The Supermarket Hunt For Protein

My go to foods when on the hunt for our highest prized macronutrient…..Protein!

The Supermarket edition.

Morning meetings are over, the belly starts talking, it’s ready for lunch, time is of the essence…..What do you do?

The others in your office talk of the Cob Shop… But you have goals to hit, not just in business,  you train hard and want to look and feel awesome too!

You can’t munch on a prawn cob and a packet of salt and vinegar crisps, washed down with a coke and then wonder why – “I just cant seem to lose this bit” (grabs muffin top)

But you understand that protein is your priority.

You don’t follow the rest of the sheep to the cob shop, because your not one of the sheep, you are a wolf, unashamed to go the opposite way in search of better!

The solitary predator embarks on his journey and the hunt begins.

Today our hunting ground isn’t Siberia or the plains of the Serengeti; it’s the supermarket.

Although you may be the apex predator you must still navigate wisely for just like the watering hole in the desert, lies all manners of treasures and dangers lurking beneath the surface.

But you planned ahead, you’ve picked your target, the prey we’re in search of is protein.

Hunter brain is engaged, your senses are alert as you successfully stalk your way through the herds of Range Rovers threatening to squash you as you pass the zebra crossing.

You can already feel the cooling air of the supermarket jungle, noticing a lone pigeon circle high above, you know food is in abundance!

Your nose also alerts you to the presence of food, you recognise the smell of the fresh cooked breads of the bakery but you stay strong, you know what you have come here for!

You hone your nostrils into the smell of cooked meat and begin to move involuntarily, your tracking ability is good as you follow the signs left before you over head.

either way…

You catch a glimpse of your first prey. Instinct takes over, you effortlessly dodge the sweet old lady as she nearly takes you out with her trolley and you swerve the poor guy transfixed and confused by his shopping list.

Until you find your self face to face with your 1st victim.

The Rotisserie Chickens. A flightless creature that congregates at the deepest hottest part of the supermarket, a firm favourite of groups of students who hunt in packs, so its wise as a lone hunter to move fast and silent to ensure you get your prize.

Don’t pretend you don’t.

Pros
– ready to ravage for a quick hit of protein
– tastes good
– pretty easy to track

Cons
– marinades that are high in sugars and fats. Opt for the basics like herb chicken
– can be higher in fats, just adjust daily intake accordingly

With the initial adrenaline rush of the chase subsiding, you decide to go on the search for some protein that you can transport with you in your nap sack, after all you need to keep up those gains and a steady stream of Aminos throughout the day has be proven to support muscle protein synthesis (MPS).

You don’t have to travel far as you’re sharply trained eyes spot the slabs of meat behind the glass facade of the Deli Counter.

The 3 best choices here are, Beef, Turkey and Ham.

Pros
– convenient
– protein dense
– can be specific with grams. Use the 20% rule – 100g meat = approx 20g protein
– easy to store for later

Cons
– ensure its not processed
– watch for toxins, chemicals, nitrates etc. At a quality deli this should not be a problem

Tip.
Choose ham or turkey ends over the slices, almost a 3rd cheaper. It just doesn’t look as pretty, but who cares.

Stocked up you’re now into gatherer mode. You have some hot meat you can get down ASAP, some cold meats for a quick protein snack later on,  but you continue the search to ensure the days hunt was a success.

You now leave warmer climes as you traverse into the icy tundra of the refrigerated aisles, but what can possibly be ready for us to devour here, what can withstand these conditions as you watch scores of prepared women shiver there way out, wrapped in thermals they bought just for this stretch of the expedition.

The refrigerated aisle is upon you.

You spot the much maligned Cottage Cheese. An somewhat old school food, that usually gets a screwed up face when mentioned, but at 12grams of protein per 100g and low in carbs it is not to be sniffed at.

Pros
– high in protein
– low in fats and carbs
– portable
– easy to track macros

Cons
– contains lactose, many are intolerant
– consistency, try quark cheese instead for an alternative
– slightly acidic

Tip.
Choose proper cottage cheese and avoid low fat options as these have added sugar
You add a couple of tubs to your bounty and continue your journey onward withstanding the icy conditions further more to grab another useful commodity – Yogurt!

There is a reason this food has been around since the 3rd Millenium, BC. It fuelled Goat Herders and Shepherds crossing mongolia, the milk they carried in sheepskin bags fermented into “yogurt” – a word of turkish origin that means to curdle or coagulate.

Although the yogurt is found here in vast quantities, yogurt as it was known is almost extinct! Most of what you see now is an inedible poor excuse for yogurt, that the food industry has stripped of most of its nutritional value and laden with high concentrations of sugars, artificial sweeteners and chemicals then kept the name because it sounds healthy and appeals to the buyer.

You must ignore 95% of what you see and look for the signs of a good yogurt – real Greek or strained yogurt is the best choice (if you can find it)

Do not pick up
Flavoured Yogurts – very high in sugars
Low Fat Yogurts – very high in sugar to replace the fats that have been removed, rendering the product very poor
Low Calorie Yogurts – usually fat has been removed and once again replaced by sugar or sweeteners

Look for
Plain Full Fat Greek Yogurt – The closest I found other than making your own, which is actually pretty easy is;

Total, Full Fat.
200g pot
pro = 14g
fat = 20g
carbs = 6g

Danio Plain Unflavoured – not greek, and they’ve taken the fat out!! but just for an easy source of protein without a ton of sugar, it is a wiser choice than most.

Danio, Plain Unflavoured.
150g pot
pro = 14.7g
fat = 0.2g
carbs = 5.1g

If you find a better choice please let me know!!!!!

Pros
– high in protein
– very low in sugar
– if its full fat will provide some high amount of CLA
– immune boosting

Cons
– needs eating or refrigerating
– hard to find

It’s time to head back into the warmth. But before heading off on the trek back to the office with your spoils, you spot the shoals of fish canned in against the aisle walls.

You see tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines and anchovy all jostling for space.

My go to picks here when fishing for the right choice are mackerel and sardines, simply because of how easy to eat they are (you may want to pack some chewing gum or toothpaste, though) or use as your breakfast if staying away in a hotel where there only choice is the “continental”, breads, cereal and other rubbish sleep inducing breakfasts.

Keep tuna down to a minimum – being a larger older fish it absorbs toxins and heavy metals from the sea.

And remember you eat what your food eats.

I choose sardines!

Pros
– high in protein
– high in quality fats
– very good for brain chemistry
– cheap

Cons
– not quite as fresh as catching it yourself
– smells like….fish

And the hunt is over, your mission complete, you have enough protein to last out the day and even some ready for breakfast the following morning!

You now return triumphant back to your office desk and wallow in your glory.

Dan Thorpe