Protein is a pretty magical macronutrient.
(Who’s mama’s favorite macro? You are! Yes, you are. You adorable, cell-regenerating peptide complex, you.)
Protein is responsible for the most amazing foundational practices in the human body, simply because it forms our cellular building blocks.
Just a few examples, all backed up by science:
- Wound healing. Pretty self-explanatory there. If our own building blocks (aka tissue) are ruptured, the best thing to fix it would be replacing the broken building blocks (aka ingesting similar tissue).
- Memory retention, mental clarity, and cognition. Which makes sense — if you don’t have the literal building blocks to transport thoughts, how can you think effectively?
- Bone formation, especially in conjunction with calcium and vitamin D.
- Anxiety and depression prevention. Comes back to the cognition example. Here it proves additionally that certain aminos are responsible for feeling calm — wouldn’t you want those constantly in your body, not just pre-/post-workout?
Yet in my experience training women and female-identifying individuals, I find that protein consumption is ridiculously low.
As in, a chicken breast a day is considered an accomplishment.
When you consider that a single breast has 20–30 grams of protein, and the recommended daily intake for a women who ostensibly doesn’t need extra building blocks — no osteoporosis, no arthritis, no health concerns that would require internal construction workers — is 1–1.2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight, then you’re looking at getting a third of your body’s functional material for the day.
This is why we, as a society, keep having heartrending discussions about osteoporosis, depression, anxiety, and all the health issues above.
So why are women — and plenty of men as well, but this case study focuses on women for a reason — undernourishing themselves, to the point that osteoporosis treatment sales are skyrocketing, and the anxiety and depression treatment is expected to hit nearly 19 billion dollars by 2026? (With margin of error for COVID, of course.)
There will be time to be terrified of those numbers after you’re done reading. Just get this, first:
If you plug the term “protein” into a search engine word cloud — ie: seeing what words, with what frequency, are largely associated with that term on the Internet — you get a pretty picture like the one you see at the beginning of this article.
Take a good gander at the terms floating in there.
None of them are particularly “feminine.”
Poor protein! It simply doesn’t have the sociocultural associations of grace, elegance, beauty, or whatever people are calling “feminine” these days. (I know we’re supposed to be past the gender binary at this point, but it’s still a work in progress for most of the world.)
Nevermind that it is the stuff of strong bones, healthy cartilage, and all the glorious structures that keep a dancer’s body in shape. Nor that it provides the physical pathways for neurons to fire and create a lyrical line like the one you just read — let alone the hormone function to appreciate it.
What’s the argument here? None.
Just a request.
Eat your body’s needs as a whole. You’re worth a lot more than a chicken breast.