Are You Getting Your Protein The Right Way? Complete vs. Incomplete Proteins

Think of protein as an alcoholic beverage. 

You’re standing at a bar, and you’ve got a bottle of gin, some Campari, and and a bottle of vermouth. You can only have one drink, and you’re trying to feel a nice buzz. 

There're a few ways to achieve this. 

One option is to pour out some straight gin and go for it.

Another option is to grab all three bottles and throw them together to make....

A Negroni! 

Either way you’ll get buzzed, it’s just a matter of personal preference.

Got it?

Ok, so think of all these bottles as proteins. This gin is a complete protein. The others are incomplete proteins. 

Now in this scenario we can equate "trying to get a nice buzz on" with "trying to build muscle." In order to build muscle and feel satiated and get our ideal bodies, we gotta consume protein.

But not all proteins are created equal. 

Proteins are basically just chains of amino acids.

There are two types of amino acids:

  • essential

  • nonessential

Nonessential amino acids are created by the body (so you don't have to worry about those), but essential amino acids are not and must be obtained from food.

And in order to really build muscle, we wanna get all of 'em.

So, back to the bottles.

The gin is high proof and will get you drunk quick— this is the "complete protein." 

The others are lower alcohol and could be consumed alone, but they serve their purpose much better when consumed together in a mixed drink. These are the "incomplete proteins."

Complete proteins contain all the essential amino acids in sufficient quantities, while incomplete proteins need to be combined together to create a complete protein. 

Complete proteins are typically animal-based (meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, etc.), however there're a couple other plant-based complete proteins as well, such as quinoa, buckwheat, hemp, and chia. 

Incomplete proteins (the ones that should to be combined) account for pretty much every other protein in the world-- grains, legumes, nuts, vegetables, etc. 

In other words, the less animal-based proteins you consume, the more diverse you want your plant-based diet to be, to make sure you’re getting all your aminos. 

This is particularly important if you’re a vegetarian or vegan.

To take it even one step further, you want to aim to combine what are known as “complementary proteins” to create a complete amino acid profile. 

Good examples of this are:

  • brown rice and beans

  • yogurt and nuts

  • hummus and whole grain pita

  • tofu and tahini

  • peanut butter and whole wheat bread

So when it comes to protein, do as they say and "consume responsibly."

Cheers!

Diets Don't Work.

Wherever you are, take a deep breath, cause I got a big dose of reality coming your way and it’s gonna sting like a shot of dive bar tequila. 

Diets.

Don’t.

Work.

Sounds nuts coming from a nutrition coach, right? But hear me out.

Diets don’t work because 80% of people will gain the weight back in less than a year (and, in all but 15% of those cases, will end up even heavier). 

Yep, it’s been statistically proven that only a lucky 20% will actually keep the weight off.

“Wait, wait, wait. 20%?! That’s it?”

It’s alarming and totally unfair, yes, but before you go throwing your hands in the air and crying into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, let’s take a moment to examine how and why this happens, and how we can overcome the odds with a little thing I like to call the: 

**SECRET SAUCE**

Let’s start with why 80% of people fail at trying to lose weight and improve their health in significant ways.

The first has to do with metabolism.

Your body is, essentially, too smart for its own good, and it adapts to whatever you throw at it, for better or worse.

Think about it in cave man terms. If you restrict your diet harshly and only give it a certain amount of calories or certain types of foods, it assumes that that’s what your primal human body needs to survive. It says, 

     “Oh no! Not much food to be had in these woods right now, I suppose I should ration out this body fat and learn to survive on less.”  

And then when you’ve slimmed down and gone off your diet, resuming your usual calorie intake or lifestyle, your body says,

    “Finally— we’re not gonna die— that’s awesome! Better continue to store this body fat in a safe place in case there’s another dry spell.”  

And guess where your genius-of-a-body stores that extra fat? Your thighs, your love handles, your chin…you get the idea.

In short, any diet that has a start and an end date won’t work the way you want it to because it just doesn’t work that way biologically.

However, there’s a bigger reason people “fail” at dieting. It’s not because they’re lazy or lacking in willpower (that’s just a sad stereotype perpetuated by a society with a proclivity towards “fat shaming”), it's because they’re using temporary or misguided fixes to solve a bigger, more long-term problem. 

