Eating a high-protein diet has been shown to boost metabolism and increase the number of calories burned by about 80-100 per day on average.

The sun rose above Sedona, filling the sky with a beautiful contrast of azure blue and fiery red. Its rays illuminated the deep crimson rocks of the surrounding mountains, creating a breathtaking display of color that stretched as far as the eye could see. The sun’s light warmed the sky above and the Honanki cave walls, which featured thousand-year-old wall art.

“This is absolutely breathtaking,” said Annie as she gazed at the ancient figures and symbols.

“Definitely. Getting up early to hike in was worthwhile. We timed it just right. The air is cool and refreshing. Who knew hiking could feel so invigorating this early in the morning.”

“Staying physically active has its benefits, and this morning hike is one of them. Look at the figure of a woman holding a baby. The clarity is remarkable.”

LJ nodded. “Let’s keep going. There’s lots more to see.”

“Are you getting hungry? We can stop for a picnic breakfast. I made a Strawberry Bean Smoothie. The berries and bananas mask the white beans, which provide the protein to help us stay full while we hike. I also have whole wheat toast and almond butter. Did you remember our drinks?

“Yeah, I’m carrying coconut water in one thermos and coffee in another, so let’s find a level spot and breakfast. I want to talk about protein more. Do you have some ideas about incorporating more protein into our diets? Especially if we are going to continue these go-do-it active vacations?”

Annie passed him a smoothie. “First, let’s make sure we’re talking about what protein is and its effect on our bodies.

Protein, along with carbohydrates and fat, is one of the three major types of nutrients your body needs. It has several uses in the body that are essential for health, such as building up and repairing damage to muscles, bones, skin, and hair. Protein sends signals through hormones to tell cells and organs what to do. It also acts as a catalyst to speed up chemical reactions in your body. Additionally, protein carries molecules like hemoglobin, which transport oxygen throughout your cells.

One of the best ways to ensure you’re getting enough protein daily is to make a weekly meal plan and then shop with it. Next, since the first meal of the day usually comes after 8 to 10 hours of fasting, it’s a good idea to include protein. Eggs, oatmeal with nuts and seeds, and Greek yogurt are all high protein sources. Those foods help kick start your day and give your body the energy it needs.”

“If this breakfast smoothie stops my receding hairline, I’ll drink one of these every day.”

“You are a nut, LJ. By the way, did you also bring snacks?”

“I did. I made Crispy Chickpeas and Edamame. I know how much you love nuts, but I thought I’d try something different this time. Chickpeas and edamame are healthier snacks than mixed nuts because they are higher in fiber and protein and lower in fat and calories. They also contain many essential vitamins and minerals, such as folate, manganese, iron, copper, zinc, and potassium.”

“That sounds like a delish bridge to get us to lunch. You’ll be happy to know I brought Crunchy Tuna Wraps with Kale. They are substantial and high in protein, providing a mid-day boost and preventing a mid-day slump.”

“Good to know since that is the hardest time of day for me. I start tanking around three, and the sweet cravings start.”

“These No Bake Protein bars I made last night should be the answer to your afternoon sweet tooth. The combination of protein powder and oatmeal provides plenty of protein. The raisins and ripe banana make them sweet and should help stabilize our energy levels, so we power through the rest of the day.”

“You sound pretty ambitious, Annie.”

“Yes, I believe a protein-rich diet is the answer for all ages but essential for those of us over 40,” she said with a wink.

It boosts metabolism, curbs appetite, and modulates the hormones that control body weight. Protein has a thermogenic effect that incinerates calories, so they don’t get stored as fat, contributing to weight gain.”

“Really? So, what’s for dinner?”

“We have several hours to go before then, but how does Jerk-Spiced Salmon and Quinoa Bowl with Mango Vinaigrette sound?”

“Like a meal worth looking forward to.”


Annie and LJ are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.

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