As we take up the challenge of elimination or balanced dieting (Badger is going through right now with the help of Lifestyle Nutrition), it can be exhausting coming up with food alternatives that meet the criteria — no added sugar, gluten free, dairy free. And perhaps the biggest challenge is finding quality protein sources adhering to the rules of the challenge. Here are four ways to get in grams and stay in your guidelines:
1. Peruse farmers markets: Small farms and businesses usually make their items in small batches, which means less refined sugar and more quality ingredients. It also means more time and art is put into the creation, giving it a healthier, less processed outcome. Ask questions before buying: How is this made? Where is your grain from? What do you feed your cows?
2. Visit your local butcher: Local butchers know a thing or two about where their meat comes from (maybe even down to the farm it was raised at) and how it is processed. Again, ask questions: Where is this cow from? What was it fed? Do you add anything to the processing phase? Badger’s favorite is Kettle Range, an organic, grass-fed source providing everything from steak to breakfast sausage.
3. Consider collagen proteins: If you’re planning to go dairy-free and still need a protein supplement after a workout, consider collagen peptides, which comes from the bone instead of milk. Vital Proteins offers a main line of collagen peptides that pack just as much protein punch as your typical whey shake. While it comes in different flavors, the unflavored (and most popular type) can be mixed into any drink, even coffee. Other products include bone broth, creamer and whey.
4. Try pre-made paleo kits: On-the-go paleo kits are great sources for balanced protein, carbs and fat. Badger’s favorite is Steve’s Paleo Kits, a vaccuum-packed combo of jerky, nuts and fruit that is pure in ingredients with no added sugar.
5. Do-it-yourself: Sometimes protein snacks require a little at-home work. Consider hard or soft-boiling eggs, dehydrating your own jerky, cooking egg whites into your oatmeal, experimenting with fish.
While it can be difficult to brave a nutrition challenge, remember balance as the key, and that includes whole, clean protein sources. You can do it!