Protein is essential for survival because it builds everything in your body including muscle, brain chemistry, hormones, liver detoxification and so much more. It can boost weight loss and help to manage cravings because it tells your brain you’re full, takes longer to digest, metabolize and be used for energy. So you can end up satisfying your appetite by eating less food via a moderate intake of protein from healthy sources like wild caught fish and 100% grass fed meats.
Protein is good for you in other ways, too, because some of the amino acids it contains cannot be manufactured by our bodies so have to be provided by the food we eat.
It’s essential for building and maintaining muscles, as well as repairing the muscle damage that occurs during exercise. Protein is also needed to make red blood cells, produce hormones and boost the immune system for fighting disease, as well as helping to keep hair, fingernails and skin healthy.
Women athletes who become protein-deficient have reported that their hair falls out and their fingernails grow slowly and break easily. Some have stop having periods.
We have all learned that diet is a key factor in regulating and minimizing PCOS symptoms.
Protein’s Role in Hormones
Protein also plays an important role in the production of estrogen, testosterone and thyroid hormones. Eating a diet higher in protein can help reduce the levels of androgens, such as testosterone, found in the body. Eating protein helps regulate insulin levels and decreases your risk of diabetes which is common for women with PCOS.
Protein can be found in many foods – 100% grass fed meats, wild caught fish, free range eggs, nuts, seeds and lentils. Animal meats contain a complete amino acid profile while plant-based proteins do not. Plant-based proteins can make a complete amino acid profile when a combination of nuts, seeds and legumes are eaten together daily. We discourage grains as they can turn into sugar too quickly, but grains like quinoa and brown rice can be consumed in small amounts with legumes to make a complete amino acid profile.
Amino acids are part of every cell of your body and a key factor to muscle maintenance while losing weight. Each amino acid benefits your body in a different way. Tyrosine, for example, can stimulate norepinephrine – a hormone that enhances fat loss while carnosine functions as an antioxidant. Pretty awesome, right?
Here are 2 great recipes (one with meat and one vegan) that have complete proteins that will keep you full and energized until your next meal!
Grilled Beef Kabobs
- 1 1/2 lbs steak, cut into cubes
- 1 red onion, diced
- 2 bell peppers, diced
- 1 zucchini, sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Wood or metal skewers
How to Prepare:
- Preheat grill to medium high heat.
- Cut steak & veggies into 1 inch pieces. Place meat and veggies into a large bowl or zip lock bag.
- In a small bowl combine olive oil, mustard, vinegar and thyme.
- Pour marinade over meat and veggies and let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes – overnight.
- Once marinated place meat and veggies onto skewers.
- Grill over medium high heat for 15 – 20 minutes – turning every few minutes to grill all sides.
Enjoy with a beautiful salad!
Chickpea Tahini Glow Bowl (vegan)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 red onion, sliced in wedges
- 1 large sweet potatoes, cubed
- 1 head cauliflower stems removed, chopped
- 2 big handfuls baby kale or power greens
- 1/4 tsp each salt & pepper
- 1 15-ounce chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tsp cumin
- 3/4 tsp chili powder
- 3/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp each salt & pepper
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 tsp raw local honey
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 2-4 Tbsp hot water to thin
How to Prepare:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Clean and chop cauliflower, red onion and sweet potato. Line a baking sheet with parchment and add veggies. Drizzle 1 Tbsp olive oil over veggies and sprinkle with salt and pepper. mix to combine.
- Roast veggies until slightly browned and tender.
- While the veggies are roasting heat a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp Olive oil and the drained and rinsed chickpeas. Sprinkle with cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika and salt and pepper. Stir the chickpeas and spices until the peas begin to crips up and become fragrant.
- In a small bowl or glass jar combine tahini, honey, lemon and water. Mix to combined.
- Once the veggies are roasted and chickpeas toasted begin to build your bowl.
- Start by filing the bottom of your bowl with the baby kale or power greens. Next add a few pieces of cauliflower, red onion and sweet potato. Sprinkle 1-2 Tbsp’s of chickpeas on top. Drizzle the tahini sauce over and enjoy!
What makes a complete protein in this meal is the chickpeas and tahini (sesame paste). Below you will find some other complete protein vegan options. Try to include them at least once a day in your meals.
- Grains ( ex. rice, buckwheat, millet) + Legumes (ex. pinto, black, kidney beans)
- Legumes (beans) + Nuts (ex. almond, brazil, cashew)
- Legumes (beans) + Seeds (ex. sesame, sunflower, pumpkin)