A couple weeks back a reader pointed out that I should be getting more protein in my meatless Monday meals. That got me thinking; What is enough protein? What are vegetarian sources of protein? Am I deficient? Are you?
According to the website The Vegetarian Society most plant foods contains some protein which your body breaks down into amino acids and uses to produce protein in the body. Remember from elementary school? Amino Acids are the building blocks of the body, it's true! Your body actually makes some amino acids but there are 8 it cannot make for itself they are: leucine, isoleucine, valine, threonine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, and lysine(The Vegetarian Society). So you need to eat protein every day to get those amino acids.
Why? You need protein for just about every bodily function. I was surprised at all the things protein does in your body. Here's a few: bodily repair, nerve impulses, hormones and immunity. So if you want to keep your body machine working how much do you need each day? For women ages 15 to 49 you need 45 grams a day. Men ages 15-49 will need 55 grams a day. Children need more of course because they are growing and you can find all this great information on The Vegetarian Society website
So you NEED protein, but when you eat vegetarian for a day or for several days or everyday, what should you eat? Great sources of vegetarian protein include: yogurt, dry beans, seeds, whole grains (quinoa!), nuts, milk, cheese, soy products, tofu and eggs. Sometimes these foods have less of one or more of an amino acid and this is called a lower quality protein. Protein complementing is a great way to ensure your body receives high quality proteins, this is achieved by combining different lower quality proteins such as beans and wheat or rice and beans. They complement each other and make a more complete protein.
The most complete vegetarian protein is edamame, the whole bean of the soy plant. And they are a favorite around here. I keep them in the freezer for quick and easy eating. I have tried unsuccessfully to grow them but have given up, they don't like 20 hours of sunlight, sadly. So these, we buy. They are so easy to make I can't even call it a recipe. It's instructions today folks:
- you will need frozen edamame, a big sauce pan, water and salt
- fill a large sauce pan with water
- add a pinch of salt
- bring to a boil over high heat
- reduce heat and add the edamame, I like to use the edamame in their shells, it slows my little boys down and they have to work at getting to the good stuff!
- cook for 4-6 minutes
- drain and rinse with cold water
- chill until ready to eat
- sprinkle on more salt and serve
- to eat grab a pod hold it on one end put the other end in your mouth and squeeze the beans into your mouth
- repeat repeat repeat repeat
So on the day in question I had 2 cups of milk, stirfry with edamame and almonds. I also ate a cup of yogurt and other assorted foods. I came up with a total 42 grams of protein for the day. I feel like that is close enough to the needed amount to qualify as good. How about you? How does your diet stack up? I'd love to hear about it.
Time to link up your favorite meatless meal. Any new or old post counts as long as it's yours. This is the last week to earn 1 extra entry in the Le Creuset giveaway by linking up a meatless meal. So? What are you waiting for? Inspire me and you might just win!
This is also the LAST DAY to enter the Le Creuset giveaway period! So click here to check out the French Oven and leave a comment on that post to be entered. Good luck!
Peace and Love,