5 Sources Of Plant Based Protein

5 Sources Of Plant Based Protein

As far as being vegan goes, the most frequent questions asked by the common meat eaters are, ‘do you get enough protein in your diet’ and ‘where do you get your protein from.’ Contrary to what is said on online bodybuilding forums, it is actually unnecessary to consume excessive amounts of protein. The body can only absorb a certain amount of protein at once, and by trying to hit such high numbers, you are putting stress on your liver and not to mention that protein is the most expensive macro nutrient; It is important to assess your own goals and activity levels when determining how much protein you need to consume to meet your goals.

Back to the topic of vegan protein, many people may be unaware of the amount of protein they are consuming in their daily meals if you just take away the animal protein. Take oatmeal for instance – a half cup of oats can have as much as 7 grams of protein as is! Pair that with a scoop of vegan protein and your bowl of oats has been transformed into a protein packed meal.

Here is some other great plant based sources of protein that you can add into your diet or substitute in place of animal protein.

 

VEGAN PROTEIN POWDERS (pea protein & rice protein)

There is an abundance of vegan protein powders available in the market if you just have a look. not only is it a more natural, minimally processed form of protein powder, but the protein content in some varieties vary from 20g to 30g per serving which is more than enough for a post workout shake. Although the texture is slightly different (may need a bit of getting used to), it carries a lot of benefits; even if you are not a vegan, it is a great form of protein powder for those who are lactose intolerant or suffer from bloating when drinking whey.

 

TOFU

With as much as 16g of protein per 100g serving, tofu is one of the most popular sources of complete protein in any vegan’s diet. Common in many south east Asian cuisines, it is high in essential minerals such as manganese and has an adequate level of unsaturated fats –  the good fats that help to lower cholesterol levels.

Tofu can be marinated like meat as it has a unique spongy texture that will absorb any sauces or marinates it comes into contact with. It can be used in soups, stir-fries, salads or generally substituted for meat in a meal.

 

TEMPEH

Tempeh is what tofu is before it is tofu. It is pretty much soybeans fermented and formed into a block, packed with more protein, fiber and antioxidants though the fermentation process. It is ore easy to digest because of the fermentation and per 100g can pack as much as 20g of protein, and as a complete protein, it has all 9 essential amino acids

Much like tofu, tempeh can be marinated and is popular in stir-fry’s, boiled in stews or grilled and used in place of sandwich meats

 

BEANS & LEGUMES

A staple in many middle eastern and Indian cuisines, beans and lentils are not only a great source of protein, but packs a punch in fiber ( you know what they say about beans!). When bought dried they are inexpensive and can be stored in the pantry for ln periods of time until they are required. The bean variety with the highest protein content is black beans with 11g per cup – others include chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans.

Once soaked and boiled, beans can be used in soups and stews or even formed into veggie patties and used in place of meat patties in burgers. To make it a complete protein, simply consume with rice so all 9 amino acids are covered.

 

NUTS

Not only are nuts a quick and easy snack, they are packed in protein as well as unsaturated good fats. They are best in their raw state and per small handful can contain as much as 7g of protein. It is important however, to keep in mind the recommended serving size as they are pretty calorie dense, so nothing more than a small handful!

 

LEAFY GREENS

You know what they say about Popeye and his love for spinach! By adding leafy greens such as spinach, peas, kale, collard greens and broccoli, you are unknowingly adding more protein to your meals. In addition leafy greens offer many other health benefits such as being rich in vitamins and minerals such as iron

For instance, by adding one cup of cooked spinach to a stir fry for instance, you are adding at least 5g of protein in that meal

 

SEITAN

Also known as wheat meat, seitan is created by mixing wheat protein with a combination of sauces, spices and liquid to create a product that mimics meat in terms of taste and texture. This is what is used for many ‘mock meats’ around as you can manipulate the taste of the seitan by adding different spices and flavorings to it. It is low in carbs and fat and extremely high in protein – up to 40g per 100g serving! Pair seitan with soya sauce for the added amino acids to transform it into a complete protein

 

Food Spotlight – Matcha

Food Spotlight – Matcha

What is it?

 

Matcha is a fine powder made from green tea leaves. It has a distinctive bright green colour that is hard to miss. When made into a tea, it has a stronger more “earthy” taste compared to standard green tea.

Matcha lattes are a thing… and their popularity has increased dramatically. Matcha powder has even become a common addition to smoothies and desserts. Hello matcha doughnuts and pancakes!!

 

What is so good about it?

