I thought I’d share a quick trick with you that will help you get more protein in your diet.
The one glaring consistency I see among my clients is that prior to working with me they drastically under-eat protein. Most of my clients struggle at first to find ways to add protein to their diets and this is one solution I use frequently in my own meals.
Egg whites are an amazing source of protein and they make an appearance on my table daily in one form or another.
To make the high protein taco base, I spray some olive oil (a tiny bit) into a pan, add in my measured egg whites (I used 1/3c per taco today), season with salt, top with a corn tortilla (I like the Don Pancho corn tortillas…only 10g carbs per tortilla), top with a cover and cook until no longer liquid, then flip and cook for another 30 seconds or so.
I love this method because it keeps the egg and tortilla together vs. trying to add scrambled egg whites to a taco which just ends-up getting messy and falling apart.
Today I had three tacos for lunch. The egg whites and corn tortilla usually form the base of my taco because it is filling and nutritious…the toppings change and vary between:
pulled pork (my husband makes the most amazing pulled pork!)
*I have been buying shrimp pre-cooked from Costco and pre-portioning it into 3oz. bags to keep in the freezer for quick meals
You can pretty much guarantee that I will usually add:
Good Foods guacamole (the singles from Costco are a favorite)
I just tried tempeh for the first time at a restaurant today and really liked it, but I am not sure how to prepare it on my own. Do you have any tips, or recipe suggestions for preparing tempeh?
I am glad to hear that you like tempeh. Tempeh is a wonderful source of protein and is further beneficial due to the fact that it is fermented. In addition, cooking with tempeh is a great way to add protein to your meals without buying processed meat substitutes. As with anything in life, moderation is key since tempeh can be high in fat.
I understand that tempeh can be a bit intimidating to prepare, but once you cook with it a few times you will realize that it is actually very easy to work with. Tempeh can be prepared using the same methods that are used to cook meat (barbecuing, baking, broiling, stir-frying) . One of my favorite ways to use tempeh is as a ground beef substitute. Sarah Matheny of “Peas and Thank You” likes to make ground meat substitutes with tempeh by grating it. You simply take the block of tempeh and grate it on your cheese grater then add it to your recipe. Alternatively you can crumble a block of tofu with your fingers or pulse it in your food processor and garner the same results.
TIP – Some people find tempeh to be slightly bitter. If you steam the tempeh for 20 minutes, the bitterness disappears.
Peas and Thank You is a blog with a lot of recipes that include tempeh and it is a great place to start. Sarah just came out with her first book, Peas and Thank You – Simple Meatless Meals the Whole Family Will Love and it is a worthwhile purchase (For my review of the book click here).
Vegetarian Times is also a great resource for tempeh recipes and they have a great recipe search function on their site that I am sure you will find helpful. Their recipe for tempeh bacon has a four star rating.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Cooking is an art form and can be a lot of fun to play around with. Once you make a few recipes containing tempeh you will have the confidence to whip-up meals containing tempeh without even following a recipe. Let me know if you come across some winning recipes along the way since I am always looking for recommendations as well.
Here’s to health!
**Do you have a questions for Grettie? She is here to answer any of your health and nutrition related questions! Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org .**
“Train like a Gorilla, Eat like a Gorilla, Chill like a Gorilla”
I first learned of Jon Hinds through the T. Colin Campbell newsletter which I subscribe to. Jon founded the Monkey Bar Gymnasium and has had a very successful career (Don’t you love the quote above from his website!). He is a former NBA strength and conditioning coach and is currently a consultant for both the NFL and NBA. Jon trained Darryl Strawberry (New York Yankees), Glen Braggs (Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals), Charles Smith (New York Knicks), Anfernee Hardaway (Phoenix Suns), Eric Davis (St. Louis Cardinals), Lucious Harris (New Jersey Nets) and members of the L.A. Clippers.
Personally Jon has achieved some amazing feats:
Gold Medallist in the 2000 Pan American Games – Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
Gold Medallist in the 2001 Rickson Gracie World Championships – Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
In an interview with Bodybuilding.com (click HEREfor the interview in it’s entirety), Jon explained his nutrition philosophy:
For nutrition, I use a simple plan called the “Hand Plan”. The “Hand Plan” follows simple portion control with a plant based diet. Most people love to eat meat, or believe that you need to eat meat to keep or gain muscle, but I am trying to do and teach what is most healthy for the body and the environment and eating animal products is not the way.
