Doing the right thing

Are you thinking of giving up meat?  Maybe you just want to cut back? Is it for environmental, health, or ethical reasons?  Worried about protein?  Or for those of you are already a vegetarian, are    sick of the question, “How do you get enough protein?” There is a myth in most Western countries, that you need to eat animal products regularly to get enough protein.  You’ll see from the list below, that this is not the case.  Cases of protein deficiencies almost exclusively exist in cases of overall malnourishment.   What I see more of in my clinic is an iron deficiency, but that occurs just as often in meat eaters as vegetarians and vegans.  (More on that in a future blog.)

Practically all vegetarian foods contain some protein, but soybeans are definitely one of the best sources. Soybeans contain all the essential amino acids and surpass all other plant foods in the amount of protein that they can deliver to humans. It is important to stay away from genetically modified soy products.  The product must be labeled organic and/or non-GMO to make sure.

All of you reading this should know, that I’m always encourage my patients to healthy, organic, locally grown foods.  Becoming a vegetarian is a very personal decision.  But if you want to give it a try and have adequate nutritional support, I’m here for you.

Some of the great vegetarian sources of protein

PROTEIN IN GRAINS: Barley, Brown rice, Buckwheat, Millet, Oatmeal, Quinoa, Rye, Wheat germ, Wheat, hard red, Wild rice

VEGETABLE PROTEIN: Artichokes, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Green peas, Green pepper, Kale, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Mustard green, Onions, Potatoes, Spinach, Tomatoes, Turnip greens, Watercress, Yams, Zucchini

PROTEIN IN FRUITS: Apple, Banana, Cantaloupe, Grape, Grapefruit, Honeydew melon, Orange, Papaya, Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Strawberry, Tangerine, Watermelon

If you want to be absolutely certain that you are getting enough protein, you should eat food combinations which form a complete protein, such as:

* Legumes + seeds
* Legumes + nuts
* Legumes + grains

Chances are you already eat complete proteins without even trying.  See how easy it is? Here are some tasty and healthy complete protein combinations:

* Beans on whole grain toast
* Corn and beans
* Hummus and whole wheat pita bread
* Nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, hemp, etc..)on whole grain bread
* Brown rice pasta with beans
* Rice and beans, peas, or lentils
* Split pea soup with whole grain or seeded crackers or bread
* Tortillas with refried beans
* Veggie burgers on whole grain bread

Live natural.  Live Well.

Heather

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