How Much Protein Do You Really Need?

protein, nutrition, health

This subject often conjures up many different answers and often confusion in our culture.  We’re told that we need more and more protein, yet many of us are eating too much of it.  Our Director of Nutrition, Yvonne Nienstadt gives us key points on how much protein we actually need and the best way to get it in your diet.

  • How much protein we need is based on our body weight and composition.  The Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is 10%-12% of your total daily calories.  If you work out on a regular basis or do heavy weight lifting you may need more.
  • The National Research Council recommends 0.42 grams of protein per pound of body weight while the institute of Medicines Food and Nutrition Board recommends 0.36 grams per pound.
  • Protein is made up of 22 amino acids.  14 are the non-essential acids which are essential for pregnant women, children and athletes.  The other eight are called the essential amino acids which cannot be made in the body and are necessary for health.
  • Nails and hair that won’t grow and wounds that won’t heal are signs of protein deficiency.
  • Symptoms of protein excess are gouty arthritis, kidney stones and renal impairment.  Eating over 90 grams of protein a day from a high animal protein diet causes the kidneys to work harder and can cause kidney dysfunction.
  • You can get the bulk of your protein from plants just like our closest primal cousins, chimpanzees, whose “total animal food consumption amounts to no more than 1-2% of total calories.”  Our teeth are built mostly for grinding plant matter.  Our stomachs have mild acidity and a very long digestive tract, not ideal for eating a lot of animal protein.

Contrary to most of the information out there regarding protein, you can get plenty of protein from plants and veggies, which should be the bulk of your meals, surrounding a small amount of whatever animal-based protein you like.  This will ensure you’re getting the right amount of protein without going overboard.

For more information regarding protein, you can attend Yvonne’s seminar at the Ranch, Protein: How Much Is Enough?

Reduce Stress and Get Better Sleep with Hypnosis

Stress and sleep deprivation are major health concerns today and often go hand in hand. Isn’t it true that when we’re worried and stressed we have trouble sleeping?  Also, if we haven’t had a good nights sleep that causes us to be tired and stressed during the day?  Bee Epstein-Shepherd, Ph.D. visited the Ranch recently where she talked about how hypnosis can cure both of these issues.

During her talk, she asked the audience what made them stressed.  The answers were common to all of us; money, work, relationships, etc.  One person said driving in traffic.  Bee asked her what made driving in traffic stressful and she answered that it takes too long to get from point A to point B.  Bee then suggested that instead of being stressed that it takes too long, take this time that you have all to yourself to relax, enjoy some nice music or a good audio book.  By the time you reach point B, instead of feeling stressed you should feel rejuvenated and refreshed.

Bee then went on to talk about sleep and that the main reason people have trouble sleeping is worry.  Worry is what keeps our brains awake and going throughout the night.  No matter how many other things you try to do to fix your lack of sleep won’t work if you still have worry on your mind.  She said the key is to think of a good memory or even a fantasy that makes you content and totally at ease.  Combine that with deep breathing and your mind will drift off to sleep.  The worst thing to do is think about what you have to do the next day, how early you get up or what you didn’t get done today.

It’s actually a rather simple process.  Bee said that she has no problem falling asleep anywhere at any time just by following those two steps.  You can learn more about Bee at her site

Deborah on Staying Youthful

Deborah Szekely, our founder, did a speech on staying youthful the other night that was very enlightening.  At 90 years old she still has so much energy and passion for health.  Did you know that Deborah still does pilates three times a week and goes for a three hour walk on Sundays.  It’s so inspiring!  If she at 90 years old can do that, there is no reason why the rest of us can’t do something every week to get ourselves in shape and good health.

She started out her speech saying that we are a nation deprived of oxygen.  Many of us work at computers all day and are breathing shallow without recognizing it.  Getting plenty of oxygen is so important for how our body’s function and especially for the brain.  We learned that we should be breathing from the pit of our stomachs to get ample oxygen into our blood stream.

In order to stay young, we need to think young.  For example, even though Deborah is 90 years old, she said that tells herself that she’s 60.  Be the age you want to be and then act like you are that age.  She mentioned that on a recent Sunday that she was with her family.  Her daughter went horseback riding and she decided that instead of just laying around relaxing, she was going to swim.  After all, she should have no problem swimming if she was 60 and not 90.  So she went swimming to get some exercise in that day.

She talked about how fitness is so important.  Being active is what helps us get maximum oxygen into our system.  Do something every day makes such a huge difference in our health.  Exercise is not just about losing some weight or looking better in our clothes, it about having good overall health.  Without our health, we just can’t do all the things that we want to do.

In addition to exercise, the way we eat is extremely important.  If you want to eat healthy, there are three things we need to try to do when we eat.  Eat organic, eat locally and also seasonally.  Deborah went on to say that nature provides us with the right foods at the right time.  Eat more locally grown seasonal fruits in the summer and then winter vegetables during the cold weather months.  Eating organic is also extremely important not just for our health, but for the environment as well.  By eating organic we don’t ingest toxins into our bodies and we protect our soils from contamination of toxic chemicals.

It was such an honor to hear Deborah speak about health and her journey throughout her 90 years.  There is always something new to learn from her!