As a vegetarian Chef, I sometimes talk to people who would like to become vegetarians, or at least thinking about it. I enjoy theese talks ’cause vegetariamism is one of the best things that happened in my life and I’m passionatly commited to present this idea to non vegetarians. The most frequent question is :”What about proteins?”
SOME OF THEM are concerned that if they stop eating meat they wont get enough proteins.
Proteins are essential to our organism, in body they are broken to aminoacids that help the growth and recovery of cells . Also , the process of digestion of proteins is longer than with carbohydrates which gives us longer feeling of satiety which is a big plus for those who have the overweight.
For me, vegetarianism is balanced diet. I like to think about diferent combinations of vegetables, tastes and imagine how it’s going to look in a plate.
Unfortunatly, some of people are still stuck with a myth that we have to comsume all types of food so we can get enough proteins.
First thing is : Who say that we need so much proteins?
There are plenty of plant proteins that fully meet the body’s needs.
When I spoke earlier about a balanced diet , I thought the balanced meals which are representative of all five groups of basic nutrients : proteins , carbohydrates , fats , minerals and vitamins as well as different tastes : sweet, salty, sour and bitter.
No need to go overboard with anything and yet we should not throw a certain kind of food – the most important is balance . In any case, we need to remember that the body can only use a certain amount of protein we consume through diet and everything that is not digested can harm our body.
Let me give a few examples of vegetarian and vegan source of protein and instructions on how to use them in your diet.
1. Milk and milk products
As lactovegetarian (which in fact only admit as true vegetarianism), I have not completely given up foods of animal origin. In the first place my list of proteins is milk and dairy products. Just to make it clearer, I talk about true cow milk and cheese, butter and yogurt made from it, without various additives and E ‘s, made in completely natural way.
As like all foods from the legume family, pea is an excellent source of protein. One cup contains about 8 grams of protein, similar to a cup of milk (purely for information, women should bring about 46 g and men about 56 grams of protein per day).
Most grains contain a small amount of protein but quinoa, which is in fact the seeds, is unique and contains more than 8 g per cup, including all nine essential amino acids necessary for the body growth and recovery and that the body can’t produce by itself. Because all of it quinoa is often called perfect protein. You can add it to soup or stew in the winter months, serve with honey and fruit for breakfast or mix with fresh vegetables and lemon for a refreshing summer salad.
All nuts contain both the protein and healthy fat which made them an important part of a vegetarian diet. But they are also high in calories, so I recommend that use them raw or toasted.
5. Beans, lentils and chickpeas
There are so many types of beans and each one of them is a protein bomb. One cup of beans contains 13 grams of protein. Stew, soup, salads, use them whatever you want.
Chickpeas – also known as Garbanzo beans, contains 15 grams of protein per one cup, have plenty of fiber and is low in calories. You can put it in a delicious stew, a variety of salads, fry with salt as a delicious snack or simply make a hummus.
Lentil is the most popular and most used of all the legumes. It contains a high percentage of protein per cup – 18 g and 15 g of fiber, which makes it superlegume.
6. Tempeh and tofu
Food made from organically grown soybeans are the largest sources of vegetarian protein. Tempeh and tofu, for example, contain 15 to 20 g protein per cup. They are very nutritional and you can get the taste and texture of whatever kind of food you want from them… pâté, veggie sausages, nuggets.
7. Green vegetables
Vegetables dont have so much protein as beans and nuts but some of them contain a significant amount, with a lot of antioxidants and fiber. Green vegetables are that kind of food. Two cups of raw spinach contains about 2 g and a cup of broccoli flowers about 8 g protein.
Industrial hemp contains 10 g of protein in 3 spoons and can be used as a dietary supplement. Add it to smoothies, pesto, or the bread dough. Hemp milk is also a good choice of protein.
9. Chia seeds
Two tablespoons of Chia seeds contain almost 5 g of protein and fiber. You can sprinkle the salad with them, add them to oatmeal or mix your favorite shake. When soaked in water they get a gelatinous structure that can be used as a substitute for egg or use them to make a rich and creamy pudding with fruits and honey.
10. Sesame, poppy and sunflower seeds
They are rich in protein and healthy fats. Toasted sunflower seeds are ideal snacks and when you mix them with the flour, that bread is irreplaceable.
11. Spirulina and other algae
With quinoa, seaweed is considered to be the best and most complete source of protein. It contain 63 % protein, 15 % fiber, 11 % fat, 4 % carbohydrate, 4 % of micronutrients and 3 % moisture. It is easy to digest and can help with certain heart illness. You can easily add them to salads or dressing, and stew cooked with the addition of algae is really great. Except that lifted the immunity, in one spoon, spirulina contain 4 % protein and 80 % of the daily intake of iron in the bod. In addition to all this she is an excellent source of amino acids.
Amaranth is a lot like the quinoa in nutritional value but it is much smaller than her.
It is also a pseudo – grain (seed) and contains 7 grams of protein in one cup of cooked amaranth. It is a fantastic source of iron, B vitamins and magnesium.
Artichoke hearts are full of fiber, low in calories and contain 4 grams of protein per half cup.
I’ll write you one very tasty recipe – simple dish of peas, quinoa and spices.
This quinoa dish, inspired by Indian cuisine is not too spicy. It is easy to prepare and can be served as a full meal or side dish with fried seitan steaks, for example.
QUINOA SA GRAŠAKOM:
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon curry (I suggest mild flavor – Madras curry, mild)
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
- Finely chopped ginger (2-3 cm slice)
- Half an onion, diced
- 1,5 tsp black mustard
- 2 cup peas
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
- 2 cups quinoa plus 3 cups water
- 1,5 cups coconut milk ( canned )
- Half a cup of fresh chopped parsley or coriander leafs
In a medium-sized pot, heat the coconut oil, add mustard seeds and when the seeds begin to crackle add curry, chili, garlic, onion and ginger. Reduce heat and fry until it get light brown color.
Add the other ingredients – quinoa, peas, water, coconut milk and salt and turn up the heat until it boils. When boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes.
When done, generously sprinkle with fresh chopped coriander or parsley. Serve warm or cold.