I’ve never been the healthiest eater – and that’s an understatement. My taste buds are incredibly partial to fast food and sugar. The irony of this being that I have worked for a decade at this point in health care. I’ve spent years working with cancer patients, and then post that I was involved in running outpatient care centers for pediatric and adult populations in the Bronx in New York. I would eat what was available to me, and neglected my strong family history of breast cancer and diabetes – both lifestyle related issues. However, in my early 20s, this didn’t bother me at all.
With my kids though, once they were born, I made sure that their early foods was extremely nutritious and that I introduced them to every vegetable. My son was born in New York and I vividly remember that at some point he had tried six different types of squashes. I tried my best to make sure that they made healthy choices, inspite of hiding in the kitchen and adding sugar into my own diet. This worked well until the pandemic and then everything had to change – for two main reasons. The first one being that we started eating family meals – and my kids were watching everything I ate. Kids learn first and foremost from what they see – and so it was important for me to set a good example for them and eat the same things I was making them eat. And I wanted them to eat well. The pandemic caused panic, but it made mothers all over focus on what they were feeding their kids. In many ways the pandemic rendered us helpless, but what we could do and could control – was our immunity, and making sure that we gave it the building blocks it needed to be able to put up a good fight. This was key for ourselves and for our children. And that was when it finally changed for me. Late night delivery orders were replaced with healthy home cooked meals, my morning breakfast became fruits, and my lunches often had avocadoes and other vegetables in it or even sabji and roti – which wouldn’t touch my plate before. And I shored up my diet with a lot more protein.
Infact, I spent a lot of time doing research, and what stood out to me the most was how essential proteins really are. Here are a few reasons to add more protein to your diet (and to your family’s diet):
1. Proteins build your immunity: Proteins are the backbone of the body’s immune system, as they are made of amino acids. These play a primary role in making up the cells like leukocytes, cytokines and phagocytes that are necessary for our immune system and are warriors in the fight against diseases. A strong immune system is the most important thing in a time like this.
2. Proteins increase strength: Proteins are the building blocks of our muscles. They help us maintain muscle mass and even promotes muscle growth when combined with strength training. Therefore, if you are physically active, or even if you plan to be, a good protein diet goes a long way in giving you the strength that you need to meet your goals.
3. Protein is good for your bones: Most long-term studies indicate that protein, including animal protein, has major benefits for bone health. People who eat more protein maintain better bone health as they age and have a much lower risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Eating plenty of protein and staying active is the best way to reduce the risk of bone issues.
4. Protein reduces cravings: A food craving isn’t about hunger but is about your body needing a reward. These tend to be very hard to control. However, increasing your daily protein intake is one of the best prevention methods not just to reduce craving but to reduce late-night (and unhealthy) snacking too. This happens by mediating dopamine, which is the main neurotransmitter involved in controlling habits and even addictions.
5. Boosts metabolism and increases fat burning: Our body uses calories to digest food and convert what it can into nutrients. This is often referred to as the thermic effect of food. Not all foods are made equal when it comes to the thermic effect and protein has a much higher thermic effect than carbs. Infact, protein intake can boost metabolism and increase the calories you burn by 80-100 calories more per day. Some studies have shown even higher outcomes than this.
In addition to all this, protein even lowers your blood pressure and helps your body repair itself post an injury. So protein really is the best ingredient to focus on when looking at repairing or shoring up your supplies. The opposite though in terms of effects and harm is sugar. It’s also important to make sure that when you are consuming protein – that there are no hidden sugars because sugar can reduce your immunity on an immediate basis. The body gets so busy burning it off, that the positive effects of other nutrients get lost. Just one of the many reasons to add protein to yours and your children’s diets!
Knowing all this, caused me to shift my morning routine and daily meal plan to include more protein, and to be more regular and consistent with my workouts which wasn’t so easy while shuffling the added pressures of homeschooling. I had to realign my days and my food habits to make sure to include the following:
1. Adequate sleep: Atleast 8 hours for every mom, which often isn’t possible all at once, especially if you are a new mom. My kids are 4 and 7 and I still wake up multiple times to check on them (if they haven’t checked on me first). However, getting to bed early has given me a little more time to sleep which helps the next morning.
2. Enough water: I try to get through a gallon a day of water a day (4 litres). Hydration is key for everything from your skin to your metabolism functioning the way it should.
3. Time to breathe: Some days this is impossible, atleast until the kids are asleep. However, I try to start my day with a few minutes to myself. Even if that’s a quick drive after my workout, a song I want to hear, or silence while I try to make a to do list for my day. The key to sanity and even to patient parenting is being able to prioritize yourself and your own needs to because only then will you have the mental sustenance you need to get through your day.
4. Vitamins: Our daily diet needs to include 10 essential nutrients and vitamins like Vitamin B1 and B2, Vitamin A,C,E, B12 and Folate to support healthy development and immunity. All of these are available in Protinex Tasty Chocolate which I have recently added to my diet. Plus, it has zero added sugar so I can avoid unnecessary sugars, while still drinking something delicious!
5. Adequate protein intake: I’ve added in a supplement to help me shore up my protein content and my protein requirement for the day is completely taken care of – by Protinex! It covers what you need for vegetarians and is a great add on even for non vegetarians like myself.
6. Daily workout: Whether online or in person, this is something that I have to do everyday. Even if I’m tired or sore, I’ll get in a light Pilates workout, and on my more active days I’m working with weights or functional training. It resets me completely, and recharges too, plus it helps me get fitter and healthier, which is a great goal to have and to pass on to my kids!
It’s so important, in times like these, to keep an eye on whats best for your family – and usually that’s you! So prioritize yourself too. Eating better is an easy way to do that and to invest in your own health too. Protinex India is innovative and can help you add in the nutrients you need into your diet. Plus, their unique Immuno Nutrient Calculator helps you calculate the nutrient levels in your daily diet. They also offer a free consultation and 30-day personalized diet plan with an expert nutritionist! Click here to try it today –
Much love and more to come!