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Low Protein High Protein paleo macronutrient ratios-min

Low Protein? High Protein?

In case you didn’t already know, dietary protein is essential for human health. Protein is used in the body to build and maintain new tissue such as muscle, hair, nails, skin, bone and blood cells. It is also required to create the enzymes for the body to carry out certain processes, such as the digestion of food; and neurotransmitters, which control your ability to carry out basic tasks (like thought and movement). US dietary guidelines recommend a daily intake of 45g per day for females, and 55g per day for males. In reality, you need much more to maintain optimum health, especially if you’re active. But just how much should you be taking in? And is it possible to consume too much?

Put simply, the amount of protein you need is unique to each individual. For a sedentary person, Many sources recommend around 1g of protein per kilo of bodyweight as a realistic amount needed to maintain lean mass. If you’re more active, you’ll be looking at around 1.5g – and if you’re lifting (and looking to increase lean muscle mass), between 1.8g and 2.0g per kilo of bodyweight is optimal. For example, a 70kg man training three times per week and looking to increase his muscle mass should be targeting between 130g and 140g of protein per day. That’s the equivalent of around 3 eggs, one chicken breast, a handful of almonds and one sirloin steak – so is by no means reaching into the realms of ‘forced’ protein.

Low Protein High Protein paleo macronutrient ratios-min

Indeed, if protein forms the majority of your caloric intake, then you’re probably consuming too much. Fat should be your main source of energy, with between 15 and 25% coming from protein. Too much protein can create excess toxins in the body, and put a significant strain on the liver and heart. Not ideal.

Chances are, your Paleo diet already features a respectable amount of protein and you’ll probably be achieving your protein ‘target’ without even knowing it. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds are all good sources of this macro-nutrient. Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, are found in plants as well – albeit in various quantities. If a food contains all of the ‘essential’ amino acids, then this food is considered a ‘complete’ protein. As plant protein sources are normally lacking in at least one of the essential amino acids, they are usually considered as ‘incomplete’ protein. This is one of the reasons it is hard for vegans to consume adequate protein, and leads to them having to selectively combine foods to achieve a complete amino acid profile.

To conclude, it is probably much better you focus on the quality of the protein you are taking in rather than the quantity. Don’t worry too much about hitting a ‘target amount’ – simply build each meal around a high quality protein source like red meat, poultry, fish or eggs. Consume extra if you’re active, especially on training days. But don’t stress yourself out about it; you’re much more likely to be getting a solid amount of protein each day simply by eating real foods.

Do you Get Enough Cobalt Vitamin B12 paleo diet primal deficiency supplements-min

Do you Get Enough Cobalt?

Cobalt forms part of the structure of vitamin B12, which makes it an essential dietary mineral. In its inorganic form, cobalt is also an active nutrient for bacteria, algae and fungi, which means that it can help to maintain the balance of the natural bacteria within your body, as well as all of the other bodily functions that it is involved with.

The human body can only absorb cobalt in the form of vitamin B12.

What Does Cobalt Do?

Cobalt is one of the constituent elements of vitamin B12, which makes it essential for us to consume. It is an enzyme catalyst, important for the nervous system and healthy blood cells. Vitamin B12 is also involved with the production of DNA in the body, ensuring that new cells form correctly. Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to megaloblastic anemia, which makes sufferers tired and weak, and some mental problems, such as mania and depression.

Some cobalt is stored in the blood supply within the body, where it helps iron absorption and the building of red blood cells. One of the signs of cobalt deficiency is high concentrations of iron in the serum. People suffering from anemia can help their condition by increasing their cobalt intake.

Food Sources of Cobalt

Cobalt is available from both plant and animal sources. Some of the best plant food sources are green leafy vegetables and apricots. Organ meats are a better source of cobalt than muscle, so hearts, kidneys and livers are good foods to boost your cobalt intake. Other cuts of meat do contain cobalt, but in lower quantities.

As cobalt is present in vitamin B12, you can also boost your natural resources with foods that are high in this vitamin. Some of these include:

  • Clams, Oysters and Mussels
  • Liver
  • Fish
  • Beef
  • Crabs and Lobster
  • Lamb
  • Do you Get Enough Cobalt Vitamin B12 paleo diet primal deficiency supplements-min

Another, possibly surprising, source of vitamin B12 is the human digestive system. When the bacteria in the human gut has a supply of cobalt and certain other nutrients it can produce vitamin B12. In some cases, this could be sufficient to fulfill the dietary requirements.

