A to Z Challenge: P is for Protein


Let’s talk about protein today. There is this understanding that protein is the most crucial macromolecule that we can eat. It is also widely believed that we are not getting enough in our daily consumption. And, if you are active you must take in even more protein to be healthy. So, let’s find out if any, or all of that is true!

What is protein?

Protein molecules are long chains made up of smaller amino acids. The 21* amino acids that account for every protein on the planet (yes, just 21 make up all proteins, in all living creatures) and are used to make hair, bone, blood, anitbodies, hormones, collagen, muscles and enzymes, and more!aHR0cHM6Ly9pLmltZ3VyLmNvbS9SQTlEaVNjLnBuZz8x


Obviously this is an important class of molecules! You are capable of making 11 of the 20 amino acids whenever you need them. The other 9, known as essential amino acids, must be consumed through food.

Proteins also store energy, just as carbohydrate and fat molecules. In N is for Nutrition we talked about how the cell will break apart atoms to release the stored energy to perform cellular work. Well, the same is true for proteins. The cell can break down the large protein back into amino acids and release energy at the same time.



If you are withholding carbs and fats in your diet and exercising, the cells are able to break down muscle fibers, muscle proteins, to get the energy they require. Remember the cycle of fad diets? How you will loose water and muscle, and gain back fat! This is how that happens!


Even though cells can break down protein, it is much harder do so than breaking down carbohydrates and fats. Making protein the cell’s last choice for its energy needs. So, in the long run a high protein, low carb diet will not work for weight loss.

Are we getting enough Protein?


According to the USDA the average American consumes 69 grams of protein daily. That include vegetarians! An active 130lb female needs 65 grams of protein, so most of us are set! If you workout an hour, for more than five days a week, then you should bump it up a little more.

Can you consume too much Protein?

Yes! A diet too high in protein can stress your kidneys, and even cause heart problems. But, you would have to consume hundreds of grams of protein for a prolong period of time to cause this damage.

Can Protein cause weight gain?

chocolate-peanut-butter-protein-shake-ingredients-4_smYes! People tend to talk about protein as if it is a magical answer to all things diet related. Protein can help in building muscle, which burns calories, but protein itself is not calorie free! In fact: 1 gram of protein = 4 calories, 1 gram of carbs = 4 calories and 1 gram of fat = 9 calories.  You need to consume protein to repair muscle fibers that are damaged during exercise, but if you eat too much protein, the extra will be stored and can cause weight gain. Obviously, if you are not limiting your portions of fatty protein sources you are taking in protein and fat.

So, what should you do?

Proteins-carbs-fatsBe judicious about your protein consumption. Be sure to have some form of lean protein at the start of the day, and a little at each meal. Include a protein snack 30-45 minutes after your workout. This is the magic window when your muscles need access to lean protein sources to repair the damage done during exercise.


Plant based protein sources are just as good as animal based and are very weightloss friendly! 😊


I do hope this clarifies some of your protein concerns 😃








*Selenocysteine is a recently discovered amino acid and is the 21st as it is found in protein synthesis. Ornithine was recently discovered but is a byproduct of urea formation so is not found in proteins.


A to Z Challenge: N is for Nutrition



When I thought about tackling this HUGE topic, a couple things went through my mind. What should I focus on? I don’t want to give dieting and weight loss advice, as I have already stated, I don’t believe in dieting.

I don’t want to talk specifically about nutrition for extreme body building. Those folks already spend a ton of time working out their own specialized nutrition plans for, lets face it, physiques most of us are not interested in developing.

So what does that leave? How about a quick refresher on nutrition for active people, who are working out regularly and looking to maximize those efforts. Bingo!


What do moderately active people need to fuel their fitness?

I don’t think there will be any “Aha” moments here! You need carbs, fats, and protein and pretty much in that order!

55%-60% of your daily calories should be carbohydrates, where the majority are from starches and only 10%-15% from refined or simple sugars.

30% of the calories should be from healthy sources of fat, and 10-15% from lean protein.

The easiest way to accomplish these targets is to eat a variety of foods each day, from low fat dairy, meat and produce. I think most people know a healthy fat from a less than stellar source: Think olive oil, versus butter. And, again, most know that protein from beans, and poultry is leaner than bacon!

Carbohydrates seem to give people the most trouble when trying to diferentiate the type of carb and the best source. Let’s talk carbs for a minute and what happens in your body.

If your cells could choose, they would use glucose as their primary energy source. Simple  sugars are glucose, or very close relatives to glucose, and can be turned into useable energy right away, and therefore gone quickly. Glucose stores are the primary fuel that  is burned in the first 20 minutes of exercise.


All these simple sugars are used for fast energy

Now, all carbs and fats are fuel, but not all can be used immediately.

As you continue to use up the available glucose in your blood, your cells will have to convert more complex carbs, or starches stored in your body, into glucose and then burn it. Triglycerides are a great example and are being consumed at this point, and you will have enough energy for about a two hour work out.


This is just one triglyceride molecule! See all those Carbon atoms? When the cell breaks those off, energy is released and your muscles function. It takes some time to get in there and break up this guy, but you have a lot of potential energy in here!


