Oh, how I know this road. Many of us have been here before.
In fact, my wellness journey went through a vegan phase when I was 19 after reading the book Skinny Bitch. I lost a lot of weight in the beginning, only to have it not-so-slowly creep back. I was so attached to my label that I held on to it for years in public while secretly ordering cheesecake and desserts to my East Village apartment and purchasing non-vegan pints of ice cream almost nightly from the bodega on the corner.
Fast forward years later—after a move to LA and letting go of the former dietary identity, I began a healing journey before Instagram was a thing and that was a term people actually used. Hiking, sunshine, barre classes, and cooking for myself using the local produce famously found in Los Angeles.
I felt amazing. My thinking was clear, my skin was clear, and I was physically and emotionally lighter. This path helped me realize that I want to help people feel good in their bodies.
Today, high-quality, minimally processed protein is my number-one focus when eating. I have never felt happier, stronger, and more at ease in my body. My weight no longer fluctuates on a monthly basis, and my sweet-tooth cravings still come (I am human!), but they don’t control my life.
Let’s get into the science!
There are a few factors to take into consideration when discussing adequate protein intake. I always tell my clients—when making food decisions, ask themselves, “Is this in line with my long and short term goals?”.
What I wish for myself and all people is a long life filled with ease and comfort, the ability to move the way you want and do the activities you want, and to stay energized for all the things you want to achieve.
If you want to feel the best in your body—energetically, physically, aesthetically, spiritually—placing an emphasis on adequate protein intake is what is going to get you there and keep you there.
Before I get into it, please know—all decisions are nuanced, and I support any and all well-informed decisions you make. I have felt over the years that this specific movement plays deeply into emotional decision making with guilt and shame being the driving factors. Unfortunately, there have not been enough opposing theories and information readily available to counterbalance the efforts that have gone into the movement as a whole.
Okay, back to the science!
Protein helps the body stay satiated for long periods of time and has very little effect on insulin levels. Elevated insulin levels affect your energy, mood, and ability to lose or maintain weight.
Protein is also the macronutrient with the highest thermic effect. High thermic effect of food (TEF), refers to the number of calories your body uses to digest, absorb, and process the nutrients in your meals.
Look at it as a hack to feeling your best and balancing your weight.
Aim for 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal, and you’ll find that your hunger and cravings show up in a more subdued way. There is freedom in this. Try it for a week and you’ll see what I mean.
Additionally, we are aging.
I’m sorry to bring it up, but if you want to keep your body moving easily, free of discomfort and injury, your muscles and joints need adequate protein levels. Your precious brain also needs protein to maintain neuroplasticity, which keeps you feeling sharp and smart as the years go by.
So not only does quality protein keep your blood sugar stable, it will also increase your metabolic rate and help keep you fueled, strong, satiated, and sharp throughout the day and for years to come.
Protein, along with fat and fiber, helps our body function optimally. The focus in my practice, Soul Wellness Method, is to feel strong and empowered in your body. We achieve this by focusing on gut health and hormonal health through the foods we eat and the decisions we make for a well-rounded modern life.
It’s important to note that we are so much more than the food we eat.
Yes, nutrition helps us be who we want in the world when filling our plates with above-ground vegetables, protein, and beneficial fats like olive oil and avocado. But movement, community, alone time, self-expression, and the way you talk to yourself must also be prioritized. These are key to modern wellbeing and the core principals of my methodology—soul wellness method.
As I mentioned earlier, everything is nuanced. Your wellbeing is as complex and individual as you. Here’s a list of go-to’s in my approach to a vibrant life.