Protein – Got to eat more of it

The two wafer-thin slices supposedly contained essential tissue building and repairing goodness.  However, the sliced roast beef looked like it couldn’t build or repair anything.  Was it a waste of money putting such minimal slices of protein on my sandwich?

In this year’s search for efficient eating, I started with questioning how well I was managing my protein intake.  I have recently posted what I discovered about fish ….  Since then, I’ve rummaged through my information sources to work out the recommended daily minimum.  After that, there was some trial and error, which is a polite way of saying “I failed a few times before I worked out an answer”.  Now, it’s “So far, so good” and the following is the result:

  • For my current weight, it appears I need to eat 74g of protein a day, (that is, 0.84g x 88, which is my current weight)
  • 74g of meat does not mean 74g of protein.  Instead, it appears that 35g of lean meat produces about 10g of protein.  I’m aiming for 100g of meat (or the equivalent in other protein sources) twice a day, plus the protein I pick up from milk etc to get me as close to that line as possible
  • Protein intake has to be daily.  You can’t skip a day and make it up later.  I haven’t been eating enough protein.  According to the CSIRO, that habit may have been contributing to my weight gain. 
  • The 3.5 litre slower cooker produces about 5 meals that can be frozen and reheated at work.
  • I have 3 different dishes that I have successfully prepared in the slow cooker – chicken soup, beef stew and bolognese.  This gives me some variety.  In the past, I’ve found that eating the same meal every day soon results in the collapse of the system and the purchase of expensive take away.
  • I season these meals when reheating them.  That way I don’t risk an entire batch with dodgy seasoning.  I can also add more variety by varying the seasoning each day.  The meals won’t have the depth of flavour that normally comes with a slow cooker but are tasty enough.
  • Each of the 5 containers gets 100g of the meat from the slow cooker because I’ve made sure enough meat went into the cooker at the beginning.
  • Eggs are no longer considered the evil heart-destructive monsters they once were.  I appears I’m allowed to eat 6 a week.  If one egg = 50g of lean meat, then adding two boiled eggs to my salad is my 100g meat equivalent.   Only three times a week, of course.

I have decided not to pursue the extra protein recommended by CSIRO’s Total Wellbeing Diet.  Firstly, the aim of this project is to bring some efficiency to the amount I spend on food.  If I eat more than the recommended minimum, I will defeat that purpose.  Secondly, my protein intake has been below minimum.  I’ll monitor the impact of this increase on my cravings for the expensive take away sweet stuff.

The question has popped up:  Why has it taken me years to get to this point?  Others worked it out much sooner in their lives.  Perhaps I was a product of the 1970s home economics classes I took in high school that were taught by someone more at home in the 50s and that just didn’t translate into my particular post-high school world.  Perhaps I just didn’t give it enough attention over the years.

We all solve problems a number of ways.  The easiest is the Fluke, where we accidently stumble upon an answer that works first time.  Another is often called Intuition, where we seem to develop an answer without giving it much thought.  But, sometimes, lots of thought is required.  For these, I recommend finding some useful problem solving methods that have been proven to work.

It is early days, but working for me on this occasion is:

  • starting out with an angle of focus (the Year of Efficient Eating) and
  • breaking the problem up into “bite size pieces” that tackle the issue one food category at a time.

 Actually, thinking back, this was how an advisor at uni suggested tackling essays.   Who’d have thought the same approach might work with sorting out one’s diet!

Recipe Links:

River Cottage’s Sardine Bake

River Cottage’s Gill’s Bolognese

Jamie Oliver’s Poached Chicken  (Note: I did this in the slow cooker on High for 4 hours and I haven’t gotten sick yet).


Victorian Government’s “Better Health” factsheet on Protein, dated January 2010.  Internet address last viewed 15/1/2012:

Australian Institute of Sport’s “Nutrition” factsheet on Protein, dated June 2009.  Internet address last viewed 15/1/2012:

CSIRO’s web pages about its Total Wellbeing Diet, last updated November 2011.  Internet addresses last viewed 15/1/2012:  and

Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Health and Wellbeing web page “Eggs – Unscrambling the evidence”, by Cathy Johnson, published 13/7/2011.  Internet address last viewed 15/1/2012: