LOCAL Houston | The City Guide August 2016 - Page 30

SHOPPING FOR PROTEINS IT’S ALL ABOUT WHAT YOU EAT, EATS By Jodie Eisenhardt + Erin Hicks Illustration by German Arellano Looking for foods with nutritional density? For your best source of nourishment and foodas-medicine – compared with standard meat, grass-fed/pastured meat, poultry, dairy and truly nutritionally dense foods, the question you should be considering often is what does what you eat, eat, according to ALI MILLER, RD, LD, CDE and author of Naturally Nourished: Food as Medicine for Optimal Health. Miller says there are therapeutic nutrients unavailable anywhere other than animal protein, such as glycine, collagen and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) – a particular type of healthy fat that boosts metabolism and has even been shown to fight cancer. Heme iron (a more absorbable form of iron), as well as more easily absorbed forms of CoQ10, vitamin D and vitamin A, comes from quality protein sources. These nutrients are foundational in healthy gut function, bone and joint health, anti-inflammatory support, energy production and cellular health including hair, skin, nails and beyond. In order to gain these nutritional benefits, quality selection of grass-fed, pasture-raised or wild-caught fish is essential, as the nutrients you’re going for are manufactured by the animal via its consumption of mineral and antioxidant-rich grasses, plankton and leafy greens. “In addition, the exposure to antibiotics, hormones and poor living conditions (seen in large-scale conventional protein operations) can influence toxicity or inflammatory impact in the body.” For the most nourishing sources of protein, Miller advises going local whenever possible by selecting products that come from animals consuming their natural diet and environment. Fortunately, more stores are carrying grass-fed or pasture-raised products – these are terms to look for, according to Miller. Even with greater availability, she recommends reading labels and asking questions about where the product comes from, and going for a more “nose to tail” approach vs. the typical lean cuts for maximum nutritional benefit. Consider labeling like Whole Foods’ “5-Step Animal Welfare Rating System,” for beef, pork, chicken and turkey, with each number corresponding to an animal’s environment with pastured options noted. 30 L O C A L | august 16