Sunday, January 4, 2015

Role of Protein: Training, recovery, and that growing baby!

            With Timber Land Chiropractic, we have been looking at my diet and a main focus has been on increasing my protein intake for two reasons: boost my training and recovery, and for the growing Baby Wyss #2.
            For baby development: protein becomes increasingly important as the baby develops.  It provides the amino acids that are needed for growth.  The amino acids that make up protein are the building blocks, the structure of cells, tissues, and muscles, and is important for brain and organ development, etc.  Pregnant women are advised to make sure they get enough protein to promote the healthy development of their baby – somewhere between 60-100 grams averaging/day. 
Something else to keep in mind – the pregnant body is an amazing, crazy thing, and so (for example) when the baby needs calcium for bone development, if the mom’s diet isn’t providing enough, then it will actually take the calcium from the mom’s body to provide it for the baby.  As a result, the mom now gets short changed and suffers the consequences, sometimes resulting in toothaches, etc, that can be taken as a sign that the mom needs to increase calcium in her diet.  The easiest way to do that is of course through milk.  And what do you know – milk also has 8 grams protein/serving too!  Signs of protein deficiency may appear in the form of weight loss (in a negative sense), muscle fatigue, frequent infections, and severe fluid retention.
The chin-ups are getting tougher... (7 mo)
            For athletic performance: protein is what repairs and rebuilds muscles that get broken down during workouts.  An athlete’s need for protein is higher than someone who is inactive.  The more training and intensity an athlete undergoes, the increased importance of refueling: with optimal timing and in an optimal ratio with carbohydrates (to replenish glycogen/energy stores that were burned during exercise).  Low-fat chocolate milk is the ultimate recovery beverage for athletes because it provides all of these things.  Milk's high-quality protein helps repair and rebuild muscle. Low fat chocolate milk is growing in popularity as a sports recovery beverage for one simple reason—it works.  For example, post-exercise muscle biopsies in eight moderately trained male runners showed that after drinking 16-ounces of fat free chocolate milk, the runners had enhanced skeletal muscle protein synthesis—a sign that muscles were better able to repair and rebuild—compared to when they drank a carbohydrate-only sports beverage.3  Also, an Indiana University study found endurance-trained cyclists who drank low fat chocolate milk after an intense period of cycling were able to work out longer and with more power during a second exercise period later that same day compared to when the same athletes drank a commercially available carbohydrate replacement drink.3 More information can be found at
            As a pregnant athlete, my personal need for protein (and even calcium) is pretty high with my chiropractor recommending 130 grams or more every day.  So what are some natural sources of protein that we can find in foods?  The best sources provide all 9 essential amino acids – making red meats and dairy the best source (because it is high quality protein), with plant sources being secondary. 
Still hitting the weights at 7 months (31wks)!
Here are a few examples of protein sources2:
      1/2 cup 1% cottage cheese: 14 g
      8 ounce container low-fat yogurt: 9-13g
      1 ounce Parmesan cheese: 11 g
      1 cup milk: 8 g
      1 ounce cheddar cheese: 7 g
      1 large fresh egg: 6 g
Beans, nuts, legumes
1 cup cooked lentils: 18 g
1 cup canned black beans: 15 g
1 cup canned kidney beans: 13 g
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter: 8 g
1 ounce dry roasted peanuts: 7 g

            What have I been doing?  I try to make sure that I have meat regularly and I’m looking at labels more too.  Lean ground beef is approximately 100 grams of protein in a pound and chicken is close to the same (chicken breasts have 23 grams/ quarter pound, our hamburger doesn’t have a label on it since it is home-grown).  One cup of milk has 8g, my Greek Yogurt has 13g, my granola 6g/serving (combining them is great), and I’ve been eating more eggs, peanuts, peanut butter, etc.  Some days I may consume up to 8 glasses of just milk, giving me 64 grams of protein and a lot of calcium and other important nutrients just from that!  So raise a glass (of milk of course!) to the New Year and a smarter diet!

1. Freda, Margaret. Ed.D., R.N., C.H.E.S., F.A.A.N. The Protein Push.

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