Introduction, How much Protein to Feed the Brain, December 31, 2021

I woke up ill today. COVID 19 is alive and spreading across the nation. I do not know if that is what I have yet. No work today. I am in my home office in the attic of our farm home. The walls have drywall and are mudded but not painted. We are a work in progress. But today I will sit for a while and then lie down on the daybed that is across the room to recuperate. At least by staying in I will not pass whatever I have to someone else. However, illness has allowed me to be home and work on my nutrition business.

Our Farm
Our Farm

Jim and I live on a 15-acre farm in rural Missouri. We have a milk cow named Missie and her 6-month-old baby, Brisket. 2 red wattle pigs that are 5 months old, 14 laying hens and their rooster, Hector, and a laying hen named Faith with her 4 babies she adopted and is caring for. Our goal…raise our own food both vegetable, fruit and meat. Work the farm and have several small enterprises that will support us without having to work off the farm. My nutrition coaching, consulting and speaking business is one of them. Right now, I am a home health nurse and I thought I could do that for 4 years and get the mortgage paid off, but I work all day and then come home and work all night on paperwork until 9 or 10 and that is not a work life balance. Jim works diligently on a plan to make it all work.

For us a work-life balance allows us to be together and work on projects together. When one of us is gone from the farm, the other person shrivels a little and an enjoyable project we would do together becomes a drudgery and a chore. Finding a balance is different for every couple, we acknowledge that, but for us balance equals togetherness.

Rhenda and Jim by a waterfall
Rhenda and Jim by a waterfall

We planted lettuce this week in the kitchen. There was yet another recall of food and this time it was Listeria found on lettuce products from Dole and ship under about 7 different names. We need to know where our food comes from and how it is grown. We planted on Saturday and today, on Thursday we have sprouts coming up. So excited.

This year is a year to find balance, grow food, eat well, be healthy and find joy. I think I would put that on a plaque.

Find Balance

Grow Food

Eat Well

Be Healthy

Find Joy

But today I will conserve my energy and make plans in my head instead of anything that requires physical energy. It has been 13 years ago last Labor Day since Jim had a health scare and we changed the way we eat. We got away from processed food. We stopped eating out. We searched labels for hydrogenated oils, MSG, nitrates, sugar and multiple other chemicals. We eat a balance of protein, complex carbohydrates, vegetables and good fats. However, in these last couple years, stress has monopolized our lives and we have not been strict or even sometimes correct at all. 2022 for us is a year to get back to where we were. We are back on our farm; we can take control again.

This is the law of malnutrition. When your food quality or quantity deteriorates, your mood is the first casualty, even before your physical health begins to deteriorate.

Healthy Meal
Healthy Meal

Most people often hide their depression or anxiety from others because of the stigma that is attached to it. Thankfully, I find that more and more people admit that they have depression when asked or at least they will admit it when coaxed. Admitting that depression and/or anxiety is part of their life is the first step to healing. Many people follow up the admission with, “And I am not going on medication”. Whether or not a medication is taken, nutrition can be a great asset.

The brain is there to help us cope but it is our job to feed the brain properly so it has the needed nutrients to function in joy and happiness instead of apathy, sadness, depression and hopelessness. We cannot snap our fingers and make depression go away any more than we can make a broken leg heal with the snap of a finger. Our brain and our gut are connected and our mood is directly affected by the food we eat. This is a deep subject but let me share just a few things to get us started.

Feed your brain every 4 hours with 15 to 20 grams of protein. Protein will give us the amino acids necessary to make dopamine and serotonin which are happy neurotransmitters. By eating protein every four hours the brain has a supply of nutrients to pull from. HOWEVER, we always believe in balance so add a complex carbohydrate in there also and maybe a small fat, like nuts.

Brain with empty plate and holding utensils
The brain with hands and utensils in front of an empty plate

Here are some examples that will help you put this principle into practice. 1 ounce of protein = 7 grams so here are some 2 and 3-ounce protein ideas which will give you 14 – 21 grams of protein.

2 ounces – 14 grams – How much is that – half the size of your palm and as thick as a deck of cards.

  • 2 scrambled eggs
  • 2 deviled eggs
  • 2 boiled eggs
  • 2 ounces of beef, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey or fish
  • 1/3 can of tuna
  • ½ cup of cottage cheese
  • 24 whole almonds
  • Piece of cheese the size of 2 dice

3 ounces – 21 grams – The size and thickness of a deck of cards

  • 3 scrambled eggs
  • 3 boiled eggs
  • 3 deviled eggs (6 halves)
  • ½ can of tuna fish
  • 3 ounces of meat, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey of fish
  • ¾ cup cottage cheese
  • 36 whole almonds
  • 3 ounces of cheese equals the size of 3 dice

Here is a list of come complex carbohydrates to eat along with the protein. Try for 15 grams

  • ¾ cup of berries
  • 1 small apple
  • 1 small orange
  • ½ banana
  • 2 medium dates
  • ½ large pear
  • 1 small mango

These vegetables are starchy so they are complex carbohydrates – cooked vegetables such as Acorn squash, beets, carrots, corn, green peas, Okra, baked potato, sweet potato or yam, turnip

  • Whole grain bread – 1 slice
  • Brown rice – 1/3 cup
  • Oats – 2/3 cup
  • Air-popped popcorn 2 ½ cups
  • Any kind of cooked bean such as pinto beans or navy beans1/3 cup
  • Plain whole-milk yogurt – 1 cup

2022 is a year to find balance in our lives. This means balance in work and life, emotional balance with play and relaxation, exercise balance to keep our bodies strong without pain, and nutritional balance to feed our brain and our cells for a long healthy life. If you want ideas about how to take control of your life, follow our daily blog and see what we do as we make this a successful year of food and health and joy.

1 thought on “Introduction, How much Protein to Feed the Brain, December 31, 2021”

  1. I am going to read these each day to calm, inspire, and modivate me. The pictures you post draw me in.

Comments are closed.