Problems with Cobalt Intake

It is difficult to overdose on vitamin B12 – as a water-soluble chemical; any excess will generally pass out of the body. However, it is occasionally possible to ingest too much and this can lead to numbness or tingling in the arms or face. Other symptoms include insomnia, anxiety or rashes. High levels of vitamin B12 can exaggerate certain medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism or mitral valve prolapse.

Cobalt is an essential nutrient that is vital for the health of your body and is a major part of vitamin B12 that is all essential to your health. Make sure you eat enough of the foods that contain these to keep your body in its prime. Eat plenty of red meat and seafood to top up your cobalt levels and you will certainly feet better for it.

How are your mineral levels? Have you ever had them checked?

Where Does Your Fish Come From Australia New Zealand paleo diet frozen-min

Where Does Your Fish Come From?

Living on a great big island surrounded by the sea, I had always assumed the fish sold in Australia would be, well, Australian. If not Australian, perhaps from neighbouring New Zealand?

I was horrified in my local supermarket (the photos are from Coles, but Woolworths was a similar story) to look at the frozen fish on offer – I couldn’t find a single offering of Australian or New Zealand fish! It was also quite hard to even see the origin, as it seemed to be almost hidden on the labelling.

The one pack that had New Zealand fish was “made” in China. I want to eat local fish – and if it’s being shipped halfway around the world (and back) to be “made”, that raises a lot of questions in my mind about the manufacturing process, freshness, control and quality.

Where-fish-from-supplier-source-Asia-Australia-New-Zealand-Frozen-Coles-Woolworths-Imported-Local-min
The fish in the photo are labelled as being from (or made in) Vietnam, Malaysia, China – or more worryingly just “from local and imported ingredients”. For all the good that last label does, perhaps the local ingredient is the packaging they come in – and imported could mean absolutely anywhere!

Fish is something I’m particularly concerned to source well. After the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, record levels of radiation have been found in local sea life. I just don’t want to eat food that might contain radio active material. A reasonable request?

There are also issues around differing mercury levels in different oceans – and the whole argument around farmed fish and sustainable fish. It is really important to know exactly what you are eating and where it is from.

Ideally we would all catch our own fish, or failing that go to a fish market or monger. But unfortunately, sometimes we’re busy working and need to rely on other sources for our food. For something as simple as fish, I would love to be able to buy local, in my local store – and to be confident about it’s origin, freshness and past!

I’d love to know where you get your fish – and if you’d ever buy frozen? Does the source of your fish worry you, as much as it does me?

Where Does Your Fish Come From Australia New Zealand paleo diet frozen-min

Are Protein Powders Paleo primal whey casein pea rice hemp-min

Are Protein Powders Paleo?

I’ve had a few emails recently asking whether protein powders are Paleo – and which ones I would recommend.

Of course, real food is always the best option, but I understand that there are times when a liquid protein “meal” is called for – particularly for people who are crossfitting or lifting weights, perhaps. A post workout meal seems to be the main time people use protein supplements, as they try to replenish the protein and glycogen that they used during their workout.

Are Protein Powders Paleo primal whey casein pea rice hemp-min

Real Food Post Workout Protein Options:

Fortunately, there are some quick ways to get a protein hit post workout. Try preparing in advance and taking along with you:

  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Tins of (good quality) fish
  • Leftover chicken or turkey
  • Jerky

Whey Protein Powder

A popular form of protein supplement is whey protein. Whey is a by product of cheese making (as in curds and whey), so it is a naturally occurring protein, which contains the proteins beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, and serum albumin. As whey is clearly dairy, is isn’t Paleo, and as it is processed, isn’t really Primal either. Whey protein is anti-atherogenic, quick to absorb and is supposed to help with increasing lean muscle mass.

Casein Protein

Casein protein is another milk based protein, but is not as quick to absorb as whey protein.