Finally the cells move onto larger fat molecules, which store the most energy. Those large molecules are broken down into smaller molecules, atoms are rearranged and bam, you have made more glucose to burn and fuel your activity.6c4bbd39756be63a8e8869294fb36421

What this means is that, unless you are working out at a high intensity for more that 60 – 90 minutes you will not need to consume carbs during your work out. Many people make the mistake of overestimating the number of calories they have burned, and underestimate the number of calories they take in after their workout.


Do not make the mistake of cutting out all carbohydrates from your diet!

Remember the whole “fat makes you fat” trend? Everyone was cutting out all fat from their eating plans, until we learned that you need healthy fats or your metabolism will not function properly. The same goes for carbs! If you severely limit your carbohydrates and then exercise, you will throw off the timing for your energy needs.

Make sure you have the proper fuel before you begin your workout.



And you need to eat smart after the workout, this is not a “I did X so now I can eat Y” moment! You need to be honest about how much work was done, and for how long!


And don’t forget that water!! Hydration is crucial, even in cold weather.


The Bottom Line!

Healthy active people need all macrobiotics (fats, proteins and carbs) to perform their activities. If you have some weight you wish to loose, you know what you need to do!

Eat food from healthy sources, and move your body.  🏋🏻‍♀️🧘🏻‍♀️🥊🏃‍♀️🏊‍♀️🧗‍♀️🚴‍♀️









A to Z Challenge: J is for Juicing


Let’s talk about juicing, facts and fictions.

If you type in “juicing for health” into the old search bar, a smorgasbord of topics pop up. The majority are related to weight loss, various juice recipes and information on how to start your own juicing business. The links related to actual science behind this idea, are much farther down the list.

Which tells me a couple things. Most people searching for information about juicing are interested in using it as a weight loss tool, perhaps thinking about meal substitutions or a juice cleanse. And, that like all other herbal and homeopathic supplements, there is little to no regulation associated with these products or their health claims.

In fact, I have only included two references, the only two that were not sponsored by a biased party, that relate to the science of juicing.

Let’s start with the facts:

All juices are higher in sugar content than the whole fruit, or vegetable, from which it was extracted.  Juicing works by pulverizing cellular walls and allowing the water soluble contents to leave the cell. Without the protective cell membrane, ever present airborne bacteria can begin to feed on the sugars released from the produce. Store bought juices have preservatives to slow down this natural process. You should consume fresh squeezed juice immediately. Also, be sure to clean your juicer thoroughly for food safety concerns.

Orange-Juice-vs-small-orangeThe juice has almost 2 1/2 times the sugar and total carbohydrates content of the 1 whole orange, and zero fiber. It takes far less time to drink that glass of juice than it does to peal and eat the orange.

Juicing removes all fiber from the whole fruit or vegetable. In fact the best machines list, as a top selling point, the removal of all seeds, stems, peel and pulp. That insoluble fiber is critical for healthy digestion and regularity. Many juicing fad diets recommend adding Metamucil to their juice to replace the fiber lost. Again, why not just eat the whole food!!

Fiber also provides a satiation that liquid alone can’t. Meaning you will be hungry soon after drinking those calories. Juicing proponents like to point out that there are more vitamins in the glass of juice, but that nutrient equivalent is also in those three orange, and you would not be hungry after eating three oranges!

Juice “cleanses” work in the same manner as all other cleanses and are completely unnecessary. We have already talked about the fact that your liver and kidneys do a perfectly fine job of filtering toxins from your system in our fad diet discussion.

Any weight lost during a juice diet, or cleanse, will be in the form of water and muscle mass. Fat will be regained when the individual returns to a normal, healthy eating plan.

Juicers can be expensive, anywhere from $50 to $400, if you really want to grind all that fiber out of it!

Now for some fiction:

The health claims made by the numerous juicing plans and diet architects, have no science to back up their claims.


Boosting immunity is only short term, long term effects of a juice only diet results in decreased immune response.

“Women’s Issues”? Which ones?

Decrease in body odor? Yikes, who had to sniff the subjects of that research project?😬 Oh, there weren’t any!


A top selling point for these plans is the claim that “your kids will love having their servings of fruit and veggies now!”  Seriously! Who are these kids? I don’t know any, certainly did not give birth to any!!  We all want our kids to eat fruits and vegetables, and that is the approach we should take. It is healthier, and if necessary there are multivitamins to supplement our kids’ diets until we find that magical combination of whole fruits and veggies that they will eat. I think adults who eat whole produce are better role models than a cup of green liquid😊.


The Bottom Line:

If you love to have juice, and have the caloric room in your normal eating plan, then go for it! Juicing your own will allow you to control the sugar content and mix your own blends. Just don’t over indulge, or use it as a meal replacement. Keep the serving size to 8oz and there is nothing wrong with it. But don’t fool yourself! You still need to incoporate whole produce, and in a variety of colors, to make sure that you are getting all the correct nutrition for the healthiest version of you😊💕

Do you juice? What is your experience with it? Love it? Let me know!