We suggest people eat 90% or more plant based foods. This has proven extremely effective for burning fat as we average 17 pounds of fat loss and 5 pounds of muscle gain in the first 60 days of Monkey Bar Gymnasium training and nutrition.
The “Hand Plan” is simple: eat portion sizes that are as big as your open hand, keeping the majority of the plate or bowl green foods. Keep plenty of nuts, seeds and legumes in your intake as well.
Click on the link and enjoy the video where Jon explains what led him to eat a plant-based diet and what he has learned.
How much protein does a vegan person need daily? Is animal protein superior to plant-based protein?
This is definitely the question I get asked most.
When eating a varied whole-food plant-based diet that is adequate in calories it is actually difficult to become protein deficient (i.e. spinach is 57% protein while hamburger is 37%). According to Dr. Pam Popper,
“[We] are suffering from excess, not deficiency. [Americans] are eating too much fat, too much protein, and too many calories.”
So many people are so concerned about protein deficiency. While protein is a very important macronutrient, so are carbohydrates, and you never hear anyone expressing a concern about carbohydrate deficiency. Without the appropriate amount of carbohydrates our brains do not function well and that should be a big concern!
There is an elemental difference between animal-based and plant-based protein. Since the amino acid structure of animal-based protein most closely mimics that of our own bodily protein, it is more available for our body to utilize immediately…But that does NOT mean that it is a more superior form of protein for our bodies to use. We must remember that animal-based protein is acidifying and results in our bodies need to buffer that acid by removing it from our body’s alkaline stores (most notably calcium from the bones). I don’t know about you, but I want to keep as much calcium IN my bones as possible.
While plant-based protein does not generally provide all 9 essential amino acids (there are some exceptions; soy, quinoa, spinach), it is not acid producing which is a major benefit. The essential amino acid issue so many people have harped about for years is insanely easy to rectify. It was once thought that vegetarians and vegans needed to eat complementary protein foods at each meal to result in a complete amino acid profile, but it is now known that it is not necessary to do so. The Vegetarian Resource Group states,
“We recommend eating a variety of unrefined grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, and vegetables throughout the day, so that if one food is low in a particular essential amino acid, another food will make up this deficit 8,9.”
Current protein recommendations for vegetarians vary from 0.6-1.0 grams of protein per kg of body weight. To determine your protein needs, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 (this will give you your weight in kilograms). Take that number and multiply it by the protein recommendation. Let’s use a 150 pound man as an example:
150lbs. / 2.2 = 68kg (rounded down for ease)
68kg x 0.6 = 41 grams of protein
68kg x 1.0 = 68 grams of protein
The protein recommendations for a vegetarian male range between 41 to 68 grams of protein per day. When you look at the protein content of many vegetarian foods (click here to do so), it becomes clear that consuming adequate protein is not a problem. Vegan protein powders alone can provide up to 24 grams of protein per scoop.
For those of you who worry that hemp is a product or marijuana…please rest assured that it is not. Hemp contains less than 1 percent of the active ingredient THC, the substance that gives pot smokers a high. Marijuana plants, on the other hand, can contain 10 to 20 percent THC.
“Marijuana plants and hemp plants also have different appearances and are harvested differently. Marijuana plants tend to be short and bushy, while hemp plants can have stalks that are 25 feet high! Unlike marijuana, hemp has many uses. Over 25,000 products can be manufactured from hemp, including hair conditioner, diapers, insulation, carpets, rope paper, and perfume. Hemp as a food is one of the most easily absorbed by the body, and can help you live a healthier life.” – Iamshaman
Enjoy Hailey’s post…
Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is one of Mother Nature’s perfect foods. With over 240,000 known uses for hemp, an annual growing season of five months or under, no need for fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides, no abundant water supply required, a natural ability to replenish the soil after each crop cycle, and adaptability in that it can grow on every Continent of planet earth, is it any wonder hemp is known as a Super Crop?
Hemp has been grown for 2000 years for the fiber produced in its stems and as a food source for its fruit – hemp. Hemp seeds are sometimes referred to as hemp hearts and are a wonderful whole food that can also be broken down further into hemp oil, hemp milk, and hemp protein. Hemp hearts, hemp oil, and hemp milk can be used in countless ways and added to many familiar recipes such as brownies, cookies, cakes, salads, breads, shakes and smoothies, crackers and hemp cereal. The possibilities are endless when it comes to using hemp…There is even hemp protein and hemp coffee.
