Protein and Functioning Question

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Do you think that the amount of protein that you eat has an impact on your behavior? On the behavior of people you know? Would you say this is mostly something that helps kids but doesn't have a big effect on adults?

    It has been brought to my attention that some people think my insistence on protein in a snack rather than just carbs or carbs and fats is odd to many people. I also am seeing that many people are seeing zero correlation between positive behavior and protein. I mostly see examples in kids, but they are there for adults also.

    What do I mean?

    Many have heard me mention here that my bro is meaner on a candy bar on an empty stomach then when black-out drunk, and he is NOT a nice drunk. He has always been this way, even as a toddler. My sons are shorter tempered, faster to get upset, and they have tough time coping in stressful environments if they don't have protein and they do have sugar/simple carbs. (For this post, sugar means the simple carbs, not just the granulated white stuff.) A few years back I did a simple experiment with thank you. First I took him to run errands after school with-o bringing a snack along. We didn't even make it through a VERY simple errand of dropping off dry cleaning before he couldn't cope. I did this several times over about a month with the same results though different errands. Then I brought a snack of juice and fruit or crackers or cookies with me. We did get through one simple errand, but a more complex one where we had five items on a shopping list? Overload and cranky trying not to cry. The next month I took a snack wtih protein, cheese or peanut butter or ham etc... . The snack still had about the same calories and the juice was the same. We were able to do multple errands, the overload happened at times but wasn't as severe, and he was just happier and had more FUN. When we went home he was able to interact more with the family rather than needing to just curl up with a video to block out the sensory overload.

    husband thought that thank you had outgrown that and that I was being a bit silly and 'over-mommying' to keep urging thank you to keep a balance bar in his pocket or enough $ to get something with protein when he is out and about. He thought it was really strange when I gave thank you 2 bars to take in the morning for his talk with the friend who hit him. I just figure that it could be an ice-breaker, give them something to do with their hands, and maybe give a bit of help in encouraging them to talk calmly and rationally. Sure the protein won't be digested, but it is better than doing this with nothing in them, and I don't know if A eats at home or not.

    I have also watched my husband's and my own and J's and Wiz' behavior with regards to protein levels. Wiz has outgrown the nasty if he eats too much sugar, thankfully. J has wild mood swings during Hades Week (aka PMS week) if she isn't super careful with the protein. husband? Is happier, has more fun, sees problems as challenges to puzzle out rather than obstacles meant to ruin his life (yes, he has OFTEN said that this or that problem with a computer or a spoon breaking or whatever is an obstacle put there to punish him and ruin his life. It drives me beyond batty because in the moment he actually wants to believe it, grrrrr..) He gets frustrated because often I will make him PROMISE to eat something with protein when he is off for a long day. If I don't? He will go the entire day on maybe a bag of chips and coffee, tea or coke zero. then he comes home and eats 3000+ calories in about two hours, less if he is tired. Less time that is, NOT less food.

    I am not so cranky, am able to manage my attitudes on bad pain days far better (not snap at everyone and dwell on how I want to get a power saw and cut off the part that hurts, not real productive things to dwell on, in my opinion), and overall I just cope much better.

    I have seen BIG changes in classrooms of kids after parties with lots of sweets. I have also seen BIG differences when protein is provided. WOW! It is staggering, in my opinion.

    I often mention this in advice to parents, but often it isn't given any response. I don't really care if I get responses on it all the time. I AM curious as to what you think about all of this and if you see any differences in yourself or your family members depending on how much protein they eat and when.

    To be totally honest, if we hadn't paid attention to the amount of protein in thank you's snacks and meals, I doubt he would have gotten the Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) to a manageable level. He just couldn't cope enough to begin to learn how to use those tools, much less to be able to remember what they were and how to do them when he was overwhelmed.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    We've done the Zone. We've done the variations.
    Tried all sorts of things.

    Simple carbs, alone, on an empty stomach... can mean trouble now... or trouble later, when the "high" crashes down.

    Complex carbs, along with healthy fat and a bit of protein... safe. Example: apple and a few nuts. Or veggies and a yogurt dip.

    If there is no other option than to grab "something", it's going to be skewed toward "simple", which means things like commercial granola bars (VERY "simple" carbs, no matter what they say on the label!)... in which case we add a dried pepperoni stick or equivalent - i.e. a heavy hit of protein with some fat, to go with the carb load.

    I'm not convinced that every meal and every snack needs the right "balance" between carbs, protein and fat... but I do believe that it helps to have "some" of each. Even the old-fashioned after-school snack that granny used to serve was... oatmeal cookies and a glass of milk (milk having both protein and fat... )

    If you're like difficult child, though, and because of medications you really can't let blood sugar drop... then the protein factor becomes WAY more important.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    susie I am a bit hypoglycemic and if I eat super high sugary anything first thing in the morning I will crash not long after and be a mess. Now I can be fine for hours if I dont eat anything at all which is quite odd they tell me. Diet coke does nothing to my blood sugar.

    I have to eat protein along with anything else with my first food of the day. Always I would buy those beef sticks with cheese along with peanut butter crackers when I hit a gas station when I stopped at one to get something to eat instead of a candy bar. I hated it when Tony wanted to make pancakes or oatmeal for breakfast on the weekends because it made me sicker than hell. I needed protein first thing in the morning but I loved those pancakes too! I like breakfast for dinner because it doesnt bother me by then.

