzards actually have a very similar MACROnutrient composition to breasts, too, with comparable protein and fat amounts (so, they’re considered “low” fat). Gizzards also have more gelatin, which makes them a more “balanced” protein source in regards to amino acids, so less inflammatory.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with consuming more “normal” cuts like breasts, tenderloins, ground turkey, etc. As you can see in the image above, common cuts still provide a ton of nutrients and they’re a great source of bioavailable protein.
But avoiding red meat, full fat dairy (or dairy in general), organ meats / “odd” parts, full eggs, etc. because you’ve been told they’re “bad” for you, or because they’re high in saturated fat, or whatever it may be, is not giving you the greatest variety and abundance of nutrients and healthy fats that you deserve!
Some helpful links:
- Saturated fat is not bad for you
- Eating food high in cholesterol does not raise your cholesterol
- Eating red meat does not cause cancer
- Vegan, processed food is not better for you
- Animal food is more nutrient dense and bioavailable
- Dairy is not inherently inflammatory
A solid approach when thinking about your protein intake is to rotate through different sources week to week.
As you can see, different forms of animal products are higher in individual nutrients than others, thus it can be beneficial when trying to obtain a wider variety of nutrients to eat a wider variety of meats!
If you don’t like a certain meat, or do better on just beef or just pork, for example, try rotating through the different cuts (you should try this out, regardless!)
- Eating bone-on cuts will give you more collagen/gelatin
- Different organs give you a wider variety and more concentrated amount of important nutrients like Retinol, Copper, B1 Thiamine, B2, etc…
- This will also provide more variety to your plate and you may find you enjoy some of these different cuts - exciting!!
Even if you just rotate through different beef cuts (roasts, shanks, steaks, ground, heart, etc.), this is a much different approach than just eating chicken breasts and egg whites all of the time.
Eating just chicken breasts and eggs whites does NOT provide all of the nutrients you need and you will end up requiring a synthetic based multivitamin just to meet the bare minimum, and that comes with it’s own issues…
What about protein powder?
Protein powder will never compare to eating meat/dairy. However, it can be a helpful boost for those who struggle to eat enough, work out a lot and require more protein, or if you simply just enjoy it.
Just read ingredient labels. Ingredients should be simple and you should know what each ingredient is - there is no need for flavors, artificial sweeteners like Sucralose, dyes, preservatives, etc.
There are powders available that are 1 ingredient, and have traceable sourcing. For example, Mt. Capra, which have powdered goat milk products and proteins from their farm in the Pacific Northeast. If you're interested in trying any, you can use code "strongsistas" for 10% off.
Great collagen and gelatin powders come in handy if you don’t regularly consume gelatin rich cuts. We prefer the Perfect Supplements line, which is certified glyphosate free ("strong10" for 10% off).
And then, a little more fancy powders with cacao or vanilla flavors, such as Promix or Levels.
Whatever makes you happy and makes you feel good, but don’t mistake that most of the protein powders on the market today are junk food.
And when it comes to “plant” based powders, keep this in mind (slides 5 and 6).
What about eggs?
Eggs (the YOLK) are a true superfood. Don’t skip ‘em!
A true superfood, and an important part of the diet to balance one's calcium to phosphorus ratio.
If you currently can’t tolerate dairy, you can work on it! Consider making your own EGG SHELL calcium powder in the meantime!
With all that said, all animal products provide invaluable protein, something most of us need more of in the diet. So don’t skimp on the ones you like, perhaps just try adding a little more variety in this upcoming week if you’ve also spent a considerable amount of time on the chicken breast and egg white train for some time.