Which brings me to the key point here:

The reason these 20% of people succeed in dieting is because they understand something fundamental about health, which is that only way to really lose weight, tone up, and get healthy for good is to change your lifestyle.

Now that means a lot of things— some big, some tiny— and it means something different for every person. 

It could mean less carbs and more sleep. 

Or more fat and less cardio.

These changes could be as small as drinking a tall glass of water in the morning, or as big as getting rid of toxic people in your life.

Everyone has their own special **SECRET SAUCE**, they're own combination of things that’ll keep them in optimal health.

And you know what the biggest and most important ingredient of that sauce is?

Loving your lifestyle. If you don’t love it, you’re not gonna stick to it, it’s as simple as that.

And that, my friend, is the difference between those who fail and those who succeed.

The weight loss champions love their new lifestyle— they’re addicted to it.

But those healthy addictions don’t happen overnight. They take time, consistent exercise, habits work, and lots of accountability. 

But where to start? 

It’s starts with the little things. 

It starts with moderation. It starts by changing one small thing at a time so that, over time, you come to crave better foods and a better lifestyle. I call these sustainable changes “microshifts” and they’re surprisingly powerful.

You don’t have to go on the Whole 30, you don’t have to join a crossfit gym, and you certainly don’t have to give up a well deserved cocktail every now and then.

You just have to find a balance that works for you and get accountable to it.

And if you need a little extra help with that, I happen to know a Wellness & Accountability Coach who’d love to help you out.

Consider applying to the program and joining the elite 20% of people who actually do lose weight and get healthy for good; the elite 20% who refuse to take the “easy” route of denial, supplements, and short term quick fixes; the 20% who are willing to put in the time and do what it takes to get what they want and create their absolute best life.

How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

This is a question (and an excuse) I get a lot:

"How am I supposed to eat healthy without spending ALL OF MY MONEY?" 

Listen, I get it. Fast food and hyper-processed sugar-packed goodies are everywhere and they’re cheap AF! 

It can feel like a ridiculous choice to make, standing in the grocery store choosing between a $2 box of 6 delicious glimmering glazed doughnuts or a single $2 organic lumpy grapefruit from Mexico. 

But just because it’s harder to find the cheaper, healthier options doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing. You don’t just settle for the first guy you meet on Match.com who’s over 5’6”. You got standards!

So here’re the exact steps to take to eat healthy on a budget.

1. Buy ALL of the fruits and vegetables!

Shop the perimeters of the supermarket. Stay away from the packaged foods in the middle aisles altogether, and go for the good stuff that’ll give you biggest nutritional bang for your buck. 

And, of course, go for the stuff that’s domestic and in season.

2. Replace "shit quality" meats with cheaper, more nutritious proteins.

Beans, eggs, hemp seeds, legumes, tuna, high protein whole grain, etc. Get out of the habit of buying crap deli meat and packaged nonsense, and go for the good stuff that’ll keep your pockets heavy and your stomach satisfied.

3. Get high quality meat and dairy for cheap by buying local.

Go to your local farmer’s market. Find a high quality butcher in your area. Are there any farms close to you? Get on Google, get creative, and do some research.

Fun tip: sometimes you can even find small, local farms that are secretly organic even if they don't have an organic certification, since the certification process is pricey and smaller places often can't afford to essentially "buy" the label.

4. Buy in bulk and seek out online deals.

Buy big, save money, and freeze as necessary. 

Don’t discount the power of shopping the interwebs. Sometimes my favorite health food store is Amazon. 

Just this week I got bulk packages of chia seeds, flax, hemp hearts, MTC oil, oatmeal, and a bunch of other great stuff for way cheaper than my local Manhattan Whole Foods.

5. Cook at home, Dummy!

Eating out is a surefire way to wreak havoc on your diet and ensure you spend more money than you’d like. 

Try getting into weekly meal prep, where you make all your meals for the whole week in bulk at one time and throw them into tupperwares in the fridge. It’ll save you time and energy and help you resist the urge to order in after a long exhausting day when you don’t feel like cooking.

And, of course, be smart and pack your lunch.

Hope that was helpful.

What're some of YOUR favorite affordable healthy foods?