Egg White Protein

Is another good choice and represents all amino acids

Pea Protein

This is a common vegan protein powder, but is not absorbed as well as animal based protein powders.

Rice Protein

Made from brown rice, this is another vegan protein. Could be a good option is allergic to dairy proteins.

Hemp Protein

This is becoming very popular as another vegetarian/ vegan option, but is also not as well absorbed at the dairy based powders.

Unfortunately, the dairy based protein powders can come from the milk of cows treated with hormones. If you’ve looked at the ingredients of many powders, you may have noticed artificial sweeteners soy products, and ingredients you can’t even pronounce – not remotely Paleo. For that reason the only protein powder I would recommend (if you feel the need to take one) would be Primal Fuel, from the Primal Blueprint. This is a whey protein, which contains by far the best natural ingredients of any powder I’ve looked at – and no soy, artificial flavourings or sweeteners.

Paleo Primal Fuel Potein Powder Supplement Whey Order

Do you take protein supplements? I’d love to hear under what circumstances – and which ones you use.

The Paleo Diet Potassium Deficiency-min

Potassium & The Paleo Diet

Potassium is one of the key minerals for the diet and it can offer a wealth of health benefits, when consumed in the right level. Potassium is known to help the nervous system, as it plays a part in ensuring it functions properly. It can also help to strengthen muscles in the body and is a good way to reduce cramps. The correct level of potassium will also help the body to maintain a good water balance and ensure that the main organs in the body function to their optimum levels, including the heart and kidneys. A deficiency of potassium can cause a lot of health issues as it will cause a restriction of these organs and can result in an imbalance of minerals in the body.

People who suffer from heart and kidney problems and are overweight, often have far too much sodium in their diet and very little potassium. The wrong ratio of these two can lead to a range of health problems as, although they work well together to ensure the right nutrients are being taken into the body, sodium levels should be at a much lower level than potassium levels. A diet which is high in salt restricts potassium levels and increases sodium levels, which can be highly detrimental in maintaining a healthy body.

As the Paleo diet is based upon the diet of our Stone Age ancestors, it encourages the consumption of foods with high potassium levels and a limitation on those which contain sodium. Our ancestors managed to get the ratio right, but in a culture where many people live on highly processed and sugar rich foods, potassium levels are much lower than they should be to live a healthy lifestyle. We don’t need a high level of sodium to be healthy, but is important that this is not completely restricted from the diet.

The Paleo Diet Potassium Deficiency-min

There are many foods which are part of the Paleo diet are not only tasty but are also high in potassium levels, which help to keep our bodies in good working order for as long as possible. Meats such as beef, chicken and pork form the staple of the Paleo diet and these can act as a good source of potassium. There are many fruits which also have high potassium content, including avocados and bananas are well known to have potassium in plentiful supply.

Vegetables can also act as a good source of potassium as can nuts and seeds which are ideal on the Paleo diet to consume as a snack, rather than turning to chips and chocolate. Although it is important to have a diet high in potassium, it is also vital to eat the right amounts and not over consume this mineral. A good way to achieve this in the Paleo diet is to take a note of the contents of food we are in taking, so we know we are getting it right.

As the Paleo diet focuses on eating fresh and unprocessed foods, it is the ideal way to maintain a good level of both potassium and sodium. The ratio should always be much higher in potassium than it is in sodium. If you are eating a lot of vegetables, which is encouraged in the Paleo diet, you can reduce potassium levels by soaking them in water, which can also be done with nuts and seeds. A few simple changes to the diet can be hugely beneficial in reducing the likelihood of suffering from serious illnesses and can also reduce the chance of current illnesses becoming serious. It has been shown that those who suffer from kidney disease can improve the condition by improving consumption of potassium and lowering sodium levels.

An awareness of potassium and sodium levels in the body can go a long way to improving health, no matter when you start to educate yourself on it. The Paleo diet is a good way to achieve the right balance of nutrients and vitamins in the body which will stand you in good stead for a long and healthy lifestyle. In order to function properly, the brain needs to be fed with high levels of potassium which can then affect the rest of the body.

It is all about awareness and knowledge of which foods will support us through our lives and those which will be detrimental. The Paleo diet acts as great support for us to ensure we are boosting consumption of the right foods and lowering those which are unhealthy.