One Simple Nutrition Fix

by Tania Tetrault Vrga

I am an avid proponent of efficiency.

In the gym I always choose the most bang for your buck exercises. I have come to realize that this concept also applies to nutrition. I could come up with a quasi-ideal diet of unprocessed, nutrient dense, delicious foods, in the right portions and proportions for just about anyone. But the reality is that most people aren’t ready to make so many changes to their nutrition and lifestyle habits all at once.  It’s just too much. So I search for the one single fix, the one simplest, easiest thing someone can do that will have the most impact on their health. I have a few of these tricks in my arsenal, but the one I want to discuss today is the one most people find the easiest. It’s because it’s not about depriving oneself of a specific food or food group. It’s about what to eat, rather than what not to eat.

The one simple fix is to increase your protein intake.

You can’t expect to feel good and be healthy if your body is deficient in essential nutrients. Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks for just about everything in your body. First, so many people are deficient in this macronutrient, which makes all of the body’s processes work better.  Individuals with amino acid deficiencies will often instantly feel better when they top off their protein intake with the right foods. Secondly, increasing our protein intake keeps us satiated. We tend to have less room for other foods such as refined carbohydrates and processed industrial fats. I’ve seen people effortlessly lose five pounds of fat in a week by following this simple tip.

So how does this work?

First, let’s define protein. Sure, there is protein in vegetable sources such as beans and legumes, but for the purposes of this little experiment, I always define protein as meat or eggs, in other words, animal proteins that are predominantly made up of protein and that don’t have too much of the other macronutrients, carbohydrates or fat. I also don’t include dairy. This is because dairy sensitivities are so common, but also because of dairy’s insulinogenic properties, meaning that dairy does cause an insulin spike a lot like sugar would. There are certainly some appropriate alternatives for vegetarians but that would be another article. Make a list of proteins that fit the bill, and then simply make sure that every meal includes a good portion of protein, especially breakfast. Swap out cereal and toast for ham and eggs and see how the rest of your day goes. I’d be willing to bet you’ll feel a lot sharper and be less likely to have that mid morning lull that usually has you scrambling for a doughnut.