    I have never noticed that candy in and of itself made either Cory or Jamie extra hyper. And for me it doesnt make feel anything but sick and bad.
  4. HaoZi

    HaoZi CD Hall of Fame

    Well, it's bad if she eats nothing but junk food ALL day, but as a general rule with Storm the type of meat makes more difference. I have to buy preservative-free meats or her behavior goes right down the drain. Don't know why, but it sure makes her react something awful.
  5. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    I find that if I eat carbs or sugar as a meal, like cereal I tend to never get full. I may THINK it's lower in calories, but if I'm hungry in hour than it defeats the point. But if I eat protein for a meal like having eggs for breakfast, I'm satisfied and I feel physically healthier than if I ate cereal. Recently, I've been eating these sausage, egg, cheese muffin sandwiches for breakfast from Sam's that have 250 calories each. I'm full after that.

    Also, if I eat a string cheese for a snack...I'm full. I always have them in the house. Protein is a better choice in my opinion than the carbs. I used to think protein was more fattening, and I would stay away from it. I feel like my body needs it to function and I am enjoying meat, chicken and I feel satisfied and healthy.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    You know what I love? String cheese with those little applesauce cups. Especially the strawberry ones!

    I cant wait until I can eat string cheese again...sigh.
  7. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    I've been tracking my food since the middle of January. I always thought I was a pretty healthy eater consuming lots of fruits and veggies, only whole grains, very little meat. Once I started tracking what I was eating, I found that on the days I ate more protein, I felt more satisfied and didn't think about snacking as often. Recently I've noticed that I seem to have more energy when I include protein in my snacks.

    Thinking more about this, I really do notice a big difference in husband's moods since he's been snacking mainly on proteins. He's less moody, isn't bothered as much by the little things that happen in a typical day (people cutting in front in grocery store lines, etc.), and in general, just seems happier.

    Although I've consciously cut calories to drop some weight, I think adding more protein to my meals and a bit to my snacks too, has helped me lose weight at a faster pace then I've been able to lose it in the past. I know myself well enough to know that I'll always prefer even simple carbs over most proteins, but I'm finding that protein really plays an important part in both physical and mental well being.
  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Susie- I was just reading the quote below:

    How protein impacts your mood
    Protein is a significant nutrient. Its sources include meat, fish, chicken, soy and soy products, dairy products and nuts. When ingested and absorbed into the blood stream, protein energizes the body to discharge two important neurotransmitters: norepinephrine and dopamine.

    These neurotransmitters help the body feel more energetic, awake and alert. This explains why after a great, complete meal, we feel refreshed and active. The absence of sufficient protein in the dietary plan, on the other hand, produces the feeling of drowsiness. This can then result in feelings of tiredness and annoyance.
    On the other hand, too much protein in the diet can likewise result in certain bad effects. More protein can encourage the production of hormones that increases the body’s power to stay awake. People who don’t regulate their protein intake could become restless and find it challenging to sleep off.

    I have to eat protein with every meal. It helps with weight control and feeling better in general. It counteracts the impact of carbs/sugar too, so if I eat protein with those, I don't go into that sugar coma.
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Interesting twist, though...

    If we have a meal that has NO wheat in it... then it doesn't matter if I get protein or not, I function very well.
    If the meal has ANY wheat at all... protein helps, but the wheat is still a major drag on the system. Especially modern wheat.
  10. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Nichole is a Dr Jekyll Mr Hyde type. It's not bipolar, it's blood sugar related. She's not diabetic but she IS hypoglycemic, which means she has issues with low blood sugar.

    I first realized this, backed up by 2 pediatrician docs, in early childhood. If you don't keep her blood sugar balanced.......omg is all I can say. Personality switches and she can be meaner than snot in nothing flat. That doesn't mean you just give her a bit of sugar and all is well have to balance the carbs you give with protein to balance it out. Carbs to bring it up and protein to keep it there for a longer period of time. Know what I mean??

    Protein is a critical body functioning element.

    Nichole improved with age, but did NOT grow out of it. I can tell by her tone of voice, mannerisms, and mood if her blood sugar is low. Drives her nuts because first thing I say is "when was the last time you've eaten and what did you eat?" lol Then I give her something to eat and all is right with the world again in short order.

    Aubrey has the same's taken quite a lot of time but Nichole has finally come to realize it. And it's just as bad as Nichole's has always been.

    Low blood sugar could turn my sweet child (or grandchild) into an out of control full blown difficult child in nothing flat. Hence the nickname. They are not only moody but it messes up the thinking processes and you can't reason with them either.

    When I see Aubrey do it here.........Nana sneaks her one of my "special" candy of those balanced nutrition bars you can buy now. Good 10 mins later I see an improvement. I've been known to give her Mommy one of them too. lol

    And someone with low blood sugar can actually crave sweets......although that is really not what they need. A good carb to boost the levels in the blood rather quickly, then protein and more complex carbs to keep it there.
  11. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    IC you may be allergic to wheat. I am, so I understand what you're saying. And, a wheat allergy impacts mood too.
  12. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    I eat two dannon fruit on the bottom strawberrry GREEK yogurts with two tablespoons of hemp seed. That is 24 grams of protien for the yogurt and 22 for the hemp seed. Delicious and can't be any quicker or easier than that.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Jody, yes, that works well... BUT that only works if you can have milk.
  14. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    Did someone say they couldn't have dairy as their protein? I must have missed it sorry.