There are many reasons to include hemp seeds and other hemp food products in your diet:
* Hemp provides key essential amino acids that your body can not produce on its own.
* Hemp is a complete source of protein, more balanced and digestible than soy
* 3Tbs of hemp packs a whopping 11g of protein
* Hemp can provide more protein than milk, eggs, and some meat products.
* Hemp hearts contain 47% hemp oil, 87% of which is omega 3,6, and 9.
* Hemp contains all the essential omega fats required for human health and several times more omega 3 than any fish.
* Perfect for those with constipation issues and those avoiding starches.
Hemp has many health benefits including:
* Lowering blood pressure
* Improving digestion
* Constipation relief
* Assisting weight loss
* Increasing energy
* Controlling blood sugar
* Aiding Detoxification
This wonderful food source which grows naturally has many uses and benefits that contribute to our over all health and well being.
While I am not a big fan of the taste of hemp protein powder, hemp seeds have a very pleasant nutty taste. I have been making it a habit to top my salads with hemp seeds as well as my breakfast cereal. The last time I made granola I added 1 cup of hemp seeds to it (click here for granola recipe). Hemp is also the main ingredient in one of my favorite dips (pictured below) which I introduced to you in one of Kristen Suzanne’s Guest Posts for Veggie Grettie (click here for Cheezy Hemp Nacho Sauce recipe).
Today’s Guest Blog is by Giacomo Marchese of VeganProteins.com. Giacomo has been a fitness enthusiast for the past 17 years. He competed and placed in both 2002 and 2008 with the INBF (International Natural Bodybuilding Federation). Other activities he enjoys include cycling, running, snowboarding, tennis, racquetball and most other racquet sports.
Shortly after his first competition, Giacomo transitioned to a vegan diet for health and wellness reasons. Through this period of time he was able to increase his strength and size while training on a plant based diet. He also tried a raw diet for three years and competed raw in 2008.
After embracing the ethical side of eating responsibly for his body, he has dedicated time and effort towards showing others what is possible on a cruelty free diet.
Jimi Sitko, Robert Cheeke, Giacomo Marchese
Currently, Giacomo is working on a documentary, Vegan Brothers in Iron, which dispells the myths of veganism and muscle building (to be released in the coming year or sooner). He is also currently blogging a P90x training journal (workout, nutrition, transformation pictures) where the recommended meal plans have been modified to be suitable for a vegan lifestyle: Vegan P90x blog
Really, you’re a vegan? Wow! But where do you get your protein from? And a bodybuilder on top of that… that’s really amazing – I can’t believe it…
Is the idea really that far fetched that a vegan can partake in bodybuilding just as efficiently as a typical bodybuilder who eats exorbitant amounts of protein from meat and dairy products? Hardly! We’re living proof! And an in-depth documentary which shows just how it’s done is in the works as we continue to prepare for a competition in April, 2009.
Consider that the most powerful animals on the planet: the bull, elephant, giraffe, rhino, hippo, etc., are all herbivores. Also consider that the biggest dinosaurs, the ones who outlived the others, were herbivores.
Have you ever heard of a person who is ‘protein’ deficient, other than in third world countries where they do not have access to nutrient rich foods – or food in general – on a daily basis? No. Vegans are in no way threatened by protein deficiency. If we ate nothing but wheat, oatmeal, or potatoes, we would easily take in more than enough protein.
Nutritional facts from the USDA National Nutritional Database:
WOW – that’s just from straight up WHOLE FOODS! Could mother nature actually have satisfied our needs for survival without having to instill suffering on our furry, feathered, and finned friends? Can’t be.
Now that that’s settled, let’s take this one step further: What if one were to feel compelled to take in a presumably much larger than required amount of protein for a healthy functioning body and did not care to consume it in a supplementary fashion? The average Joe, for example, who just wants to go to his local grocer and pick up something, perhaps processed, to enjoy and whip up right quick?
There’s soy and gluten products. You can easily purchase these as viable substitutes for any animal product out there. Faux meat, wheat meat, or grain meat is easily found at many regular grocery stores and health food stores around the country.
Wheat Gluten, Tofu, and other soy or grain products can pack a mean punch when it comes to protein content. Tempeh (fermented brown rice) isn’t even processed, it’s cultured!
(Amount of calories from protein.)
