Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Snack in between. Don’t let your blood sugar drop. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Lunch is at noon. Business lunches are where the deals are made. Do you know how important dinner with the family is? And if you eat dinner with your family your kids will be happier, healthier, more connected humans. Make sure you get enough protein! Eat lean meats!
We always tell our clients to scrap everything they think they know about food and nutrition. The paragraph above is a good example why: it’s all propaganda and it’s making anyone who partakes in it fat and sick. The concepts above have zero to do with what is best for your body.
Historian Abigail Carroll, author of the book Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal, explains that the three a day eating schedule goes back at least as far as the Middle Ages in Europe. When Europeans arrived in America, they brought their meal habits: a light meal in the morning, a heavier, cooked one midday, and a third meal similar to the first one later in the day.
As people became more prosperous, they added meat to breakfast and dinner. After the Industrial Revolution, when people began to work away from home, the midday meal became a more casual affair, and the cooked meal shifted to the end of the day, when workers came home. The one thing that did not change was the overall amount of food that people consumed—despite the fact that they had transitioned from the active lifestyles of the farm to sedentary ones in cities and suburbs.
In an effort to rein in caloric intake, nutritionists began advising people to eat a lighter breakfast—and marketers pounced on the opportunity. In 1897, brothers Will Keith Kellogg and John Harvey Kellogg introduced corn flakes as healthy alternative to heavy breakfasts.
Corn Flakes was a hit, and breakfast became known as a meal for health food. Fruit-grower associations seized the opportunity to market juices, which, the ad campaigns announced, were full of a newly discovered thing called vitamins. The makers of breakfast foods warned of the dangers of skipping “the most important meal of the day.” Brilliant marketing, eh?
For most people under the SAD (Standard American Diet) spell, it’s hard to think of getting protein from anything other than animal products. As a matter of fact, it is one of the first concerns that arises for our clients when people learn they have cut animal products out of their diets. “Egads?! What about protein?!” they cry across the land. “You HAVE to eat protein!” Slabs of flesh as well as dairy products are what most rely on when seeking their protein fix. But the interesting twist to it all is that foods such as peas, green vegetables, and beans have more protein per calorie than meat, according to our favorite scientist, Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Another fascinating aspect of receiving protein through veggies is that the foods richest in plant protein are the foods richest in micronutrients, and that’s what nutritarians are all about: vitamins, minerals, fibers, bioflavonoids, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals (all of the good stuff that promotes cell rejuvenation, reduces inflammation and chances for disease, etc). By eating more of these high-nutrient, low-calorie foods, you receive plenty of protein and your body is flooded with protective micronutrients at the same time. Animal protein does not contain antioxidants or phytochemicals and is filled with saturated fat—the most dangerous type of fat, the kind that feeds heart (and other) diseases. So, you can choose to eat the grass… or eat the cow who ate the grass to get the amino acids you need, not the protein!
With social pressures, rogue advice flowing freely and billion dollar marketing budgets at play, it becomes difficult—and a novel concept—to actually eat when you feel hungry and to eat the most nutrient-rich options possible. Not because of social cues, a particular time of day, propaganda, or because something just tastes good. We each have the power inside of us to pay close attention to our own bodies. Don’t buy what they are trying to sell you. And that goes for protein, too. Fuel your body with the good stuff to ensure you will live a long, healthy life. Love your body and it will love you back.