Vegan Protein Sources: Going Meat-Free

People often ask me if I follow a particular style of eating: Paleo, vegan, vegetarian etc. Personally, I don’t subscribe to one particular nutritional theory. I listen to my body and what it is telling me it needs. When I eat something and it makes my body feel good, then I know it’s a good food for my body. The same applies when something makes my body feel sluggish, tired or bloated; I know that food is not right for my body.

I try to eat mostly plant based foods in my diet, as I know they give me energy and make me feel vibrant and healthy. I have found some great, little known vegan sources of protein I wanted to share with you.

Whole Grains: Whole grains such as rice, millet, quinoa, buckwheat and oats still contain all of their naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, and fiber. You want to avoid the white refined grains like white flour and white rice, as they have had their bran and their germ removed, along with some of their nutritional value.

Beans: Beans contain a more complete set of amino acids than many other plant foods. Beans are best prepared fresh, and it is recommended to start with beans that are smaller in size such as split peas, mung and adzuki beans for easier digestion. You can also make beans easier to digest by soaking overnight, adding spices or vinegar, skimming off cooking foam, pressure cooking or puréeing and eating small portions.

Soy: Soy is one of the most difficult beans to digest. Common forms of soybeans eaten in the American culture include edamame, tofu, tempeh, miso, and tamari. Fermented soy is often easier to digest.  Many people are allergic to soy, and many “food-like” substances incorporate highly processed versions of soy that are difficult to digest and contain very little nutritional value (such as soy milk, soy-meats and soy ice cream). Soybeans are one of the most genetically engineered crops in America, so I personally believe it is extremely important to only choose organic, certified non-GMO soy if you choose to consume it.

Nuts: Nuts can be a good source of vegan protein, but they are quite high in fat as well, so they should be enjoyed in moderation. Peanuts (which are actually legumes) are higher in protein than any nuts. Nuts also contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants.

Leafy Greens: Broccoli, spinach, kale, collard greens, bok choy, romaine lettuce, and watercress all contain varying amounts of protein and should be enjoyed often. Leafy greens are also great sources of magnesium, iron and calcium and Quercetin, which has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cancer fighting properties. Green leafy vegetables are dense with easily-assimilated amino acids as well as other life-extending nutrients.

© Integrative Nutrition, Inc. | Reprinted with permission

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

Why You Should Eat More Quinoa!

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has the highest nutritional profile and cooks the fastest of all grains. It is an extremely high energy grain and has been grown and consumed for about 8,000 years on the high plains of the Andes Mountains in South America. The Incas were able to run such long distances at such a high altitude because of this powerful grain.

Characteristics of quinoa

  • Contains all eight amino acids to make it a complete protein
  • Has a protein content equal to milk
  • High in B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, and vitamin E
  • Gluten-free; easy to digest
  • Ideal food for endurance
  • Strengthens the kidneys, heart, and lungs

Uses for quinoa

When quinoa is cooked, the outer germ surrounding the seed breaks open to form a crunchy coil, while the inner grain becomes soft and translucent. This double texture makes it delicious, versatile, and fun to eat. To save time, cook a lot of quinoa at once, and eat it as leftovers. Quinoa can be reheated with a splash of nut milk for breakfast porridge; you can add dried fruit, nuts, and cinnamon for a sweet treat. Add finely chopped raw vegetables and dressing for a cooling salad, or add chopped, cooked, root vegetables for a warming side dish. Store dry, uncooked quinoa in a cool, dry, dark place in a tightly closed glass jar for up to one year.

Preparation

Before cooking, quinoa must be rinsed to remove the toxic (but naturally occurring) bitter coating, called saponin. Saponin, when removed from quinoa, produces a soapy solution in water. Quinoa is rinsed before it is packaged and sold, but it is best to rinse again at home before use.  Place quinoa in a grain strainer and rinse thoroughly with water.

Quinoa is one of my FAVE vegetable protein sources. I use it in breakfasts, lunches and dinners! It can be made savory or sweet, and adds great nutritional value to any dish. We eat it all the time in our home!

© Integrative Nutrition, Inc. | Reprinted with permission

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.