3 Clean Protein Sources — Ranked!

Get an expert take on choosing clean protein.

3 Clean Protein Sources — Ranked!

Most people believe that meat is protein and protein is meat, but it's just not that simple. Common protein sources like meat, dairy, and eggs actually have no fiber so they can potentially back up your digestion and sometimes even pollute your body with toxins. Instead, wellness expert and author Kathy Freston recommends getting as much protein as possible from beans, grains, and vegetables, all sources of clean protein. Here are Freston's top three clean protein picks, ranked based on their accessibility, flavor, and versatility.

More: The Clean Eating Supermarket Shopping List


Red Lentils

Freston ranks these so high mostly because of their cheapness and uniqueness, but you'll get all the good nutrients you need. Not only does one cup contain 18 grams of protein, it also will provide you 15 grams of fiber, iron, and B vitamins to help lower your cholesterol. Add them to your salad, make burgers from them, or mash them into a spicy sandwich spread. They're sweeter, nuttier, and easier to break down and digest than other lentils, so you can even use them in brownie recipes in place of flour!

More: Red Lentil Pasta With Broccoli Rabe and Cherry Tomatoes

Q: I end up overeating because it makes me feel better and I never really get full. I'd like to lose weight but this makes it hard. Any suggestions?

A: Being persistently hungry can cause big trouble. So can overeating for comfort/pleasure. These two behaviors, say researchers from Baylor University's Children's Nutrition Research Center, are controlled deep within your brain by serotonin-producing neurons, but operate separately from each other — one in the hypothalamus, the other in the midbrain. They both can, however, end up fueling poor nutritional choices and obesity.

Eating for Hunger

When hunger is your motive for eating, the question is: "Does your body know when you've had enough?" Well, if you are overweight, obese or have diabetes you may develop leptin resistance and your "I am full" hormone, leptin, can't do its job. The hormone's signal to your hypothalamus is dampened, and you keep eating.

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