Without enough of this vital macronutrient, your body doesn’t have the tools it needs to thrive.
Out of all the nutrients in your diet — the key vitamins, minerals and macros — I believe there’s one that’s exceedingly essential: Protein.
Not only is protein the building block of all your cells, but it also forms the foundation for your heart, lungs and even your DNA.
Protein is also one of the most potent sources of fuel for your body. It replenishes your muscles and drives essential biological processes, such as cell growth and metabolism.
Quite literally, without protein, you wouldn’t exist.
And since protein is constantly broken down and used for energy, you need to replenish your body’s supply — on a daily basis.
For the average person, that means consuming at least half his or her body weight in protein every day in grams. So, for instance, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should consume at least 75 grams of protein.
For athletes or anyone trying to build lean muscle (while burning fat), you need even more.
Put simply: If your diet is missing protein, your body doesn’t have what it needs to thrive.
What Kind of Protein Are You Consuming?
Warning: What I’m about to say may disturb you. That’s because, even though protein is important, all protein sources were NOT created equally.
Ever wonder how fast food joints can afford to sell “protein-rich” double cheeseburgers for a dollar?
There’s a reason why some proteins are so cheap.
These factory-farming, protein-producers use what I consider questionable methods — methods that do a lot more than provide cheap meat for burgers.
Shocking? Yes, but also consider these:
1. Most beef, chicken and pork in our supermarkets comes from industrial farms. On these farms, the livestock are treated with hormones to make them give birth faster and more often. In some cases, they may be injected with high doses of steroids that do the same thing.
The end result of all this overproduction is that animals may end up in crowded feedlots. And because they’re in such close quarters, they may also be inoculated with antibiotics to fend off disease and stay alive long enough to slaughter.
2. Ninety percent of American calves are treated with hormonal growth promoters. Every dollar spent on hormone implants increases returns for the manufacturers by $5 to $10.
3. Most disturbing of all: The USDA does not require hormone use to be listed on labels. So, manufacturers can load up without any real way of us knowing. Is it in there or is it not? And that’s just for animal sources of protein. When it comes to plant sources, things can get even more interesting. For example, conventional soy protein and other conventional plant proteins can be loaded with dangerous GMOs.
What this means for you: Every day when you pick healthy foods from the deli or try to find good options at the restaurants you love, you have to be cautious.
You Are What You Eat, What They Ate
If you believe you are what you eat, you can apply the same logic to what your food has eaten.
Or as I like to say: You are what you eat, what they ate.
Let’s look at the most common things our protein sources are fed and see the effects those foods, in turn, can have on our health.
First Up, Grains.
Because it is easily obtainable and relatively cheap, grain is commonly used to feed livestock.
But cows were not created to eat grains! They were created to eat grass. Grain also lacks the fiber and key nutrients that livestock need.
Many livestock animals are given antibiotics because they increase digestion and utilization of feed.
The antibiotics used on livestock are almost identical to the antibiotics used for humans. This antibiotic overload may increase the chance that genetic mutations will produce resistant strains of bacteria and viruses, against which medications may eventually become useless.
Last, But Not Least: Byproduct Feed
Livestock are routinely fed “byproduct feed stuff” to stretch feed and lower costs. This can include chewing gum or other junk food.
And get this. Farms are not required to tell you what they feed their animals.
Having said that, I’m not telling you not to eat meat or not get your protein. What I am saying is you need to become hyperconscious of the sources and look for pure and clean alternatives.
A Great Alternative
One of the biggest actions you can take to reduce your exposure to toxins and meet your body’s protein requirements is to change how you get your meats and proteins in the first place.
Thankfully, today there are more ways than ever to consume the right amounts of complete protein sources—including supplemental protein such as my Whey Protein.
I believe that protein is a powerful macronutrient. And with these tips, there’s no reason for you to be protein deficient or consume the wrong type of protein.
Now Explore Your Options
I love organic, grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, free-range poultry, and eggs — basically a variety of complete protein-rich foods.
However, I also supplement with whey protein. To see the whey protein I personally use, check this out.