 

Matcha powder is a concentrated source of antioxidants. When you consume matcha, you are ingesting the actual leaves whereas with a standard cup of green tea, you are just drinking infused water. Matcha is naturally high in caffeine so can therefore boost metabolism. It is also rich in chlorophyll which can assist with digestion and detoxification.

 

Where to find it:

Are Carbs Bad?

Are Carbs Bad?

What are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are one of the 3 macronutrients. They are the body’s preferred fuel source (over protein and fat). Carbs are converted into glucose for energy. Excess glucose is then stored as glycogen in the muscles until it is required. The body can only store a few hours worth of carbs in the muscles. Once these stores are depleted they must be replenished. If the body doesn’t require all the energy produced from the carbs consumed, the excess will be stored in the fat cells. Carbohydrates are metabolized for energy in favour of protein. This means when adequate carbs are consumed, protein can focus on other tasks such as muscle repair.

 

Not all carbs are bad for you.

Carbs can be divided into 2 categories: complex and simple. Simple carbs are sugars-think processed foods such as lollies, cakes and white bread. Simple carbs are refined, meaning they have had their fibre content removed. When consumed, these carbs will cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Complex carbs are starches and fibrous foods-think wholefoods such as vegetables, potatoes and wholegrains. Complex carbs are unrefined and therefore still contain their fibre. They are also highly nutritious, containing lots of vitamins and minerals.

 

There is a bit of a crossover between simple and complex carbs as some foods technically could fall under both categories. For example, fruit could be considered both complex and simple due to it containing sugar and fibre.

 

What is GI?

You may have heard of ‘GI’ or ‘glycemic index’ in reference to carbohydrates. So what is it? GI is the measure of blood sugar levels. Our blood sugar (glucose) levels rise and fall during the day. When we eat a meal, our blood sugar levels increase.

 

Simple carbs are considered to have a high GI as they cause a dramatic spike in blood sugar levels when consumed. We all know that low feeling after the high caused by eating lots of chocolate!

Complex carbs such as brown rice have more of a moderate to low GI. This means the energy is released at a slower rate, preventing that dramatic drop. Eating protein and healthy fat with carbs can lower the overall GI of the meal as protein and fat are metabolized at a slower rate than carbs.

 

Insulin= a hormone, controls the transport of glucose from the bloodstream to the muscles and fat cells

 

Can I lose weight while eating carbs?

Yes you can!

Everyone is different-People tolerate different levels of carbohydrates. The body can even function on little to no carbs as it can become fat adapted. This means that the body shifts from primarily using glucose for energy to fat. The ‘ketogenic diet’ may ring a bell.

 

My advice for losing weight without cutting out carbs is simple! Watch your portion sizes and choose unrefined wholefood carb sources such as fruit, brown rice, potatoes, buckwheat, oats, quinoa, corn, beans and legumes.

 

Remember: Carbs alone won’t make you fat, but overconsumption of carbs can lead to fat gain if the energy consumed is not expended!

Healthy Eating On A Budget

Healthy Eating On A Budget

Are you busy and time poor, but want to eat healthy without spending your retirement fund?

I hear you! Read my top tips below on how to eat healthy on a budget.

 

  • Plan your meals and write a shopping list

Stick to your list! An exception to this is finding a staple item such as rice on sale.

Meal planning makes food shopping easier as you know exactly what you need to buy. Get in and get out.

You always know what’s for dinner, and there is a smaller chance of falling into the take-away trap

There will also be less food wastage i.e. less chance of that celery you thought you’d find use for, rotting at the ack of your fridge.

You’ll only buy what you need and won’t be tempted to buy extra foods that you don’t need- (put down those BBQ shapes!)

  • Meal prep

It may seem daunting if you haven’t done it before, but cooking food in bulk will save you time AND money!

Freshly prepared food can last days in the fridge (and months in the freezer) if stored correctly. Once cooked, portion and freeze so you always have a nutritious meal ready to go.

  • Buy everything in bulk

Freeze your fruit and veg in zip lock bags.

Buy your meat when it’s on sale. Then just portion, wrap and freeze. It lasts months!

Dry food and staples including rice, quinoa, nuts, oils, coffee, dried herbs and spices are often much cheaper to buy in large quantities. Simply store in airtight containers.

  • Shop at farmers markets and wholesalers

Not only are you supporting local growers and suppliers, you’re also getting fresher, better tasting foods. Organic fruit and veg is also usually a lot cheaper at the market than the big chain supermarkets.

