When I wake up, the first thing I think about is my first meal, then the meals I will consume throughout the day around my workout. Then at the end of each day I look back, making sure I have consumed enough protein from my meals as well as my additional protein shakes.
My main sources of protein come from poultry/meats as they are an excellent source of protein and are rich in the different vitamins and minerals which are needed to support my training and physique goals. Chicken, turkey and steak are my main choices of protein, with eggs and fish such as salmon, sardines and haddock consumed usually every other day, as I like to mix my meals around so I don't feel as if I'm eating like a robot.
I consume at least one poultry/meat source of protein every day, which in my mind is fine as I live a healthy lifestyle and since I'm eating a lot of the same food it's important that I enjoy most of what I'm eating. I am, however, man enough to say that I am quite narrow-minded when it comes to the food that I choose to consume as my main sources of protein and I've got it in my head that poultry/meat is the best choice. I've put to the back of my mind some of the negative health issues which can be linked with eating too much of these foods.
Research has highlighted that eating a lot of meat can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and atherosclerosis, as well as high blood pressure and increased risk of stroke and heart failure due to the sodium content in these foods. Eating moderate amounts of unprocessed red meat such as steak, hamburger or lamb is significantly healthier than eating processed meat such as bacon, salami or sausage. Eating lean cuts of meat and avoiding seasonings can reduce saturated fat cholesterol and sodium content. Lean cuts of beef include round, chuck, sirloin and tenderloin, whereas the leanest cuts of pork are tenderloin, loin chops and leg.
Choosing to reduce the amount of poultry/meat consumed or replacing them with other sources of protein for two days per week could be a good way to rotate your current diet and make it slightly more meat free. It is also probably more beneficial for your health in the long run. There are so many other sources of quality protein out there, so it's really just down to branching out and incorporating new sources and recipes into your current diet.
Below are some alternative sources of protein which could be used on your meat-free days to give your digestive system a break from having to break down such calorie-dense foods while still supplying your body with the protein it needs for growth and repair.
Protein – 8g per one cup cooked
Protein – 6g per one cup cooked
Protein – 10g per 2 tbsp serving
4. Rice and beans
Protein – 7g per one cup cooked
5. Ezekiel bread
Protein – 21g per 1/3 cup serving
7. Hummus & pitta
Protein – 7g per one whole-wheat pitta & 2 tbsp of hummus
8. Peanut butter sandwich
Protein – 15g per 2 slice sandwich with 2 tbsp of peanut butter
9. Cottage cheese
Protein – 13g per 1/2 cup
Protein – 6g per egg