You may think of protein supplements as a concern for muscle heads, but they’re for everyone – provided that you choose the right one for you. You need dietary protein for your body’s day-to-day upkeep and to age well. Up to a third of older adults don’t get enough protein for various reasons, like reduced appetite and changing tastes. There are lots of ways to get protein, and here, I’ll go through one of the most convenient and beneficial forms: whey protein.
What is Whey Protein?
Whey is a protein-packed byproduct of cheese production. It’s that pseudo-clear liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained. Cheese makers used to toss it aside as waste material, until food scientists started to understand its value.
Today, we know that whey protein isn’t just a single protein. Instead, it houses an impressive array of proteins: beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, and serum albumin. These are complete proteins, comprised of the essential amino acids central to protein synthesis and increased muscular hypertrophy (muscle growth).
Our bodies can produce non-essential amino acids from lesser amino acids, but we cannot produce the essentials ourselves; we must eat quality protein sources. Whey is a naturally occurring, essential protein that satisfies the body’s protein requirements – hence its popularity.
Today we’re sharing a post by guest authors Robb Wolf, New York Times Best Selling Author and one of the early advocates of the paleo lifestyle, and Diana Rodgers, RD, Real Food Dietitian and Sustainability Advocate. Robb and Diana co-authored Sacred Cow, an eye-opening book about meat, health, and sustainability, out this month.
The ancestral health community generally accepts the right type of meat as a health food. In fact, eating animals is the number one guiding principle of the Primal lifestyle. Still, some groups advise against meat consumption.
Two of the main arguments that you should give up meat are:
It’s healthier to eat vegan
You reduce your impact on the planet if you’re vegan
If your primary meat source comes predominantly from a drive-thru, then yes, these arguments probably hold true. But there’s a world of difference between mass-produced meat from large agricultural operations, and pasture-raised meat from small-scale farms. The animals’ diet and living conditions have a profound effect on what the meat does for your body and for (or against) the planet.
Here are the main reasons why eating meat the right way can benefit your health, as well as the planet’s carbon load.
Protein is an incredible essential macronutrient. Fat is plentiful, even when you’re lean, and there are only two absolutely essential fatty acids; the rest we can manufacture from other precursors if required. Carbs we can produce from protein, if we really must, or we can just switch over to ketones and fats for the bulk of the energy that would otherwise come from carbs. Protein cannot be made with the raw material available in our bodies. We have to eat foods containing the range of amino acids that we need.
In other words, protein is incredibly important—which is why today I’m writing a definitive guide on the subject. After today’s post, you’ll have a good handle on the role protein plays in the body, how much protein you need to be eating, which foods are highest in protein, and much more.
If you’ve ever had a meat or jerky bar made of finely chopped dried meat and perhaps berries, you may be familiar with pemmican. Pemmican consists of lean, dried meat – usually beef nowadays, but bison, deer, and elk were common back in the day) which is crushed to a powder and mixed with an equal amount of hot, rendered fat, usually beef tallow. Sometimes crushed, dried berries are added as well. For long periods of time, people can subsist entirely on pemmican, drawing on the fat for energy and the protein for strength, and glucose, when needed.
Vihljamur Stefansson, eminent anthropologist and arctic explorer, went on three expeditions into the Alaskan tundra during the first quarter of the 20th century. His discoveries – including the “blond” Inuit and previously uncharted Arctic lands – brought him renown on the world stage. People were fascinated by his approach to travel and exploration, the way he thrust himself fully into the native Inuit cultures he encountered. Stefansson studied their language, adopted their ways, and ate the same food they ate. In fact, it was the diet of the Inuit – fish, marine mammals, and other animals, with almost no vegetables or carbohydrates – that most intrigued him. He noted that, though their diet would be considered nutritionally bereft by most “experts” (hey, nothing’s changed in a hundred years!), the Inuit seemed to be in excellent health, with strong teeth, bones, and muscles. He was particularly interested pemmican.
A few years ago, I wrote a post describing all the things that avowed Primal eaters can learn from plant-based or even vegan dieters. Sure, we’re diametrically opposed on the role of animal foods in human health, but there are still relevant takeaways.
Carnivores are much closer to Primal eaters on the dietary spectrum, The Primal Blueprint posits that animal foods—meat, fish, fowl, shellfish, eggs, and dairy—represent the most nutrient-dense, most crucial component of the human diet. Carnivore takes that and runs with it, to its logical conclusion: Animal foods are so nutrient-dense and so important that we should eat them to the exclusion of everything else.
I don’t exactly agree, but I see where they’re coming from. And there’s a lot we can learn from the carnivore movement. I’ve got 8 takeaways today.
It’s Giving Tuesday, and while I know the world is full of good causes, today I’m highlighting one close to my heart. It’s one I’ve contributed to significantly because it matters on so many levels.
I’ve spent nearly 14 years working against the tide of misinformation out there around human health and agricultural agenda. Diana Rodgers has worked tirelessly and creatively for the same purpose. She’s just launched a crowdfunding campaign to finish what I think will be one of the most groundbreaking, revolutionary documentary films ever—one that has the power to turn the public conversation around health and ecology. But she needs support to finish and distribute this film, and that’s why I’m sharing her campaign today.
Read more and watch her video to see for yourself.