Saturday, December 14, 2013
Pack in the perfect proteins

By Tony Wagner Citizen Columnist

Dear Mr. Fitness:

I've been a vegan for only 18 months. I have only recently given up being a vegetarian because I was feeling run down and tired all of the time. I think when I gave up eating meat that's when I started to feel weak. I know you're always saying how good protein is for a person. I want to have more protein in my diet, so I need to know what source you consider to be the best. Thank you.

-- Greenie

Dear Greenie:

Perhaps your feeling of weakness can be traced to your diet, or perhaps it is something else. Were it me, I might get a blood chemistry profile done to identify any possible markers that may explain you being unusually tired. See your doctor about having a blood test.

Beyond that, I do think people should invest in eating more protein in their diets, provided that the protein source is of a high biological value. It seems you are asking about "protein in a can." By this I am referring to powdered proteins found in those large containers at the health food stores. While these can be decent protein sources, you may want to look to some inexpensive alternatives. If you haven't purchased this stuff before, it can be expensive.

First on my list of high quality proteins would be whole eggs or egg whites. These are probably your best source of protein. They can be used in a dizzying array of palatable recipes. Next on my hit list is turkey breast or chicken breast. Lean beef ranks right up there as well. Fish is a great source of protein. That would include all seafood, scallops, shrimp, lobster, clams -- you get the idea! Cheese is a nice protein source and works well with those eggs. Or on a burger -- no bun, please! Last on my list would be yogurt and milk.

These sources I've listed are of high biological value. This means your body will be quite successful in getting the most bang for your buck with these protein sources. Try to include two to three servings daily from this group.

While the aforementioned proteins would be my first choices, there are alternatives. If you wish to use the "proteins in a can," obtain one made from whey or egg whites. These are the best. Try to find the protein powder with the least amount of carbohydrate content too. You want to be paying for protein, not the carbs.

You can enjoy these powdered proteins as a shake mixed with water and a lot of ice. They make a great meal or supplement with a meal.

So, Greenie, check with your doc and if given a green light, try some of the proteins I've listed on a consistent basis, and reap the rewards!

-- Mr. Fitness

Tony Wagner, aka Mr. Fitness, has over 30 years of fitness and nutritional expertise. A certified personal trainer and fitness author, he has helped thousands of people get into and stay in shape. Contact him at:, Facebook us, and stop by Bodyzone Fitness Center, 2740 N. Roosevelt Blvd., 305-292-2930.