Got a few hundred bucks?
Great – go to the nearest Health Food or Muscle Supp’s shop and buy all the Whey Protein, Creatine, BCAA’s and Protein Bars you can find!
Because you don’t have to in order to initially put on lean muscle!
Although I do believe that some of these items above are beneficial for certain types of Fitness Programs, you can find most of the muscle and protein building blocks to start you off at your local grocery store!
And while these 5 natural muscle foods are easy to find, be mindful of where they originate from, and what they contain. For example, having farmed Salmon that is kept frozen for months on end won’t necessarily be a great option nutritionally.
Be aware that not all of these items will directly add to muscle gain via loads of protein or Amino Acids, but instead assist with overall muscle growth and repair when partnered with a structured Resistance Training program.
…you can find most of the muscle and protein building blocks
at your local grocery store.
So, without further ado, Core Health Dynamics humbly recommends you ingest the following 5 foods and drinks (in no particular order this time) so you can start finding that lean muscle – naturally:
#1 – Salmon – There are very few things better tasting than wild caught, fresh, crispy skinned Salmon! The fact it’s full of Omega 3‘s and Protein (approx. 25g per 100g) means that is just may be the ultimate ‘health food’! Perhaps the biggest benefit of Salmon is that it contributes to muscle repair , an essential aspect of increasing muscle mass and leanness!
While we’re talking about it, Omega 3‘s are heralded everywhere, but why exactly, and what are they? Omega 3‘s are fatty acids that the body absolutely needs, but cannot produce by itself. They assist with giving you healthy hair, healthy skin and less joint pain.
BONUS: Omega 3’s have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation is being shown more and more to be a trigger for early signs of possible Cancer!
#2 – Eggs – What’s better for you – the egg yolk, or the egg white? How about we make it easy for you: just eat both!
That’s right, the egg, the whole egg, and nothing but the egg! In fact, eggs are often referred to as the most complete whole food due to their protein, mineral and nutrient content (11 in total!), so perhaps they supersede the Salmon? Have both just in case (with avocado for breakfast!*)
BONUS: The protein in eggs is more readily absorbed and used by the body than protein in any other foods. 
#3 – Water – What the …. is Water doing on the list? Well, muscle is almost 80% water, so even a minor drop in hydration will affect muscle growth, repair and your overall performance. The Biochemistry Journal further substantiated this by saying “…that decreased body water leads to cells shrinking and protein breakdown.” 
BONUS: Drink 8 – 10 glasses of water per day, and get rid of those wrinkles, have thicker hair, and improved concentration and energy levels!
#4 – Coffee – And if you thought water was an unusual choice for this list, then you must be really scratching your head about coffee. But hear me out: coffee fends off fatigue, and lab tests “…show[ed] caffeine to be ergogenic during high-intensity intermittent exercise.”.
However…do not overdo coffee. It is a diuretic, which means you could spend more time in the bathroom than in front of your weights, and you don’t want to be dehydrated when doing any type of workout (see #3 above for help here).
BONUS: With caffeine, throw in the added benefits of fatty acid oxidation (read: fat burning) and increased Carbohydrate utilisation! 
#5 – Beef – You already knew this one. But want to know why? Creatine and Amino Acids. You can buy these as supplements (and if you want to go hard in the gym, I do recommend Creatine supplementation, as long as it doesn’t bloat you), however you naturally derive these by grass-fed, organic beef!
500 Amino Acids exist, however your body only needs 20 of these. These 20 power your body, providing energy and muscle growth. Out of these 20, 11 are what we call ‘essential’ Amino Acids, meaning these are the ones the body cannot make. Therefore we need them from food. Bet you can’t guess what a great source of all these essential Amino Acids are?
Yeah you, nice one! Read on…
Creatine provides increased energy during Resistance Training workouts, is produced via Amino Acids, and comes in the ratio of approximately 350mg per 100g (3.5oz) of beef. Admittedly, you would have to take Creatine powder to reach the amounts required (5g p/day) for an increase in significant mass, however you can naturally top this up by eating beef!
BONUS: In a 1997 study, participants in a study were found to increase their one repetition maximum (1Rm**) by 20% – 25% when on a controlled and regular Creatine dosage program. 
I’m sure you can think of several other great natural protein sources – turkey, chicken, most red meats, or full-fat, unhomogenized, raw milk for example.
That’s the fun thing about this: you can go and find your favourite tasting, high protein foods and see what works best for you to compliment your Resistance Training program.
And have a look at this Post to ensure you’re not ingesting a bunch of bad chemicals that will inhibit the bodies uptake of these items above.
Whatever you choose, just remember this mantra: To get lean, eat clean!
Sources and Notes:
Cathy Johnson, Eggs: Unscrambling the evidence, http://www.abc.net.au/health/thepulse/stories/2011/07/13/3266764.htm
[3[ William Gamonski, Why is Water important in building muscle, http://www.livestrong.com/article/134943-why-is-water-important-building-muscle/
 JK Davis, JM Green, Caffeine and anaerobic performance: ergogenic value and methods of action , http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19757860
 Elliot Reimers – Is caffeine good or bad, http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/caffeine-good-bad-risks-benefits
 P.G.Williams, Nutritional composition of red meat, http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1053&context=hbspapers
 Stephen P. Bird, Creatine supplementation and exercise, 2003, http://www.jssm.org/vol2/n4/1/v2n4-1pdf.pdf
*Random: I actually took a break right at the this point to have eggs, salmon and avocado for breakfast after typing this…
** 1RM is defined as the maximum weight of any exercise you can safely perform in a controlled manner before exhausting your energy reserves, thereby not being able to perform another repetition. It is commonly used by Trainers to measure Clients strength before and during Resistance Training programs