Welcome to Week 1 of our “Upgrade your Essentials” challenge! We’re kicking things off talking about Proteins - our bodies’ most fundamental building block, and the anchor of a well-constructed meal.
(You can skip straight to the end of this post if you just want to know which of our amazing range of pastured meats & wild-caught fish we’re putting on sale this week, or you can ride along with us as we review why protein is so important and which foods are the best sources of it. 🤓)
We're talkin' proteins.
So what exactly is protein anyway?
Protein is one of the three essential macronutrients, along with fats and carbohydrates. But unlike (most) fats & carbs, our bodies cannot manufacture it by ourselves! To get it, we’ve got to eat foods that contain it.
And that’s important because protein does a lot for us - from helping to build muscle and organ tissues, transporting oxygen around your body, signaling your DNA to turn different genes on or off, creating hormones, and lots more.
There’s not just one generic “protein” that does all of these different things, of course. The building block of proteins are amino acids, of which there are more than 20, and those combine into more than 10,000 different types of protein in your body which perform various functions.
So when you’re eating that grass-fed steak, what you’re actually eating is the specific range of amino acids found in that animal’s tissues.
OK, so which foods are the best protein sources?
While you can get protein from both animal and plant foods, animal foods are superior protein sources, hands down.
Why? Because animal proteins are already complete: they contain the 9 essential amino acids our bodies cannot manufacture themselves (and therefore must be eaten), whereas plant proteins are incomplete, so you have to be mindful to eat a range of them to replicate the range of amino acids you’d get from just one animal protein source. Plant proteins also often come with lectin, a protein that plants make to defend themselves from consumption by animals (and can cause long-term gut & digestive issues in some people); plus, sometimes the plant protein itself is actually toxic for human consumption, as is the case with gluten, the plant protein found in wheat!
So which foods are the densest in high-quality protein? Glad you asked.
#1: Pasture-raised chicken breast: 32g of protein for every 100g.
#2: Free-range pork chops: 31g of protein for every 100g.
#3: Wild-caught tuna: 28g of protein for every 100g.
#4: Grass-fed steak (ribeye): 26g protein for every 100g.
#5: Wild-caught salmon (sockeye & pink): 25g protein for every 100g.
Lastly - it’s important to look for pasture-raised meats & wild-caught seafood products because in doing so you’ll be getting the protein as nature intended.
This means the animals will have eaten their natural diet, and therefore offer us their natural nutrient profiles - as opposed to large-scale livestock or fish farming operations, where the animals are fed cheap feeds made from GMO grains & industrial byproducts (which degrade the animals’ health to the point that antibiotics are required to keep the animals alive long enough to slaughter).
Grass-fed beef (left) versus grain-fed, conventionally raised CAFO (concentrated feedlot animal operation) beef. Which one are you eating?
OK, I get it. Now make it easy for me to stock up on some high-quality proteins already!
So now you know why protein is important - literally every bite is contributing to the maintenance of your body’s physiology. Now we want to help you start 2021 by making sure you have some high-quality proteins on your plate!
We’re doing that by putting some of our best-selling pastured meats and wild-caught fish on sale for the next 7 days:
Grass-fed steaks @ 10% off
Free-range and/or pasture-raised chicken at 15% off
Free-range pork at 10% off
Wild-caught salmon & tuna at 10% off
Stay tuned next week for a look at how to compliment a great animal protein on your plate with some nutrient-dense side dishes! We’ll look at when and how to incorporate those other two macronutrients - carbs & fats.
Have a great start to your 2021!
- The team at Paleo Robbie