(If you’re in a rush, the punchline of this story is: work your way up to drinking 1-2 cups of bone broth per day!)
It started during a routine check-up early this summer.
“Your kidneys are strained,” my doctor explained, looking at my blood work. “I know you work out,” she continued. “How much protein do you eat?”
“Well … about 240 grams per day. All from real food, though. No artificial stuff.”
“There’s a chance that’s what’s causing it. Why don’t you try cutting back, and we’ll do a retest in a few weeks?”
I trust my doctor’s perspective. I also know my dream body is a result of a high protein diet. I didn’t want to give that up without doing a little more exploring.
So I messaged my physique coach with the results from the test. Did he think that I was taking in too much protein?
Based on his education and research, he felt that I was probably fine. He shared with me an article (link below) that explores the conversation about whether a diet too high in protein can cause harm to the body.
The article, for me, boiled down to the following science - based conclusions:
- The majority of the population can handle a high-protein diet without it affecting their kidneys, or causing cancer. (People with preexisting kidney diseases should be cautious with protein.)
- But *what can and does often lead to health complications* - and even cancer - is a high-protein diet that only involves the same part of an animal. (For bodybuilders/health-conscious lifters, we can overdo it by only eating chicken breasts, for example, which we usually opt for due to how little fat the breast contains.)
- *We are meant to eat all parts of an animal to get a balanced amino acid profile.*
- And if eating tails, snouts, and tongues seems off-putting, that is where the value of *bone broth* comes in. It allows one to consume the entire amino acid profile.
I decided not to cut back my overall protein intake, but to begin incorporating bone broth. I figured that if my next kidney test came back showing levels that were still high, I’d re-assess. But if it came back normal, then it had just been a fluke to begin with.
Fortunately, my next kidney test came back fine.
We don’t know why the first test was high. But I did learn an extremely valuable lesson in the process - there’s a reason why bone broth has been all the rage over the last few years.
I currently buy mine from Trader Joe’s. I’m a little squeamish at the concept of making my own, although my coach insists it’s “dumb easy.”
I’ll let you know if I ever get the courage. :)
The article I referred to above: do-high-protein-diets-cause-kidney-disease-and-cancer
My coach’s wife's article on making bone broth at home: https://www.awakenednutrition.com/blog/immune-boosting-and-gut-healing-bone-broth
How I’ve cut my monthly food bill down by $400 since July:
- I’ve tracked my grocery+eating out+supplement spending every month for two years now, and noticed some months it was just $750-$800, but other months, including this summer, it got as high as $1,150.
- I realized I needed to not just track my spending, but to set a limit.
- I picked $750, since I knew I’d done it before.
- I identified for myself WHY it was so important to stick to this goal. For me, the money I save on food = money I will use to see my family and friends who live outside of NYC.
- I stopped buying coffee out, and switched to instant coffee (I add as much stevia as I want). I also rely on the fruit-flavored supplement AMINO ENERGY for portable caffeine that costs less than $30/month. This, plus lots of water, is all I eat until about 3 pm lunch each day.
- I carved one day each week (Monday nights) to go grocery shopping.
- I go shopping an additional 1-2 days/week (often Wednesday and Saturday nights, but days are flexible depending on that week’s schedule). That way, I don’t have to haul as much food home each trip.
- I stock up on low-fat ground turkey (non-organic), basic bread, reduced-sugar jam, frozen non-organic broccoli, oats in bulk, bone broth, bulk stevia, cocoa powder, and 1-2 treats for the week. When needed, I’ll also grab cheese and olive oil to replenish the dietary fat in my pantry.
- I meal prep 1-2 days at a time. Very simply: microwave broccoli with added water, drain, put in container. Cook turkey on stove, cool, put in container. Take containers with me for lunch.
- I’m in recovery, and usually go to a nighttime meeting where they serve crackers, cookies, and candy. I enjoy these, tracking all of them in My Fitness Pal. (This exact detail won’t apply to many of you, BUT the point of my including it is to illustrate that you can look for places in your community / daily routine that have free yummy snacks, and take advantage of this.)
- When I get home each night, I make myself 1 cup of oatmeal with stevia and cocoa powder. (High fiber, filling, yummy.)
- With whatever carbs and fat and protein I have left for the day, I go to town on bread, cheese, olive oil and reduced-sugar jam. This, along with the chocolate-y oatmeal, have alleviated my cravings to go spend money at the local pizzeria, donut shot, and fast food joints.
- With the above techniques, I managed to get by spending less than $625/month, which leaves at least $125/month for eating out. That’s 4-5 nice dinners out with a friend, or 6-8 cheaper / backup splurges on my own.
- I stopped buying beverages, relying on tap water / water fountains / coolers.
Write me back: what’s one method I’ve listed in this article that you’re going to employ in the next month to improve your eating habits?
And please consider sending this to someone who might love to get it.
With love, and self-love,