  • Avoid buying pre-prepared foods

Instead focus on buying plant based foods (i.e. vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds etc.) plus lean meats, eggs and fish. These foods are more nutrient dense whereas pre-prepared foods are often heavily processed and therefore of low nutritional value. Processed foods in general are higher in fat, refined sugar and sodium. You will also get more for your money as these foods are more substantial and filling.

I do however recommend keeping some microwave rice packs and canned tuna and beans on hand for emergencies. Just make sure there is no added sugar, sodium or oils.

  • Eat out less

Save meals out for social occasions. You will save yourself serious $$ overtime, not to mention added kilojoules!

  • Buy fruit and vegetables seasonally and keep your eye out for sales

Produce in season is often on sale as there is a surplus. Gotta love the 2 for $5 avocado deals!!

Seasonal produce also tastes better! Fruit is sweeter and vegetables have more flavour. It is usually higher in nutrients compared to produce that is not quite in season.

 

So, eating healthy on a budget… it can be done!

Just remember to plan ahead, consider where you shop and save eating out for the weekends. Implement these handy tips and you’ll be on your way to saving that cash 😊

How To Eat Out And Eat Healthy

How To Eat Out And Eat Healthy

Food is amazing! It fuels our entire body, regenerates cells and provides the nutrients we need to live. I’ll be the first to admit, there’s also nothing like eating a delicious burger with sweet potato fries to make you feel all kinds of happiness.

Healthy eating is so important but it is equally important that you enjoy your food (there’s more to life than plain old chicken and broccoli!).

Here are my tips on how to enjoy eating out while maintaining a healthy diet.

 

  • Check the out the menu online

With social media continuing to have a massive influence on today’s society, it’s incredible what you can access online. Look for the restaurant’s menu online. If they don’t have a website you can usually find the menu including reviews and pictures on ‘Zomato’. Also look them up on Facebook and Instagram. One of my favourite past times is scrolling through healthy food porn on Instagram!! You can preselect your food so when it comes to ordering you already know what the best option is and won’t be swayed to share that pizza with your mates.

  • Do your research

Healthy eating is “so in right now”- and that’s a great thing! Purposely select a health food restaurant or café to eat at. There are so many incredible vegan and paleo restaurants out there to choose from. This brings me back to my previous tip and the Instagram food porn…. yummmmm!

Take note- Although health food cafes are on the rise, it doesn’t mean your brunch is low cal. That healthy acai bowl is high in carbohydrates, and let’s not forget the #glutenfree granola on top (it probably contains plenty of fat! Hello coconut flakes and nuts). This isn’t to say that you can’t eat out while eating healthy. You just need to keep in mind that the chef’s main goal is to make your food taste amazing not to get you shredded.

  • Plan ahead

Make an extra effort during the week to eat clean if you know you’ll be going out for a meal on the weekend. Don’t restrict your food intake during the day and don’t skip a meal just because you’re going out for dinner. This will most likely cause you to overorder and overeat. Your eyes aren’t bigger than your stomach! If you are going out for a late dinner, you might want to have a light snack before.

  • Focus on protein and vegetables

By planning your meal selection around these, you should be able to find a reasonably healthy meal.

Keep it simple! Choose chicken, fish or beef with steamed veggies or salad (just be wary of dressings!).

  • Practice portion control

Use your judgement to approximate serving sizes. i.e. a steak the size of your head is not 1 serving! Eat sensibly. You should feel satisfied and not like a stuffed chicken.

  • Ask questions

Don’t be afraid to ask for menu changes. Most cafes are happy to make tweaks to your cooked breaky. A lot of café menus now have a ‘build-your-own’ section. My go-to is poached eggs, roasted tomatoes, spinach, avo and mushrooms. Be assertive and ask how the food was made. Avoid anything fried or described as ‘crispy’ as these foods will be full of fat. Instead opt for grilled, steamed, roasted, baked, poached or BBQed.

  • Stick to water

Enough said!

  • Eat mindfully

Enjoy your meal and the company of those around you. Chew your food and don’t rush. No one is going to take your meal away from you. Stop eating when you’re satisfied and try not to overeat.

  • Sharing is caring

Go halves with a friend when you know the portions are on the larger side. Or better yet, order a healthy main and share a dessert. You’re guaranteed not to overdo it. One of my favourite things to do when trying new cafés with friends is ordering a few meals and sharing everything. Then you get to sample all the foodsss!!

 

Most importantly ENJOY YOUR MEAL! If you only go out occasionally it’s more than okay to treat yourself. Just be aware of what is in your food and how it was made. (And don’t eat as if it’s your last meal- unless you’re a competitive eater… well if you are then why are you reading this?).

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