Difficulty with protein?

I am finding it difficult to eat the amount of protein that would work for me "on paper" and am wondering if anyone has suggestions. I'm currently trying to aim for 40%P, 40%F and 20%C, but finding it tough to pack all that protein in there. I usually end up with too much fat instead, or going over by a bit on my carbs.

I'm trying my best to go lower and lower with my carbs, but of course that means increasing protein and fat... however I've always found there's only so much animal protein I can stomach. I can't have more than about 3 ounces of chicken or fish in a meal without starting to feel a bit sick and having to force it down, only to feel it 'sitting there' in my stomach for a couple of hours afterward.

I want to stick mainly to "good fats" - olive oil, avocados, nuts etc, so I avoid fatty meats or other proteins that come paired with "bad fats". Gotta watch the cholesterol too, right?

Here are my main sources of protein:
- a vegan protein shake every morning
- fish (usually salmon or sole)
- chicken breast
- egg whites
- greek yogurt
- cheese
- nuts
- I picked up some turkey-bacon and chicken dogs this week that I'm going to try
- I really hardly ever eat red meat

My questions:

1) Does anyone know why more than 3oz of chicken/fish would make me feel sick? I once heard that it could be because my diet is too acidic and that adding lemon to my water could help make my stomach more alkaline (which would then help me tolerate it better).

2) What are some other sources of protein I could add that don't come paired with "bad fats" or extra carbs?

Thanks in advance for your help!

I don't know if I can do it but I bought a can of sardines to try for the first time in my 70++ years. Hate the thought. But, take a look at these two sites and others. Both of these sites have a good-sounding recipe.
http://www.katheats.com/fish-in-a-tin great looking salad recipe
"one 5 oz serving of sardines contains: 295 calories, 16 g fat, 0 g carbs, 35 g protein (5 oz chicken breast has 44 g)"

This next site rates the taste of various brands. I bought the one (not as highly rated) that is skin free and bone free--recommended by a commenter).

I hate the thought of sardines but will try it. I bought some avocados and have the ingredients for the other recipe also.
Sardines also do not have mercury like salmon and other bigger fish.

Let us know if you try it and it works for you. Or you may already be a sardine lover!

PS. I really don't like to eat meat either, or fish. But I was raised on it and still eat it reluctantly. Not due to GI issues though.

One more sardine sites with lots of other ways to eat them. Oh, and the fats in them are good. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/458828
Lots of people add hot sauce....I definitely will, however I fix mine. Once I get up the nerve.

Thank you Nell - I never thought of sardines! It's one of those things I just assumed I don't like, but when I think about it I don't know if I've ever actually tried them! Let me know how it goes for you... thanks again for your input and the links.

A comment that is probably only marginally helpful, but I think very important.

This thread is of a piece with several others that have started over the last week or so. Those others were about difficulty losing weight, but the issue I'm bring up (next paragraph!) is the same.

Namely: Over-reliance on external prescriptions by books, charts, smartphone apps, etc. of how much / what mix we should be eating.

While these sources provide excellent information generally to understand and structure one's nutrition, they are far -- very far -- from precision science.

We're all different. When MyFitnessPal says to eat 1500/cal a day and, based on all the configuration information about you, you'll lose 2 pounds a week, that's just a guide! When you don't, but instead gain, nothing's wrong.

You're just eating too much. MyFitnessPal doesn't know you in any precise way. It knows an approximation of the human metabolism, and makes approximate recommendations based on a few stats (weight, height, age, activity level, sometimes race, etc.). Two people with exactly the same stats on those half-dozen metrics can -- and likely will -- have measurably different results following the same guidance.

So, back to this discussion: The amount of protein you need is the amount that works for your lifestyle and keeps you healthy. Don't get hung up on precise quantities of protein grams a day -- rather, make sure your eating a healthy amount weekly, for example. As long as you're not starving your body of protein, you're good.

I love sardines and often put them on my salads. You can also get canned herring and salmon. Salmon actually is not high in mercury. Tuna can be high in mercury so you are advised to not eat tuna steak more than once a week. Canned light tuna is lower in mercury and the current advice is not more than 7 cans a week.

I also eat lots of jerky. I buy it at stores and make it at home. It is a good snack, can be kept anywhere, lasts forever and is low carb.

My experience is that the hardest part of doing low carb diets isn't getting protein but getting your head around eating enough fat.

Jerky! Another good call. It's not something I've ever really eaten but I think I'd like it.

And yes - we are so brainwashed not to eat too much fat that it's very challenging to get over that mentality. I'm not there yet.

I hear you Dave. I understand what you're saying. I know I'll get to the point where I'll relax about it and find what's right for me, and I also hear you on the point that it's a guide and not an exact science. Thank you for the reminder.

I've only been doing this for about 6 weeks now, and I found going on insulin to be a scary step psychologically... as were my first lows. I'm a little more OCD about things at the moment while I am trying to learn and adapt. So while I'm getting adjusted I'm trying to get as much guidance as I can - because it's a good base to start from. If something has worked for many people here it may (or may not) work for me, but I won't know until I'm there. My thought is that I first want to strive to get as close as possible to the reccommendations, and then adjust from there.

The reminder about the potential inaccuracies of these apps and websites is a good one for me to remember - so thanks for that.

What I'm getting stuck on now, I think, is not necessarily reaching the exact grams of protein, but how to keep my carbs low enough and still meet my daily calorie needs if I can't keep my protein up. Maybe it goes back to what Brian says above about wrapping my brain around eating more fat.

Breaking news: turns out I LOOOOOVE turkey bacon. :)

Haven't tried the sardines yet. Almost bought beef jerkey but I couldn't wrap my head around the look of it so bought pepperoni sticks instead, which were good. Only thing is the turkey bacon & Pepperettes have additives & preservatives that I'd like to avoid, but one battle at a time I guess.

I’m a slut for beef jerky, but it’s so damn expensive.

One word. Dehydrator.

You've made your own, Brian?

We have a friend who makes it in his oven and it is fantastic! It's a slow process which, for someone as impatient as me, is hard to do. BUt I'm not going to pay over $6 for a 2 oz bag of dried beef! So it's on my food bucket list of things to try to make.

I will occasionally make my own jerky. I even have a couple of recipe books. It is actually simple, slice the meat thinly (I partly freeze it before cutting) and then marinate for an hour or so. I then load it on the dehydrator and when it is complete I seal it in vacuum bags and store it in the freezer. It will keep for like years.

I also get lazy and just buy it in at Costco.

I like the Costco idea!! What cut of meat do you use? I would think London Broil?

Dave, this article underscores your point, and I think I may be in danger of #5 considering I'll be as specific as "13 almonds" and I feel panicky at the thought of not using the app at this point. I kind of feel like I'd lose all control if I didn't do this, even if it's not 100% accurate - at least until it all becomes so deeply ingrained that I feel like it would be second nature to eat like this...


Five Reasons Why This Dietitian Hates Calorie-Tracking Apps

1. Your body doesn't work like that.

Calories from Oreos and calories from chicken breast aren't metabolized the same way after you eat them, and therefore the calories absorbed differ between the two foods (and between all foods). Yes, the tracker does measure other things too, but its primary measurement is calories taken in. Technically, you can eat your 1400 calories a day in total crap, and the calorie tracker doesn't know any better because to it, a calorie is a calorie and it will still congratulate you for being within your calorie range. Too bad for you that your body knows better, and good luck trying to fool it. The whole thing is mostly a guessing game anyhow -- given that even the nutrition labels on foods are sometimes off up to 15 per cent in calories, how in the world does a person accurately record the calories of everything they eat - especially in restaurants, from unlabeled items, and dishes that other people make? A relaxing, fun meal with friends in a great restaurant can become riddled with angst because of the fear of going into the 'red' zone in the app. How fun is that?

2. You can lose your hunger cues.

Some people, upon learning that they have used up their calorie allowance for the day, are instantly fake-hungry. As in, psychologically, not physiologically, hungry because they know that food is off limits. It's the same when the tracker shows a few calories left at the end of the day: some of us would feel compelled to consume them, even if we weren't hungry. Hunger cues were given to us by nature for a reason. Calorie tracker apps have a bad way of messing with them.

3. Exercise doesn't erase a day of poor choices.

Some apps give you a 'net calories' figure, which are the calories left after the app subtracts the calories burned from all sorts of activities. These 'net calories' are the only ones that count towards your daily calorie total. I hate to say it, but that's the epitome of oversimplification. You can't eat a crap diet (or massive amounts of food in general) and then burn the calories off like that, it's just not the way things happen. If you don't believe me, look up 'gaining weight while training for a marathon'. At some point, you've got to stop eating so much, even if you're doing a crazy amount of activity.

4. Predictions made by calorie counting apps may cause you to want to chuck your phone at the wall.

How in the world does the app know what you're going to weigh in a month if you continue eating as you did that day? Does it know the inner workings of your metabolic rate? Does it have a crystal ball? Who knows, but some apps sure feel confident about predicting massive gain or loss of weight based on one day of eating, and those random predictions sure make some people feel anxious as hell. That's not healthy, that's totally faulty.

5. Constantly measuring and recording everything you eat can easily slip into obsessive behavior.

Eating smart does include knowing what you're putting in your mouth and understanding that some foods are more calorie dense than others, so I'm not in any way suggesting that people don't educate themselves about the food they eat and the situations and times and reasons, if you will, that they eat it. I am, however, against the long-term tracking of calories because it can become obsessive, especially if you have an obsessive-type personality. Don't get caught.

This all being said, some people love these apps and do well with them. I would say that if you think they're great, go ahead and use them. In my practice, however, I'm going to err on the side of safety and not recommend them, because I never know who will take them to the extreme. And extreme is very hard to come down from.

Costco has several kinds of beef jerky. But as to the meat the I use for homemade jerky I usually select a lean cut that is not too expensive like a rib eye roast. I usually like fatty meats but they don't make the best jerky.

I'm lucky to live about 35 miles from a small, custom meat processor that sells packaged products. One thing they make is beef jerky. They don't use sugar to flavor it, it's very low carb, and is about $19 a pound. You might check for a similar business in your area.

Thanks for the suggestion Jan!

I’ve made my own jerky too Dee, in the oven. There’s lots of recipes online. I usually use beef brisket from Costco but I also buy their Korean Barbecue Pork Jerky, it does have a little sugar in the barbecue flavoring though, but not a lot, and it tastes great!