When I was first diagnosed with cirrhosis, so many things of my life were ripped away, alcohol ended up being one just the cherry on top. Amid the struggle to quit drinking, change my entire lifestyle, and somehow fight for my life, I then was left to traverse an entirely new world of healthy eating. Until I found protein drinks.
I probably should note that I was a very picky eater when this recovery process began, and for that reason as well as my metabolism, could generally eat anything I wanted without thought or care. (I'm still kinda picky but I actually have a food bucket list now, so maybe less picky than before. I digress.) For nearly the first year of my recovery, I was on a strict high protein, low fat, low sodium, low sugar diet. For so many reasons this was new territory.
In the latter years of my alcohol addiction, feeding myself had fallen so far down the totem pole that I often settled for my nightly liquid diet of vodka and chaser. On nights or mornings when I would manage to eat, I would inevitably vomit it up after the next shot of liquor. Eating was more of a technicality to keep the booze down, as horrible as that sounds it's the truth.
When I found out that I needed to eat a high protein diet, I didn't even really know how to adequately feed myself a balanced meal, so it was a real bummer when the doctors crossed off red meat too.
Try going from that to reading the nutritional chart on a box of cereal to find out you can even eat a full bowl without exceeding your sodium intake for the day. Picky-eater-be-gone!
The Quest for the Best
When I say I was a picky eater, perhaps 'particular' is a more comprehensive word. I'll give you an example. I love eggs but hate the yolks, so I will only eat the whites. Although sometimes I really like scrambled eggs and that is the ONLY time I will eat the yolk. Do you see what I'm saying? Your head hurts already and we have barely covered one food item.
In that light, a high protein diet was difficult for me to nail down and find anything I was absolutely over the moon to eat. It's impossible to stick with a life change if you drag your feet through every second of it, and I realized that's all I was doing. Dragging my feet to eat foods I don't love.
It didn't take long for me to figure out that in order to get as much protein as I needed daily, without entirely hating everything I shoveled down my gullet, was to find another way.
Enter the protein drinks.
Finding out that you could get some or most of your protein intake knocked out in one or two drinks was a savior at that point and from then on the hunt was on! In my experience, there are a few ways you can go about this, and they are all great!
My first suggestion is Premier Protein Clear. Okay, so follow me on this, it tastes like chalk warm, but it's a completely different drink when it's cold. After my extreme diet change it was a nice find when most flavored beverages now offer tons of sugar but little else.
Don't get me wrong this stuff packs in quite the sugar punch. Perfect for a sweet tooth and more healthy than mowing down box of chocolates, however, it also has a decent mg of protein.
Their shakes aren't bad either. Premier Protein hasn't made a bad flavor yet and they won't break your bank to buy. At one point I was going through them so quickly I was buying them in the case. It was very often my breakfast option on more than one occasion where I was completely devoid of energy and especially crunched for time.
My next idea is one I've mentioned before, smoothies. Simple, easy and quick all you need is some protein powder, (depending on your preference this doesn't have to break your bank) some fresh or frozen fruit, a few ice cubes, and some yogurt. REALLY! That easy!
Usually, I'll mix some fresh and frozen fruit, and some sort of berry yogurt to complement the other flavors. Yeah, that means having a jug of strawberry yogurt on hand, but when you make smoothies every day, it will be gone before you know it.
Shake it up
The last one I swear by is another DIY
I can not get enough of the protein shakes! You've probably heard about a friend who sells them and thought nothing of them or the pyramid scheme you chalk it up to, or perhaps you wondered if they are worth buying an entire case. They are! I haven't tried a flavor I dislike.
You know when you finish a bowl of cereal and slurp up the sugary milk before rising your bowl, they taste exactly like that! Seriously delicious and if you assemble and plan this right these shakes can offer even more nutrients than the food truck lunch you had last week out of convenience -I know, the tacos are the bomb but that's not the point.
I have no doubt these ways to intake your protein played a big part in my recovery for the sheer fact you could knock one back quick and know that no matter what I ate the rest of the day, I was almost guaranteed to reach my personal recommended intake.