Hi Protein Tofu (Wildwood / Trader Joes, etc): 28%
Tofurky Italian ‘sausage’: 41%
Seitan (wheat gluten): 41%
From the point of view of an amateur bodybuilder, I’m trying my best to get my protein in convenient form, without carrying around full meals. I’m talking about supplementation with protein powders. With the mass appeal of ‘whey’ and ‘casein’ powders, which are derived from dairy, you’d think that they are the only true sources of high protein shakes. People are amazed to learn that so many other options exist. That’s because Vegan Protein Powders are simply overshadowed by the insurmountable figures spent on blanketing the entire market with advertising, marketing, research, and promotion of whey and casein based protein powders.
As a matter of fact, whey, casein, and egg protein powders are the only three options if you choose to stick with animal protein powders exclusively, and all three pale in comparison, on a micronutrient level, to the majority of the Vegan protein powders listed below:
(Amount of calories from protein.)
Animal Based Protein Powders:
Whey, Casein, Egg: 95 – 100%
Vegan Protein Powders:
Soy Protein: 95%
Pea Protein: 93%
Bio Fermented Brown Rice Protein: 92%
Brown Rice Protein: 80%
Buckwheat Protein: 80%
Hemp Protein: 45%
And there’s more, but you get the picture.
*In additon to being vegan, these protein based powders are raw and unprocessed
Whether you are a Vegan or a Raw Foodist, you can see, you will get your fill of protein. If you’re a bodybuilder and you indulge in the theory of excessively high protein intake and caloric deficit, you can do it. It’s actually far more efficient, and healthier as vegan foods have zero cholesterol, for you to use vegan protein powdders because many of these vegan sources are micronutrient powerhouses. Spirulina and Chlorella, for example, are superfoods. One serving of either equates to 35 servings of vegetables in regards to vitamin and mineral content. Even small amounts will benefit you immensely!
Where do I get most of my protein from? Sprouts, nuts and seeds. Protein supplementation? Spirulina and Sun Warrior (bio fermented brown rice) both of which I offer to you on this site. In the future, VeganProteins.com will offer many of these other supplementary options as well, but for now why not take advantage of my two favorite sources? It’s not so bad being a raw food vegan, now is it?
As for the marketing hype out there and the 8 essential amino acid discussion — don’t fall for it. The Vegan supplement sources and Vegan food sources contain all 10 of the 20 essential amino acids that your body cannot produce itself. And for the ones that don’t, it’s not like you need to have all 10 at every meal. Do you really think that you need everything all at once every meal or your diet will be unbalanced? The human body is amazingly efficient, it takes up everything you’ve eaten daily, or even over the course of a couple of days, and knows what to do. That theory of “complete” protein or food combinations by the otherwise groundbreaking book in the 70s “Diet for a Small Planet” was a theory. Even the author herself, Francis Lappe wrote in her revised edition that current science indicates that you don’t have to combine foods, like beans and rice, to get a complete protein. The body will do the work for you.
FORKS OVER KNIVES examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the so-called “diseases of affluence” that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. The major storyline in the film traces the personal journeys of a pair of pioneering yet under-appreciated researchers, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.
In this interview, Brian tells us about his experience making Forks Over Knives and then watching it blossom into a huge success…
JH: You went from commercial real estate straight into producing one of the most important documentaries of our time, Forks Over Knives, as your first film. What inspired you to take the leap?
BW: The evidence that diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and sometimes cancer, can be effectively prevented, and even reversed, by a whole foods plant-based diet is compelling. For whatever reason, the information wasn’t getting to the masses, so only a few people were benefiting from it. I thought making a feature film was an opportunity to change that, and doing something that would have a positive impact on people’s lives was something I always wanted to do.
JH: How do you feel about the outpouring of support and enthusiasm for the film?
BW: The response has been beyond what I had imagined. It’s rewarding. I think people see the potential in the concepts brought forward in the film as a real way to make our lives better.
BW: I hope that the level of education about food and its impact on health will increase, and that as a result, people will lead more healthful lives. It turns out that the same diet that is good for human health, is compassionate to animals and less taxing to the environment, so it’s important to see improvements in these areas as well.
JH: Can you describe the message you are trying to relay by creating such a critical piece?
BW: The message is that there is evidence that there’s something very specific we can do to greatly reduce our suffering from degenerative diseases. At a time when we’re trying to find solutions to difficult problems, it’s good to know that there may be one at hand—especially something that is simple.
JH: What was it like working with a healthy handful of the most innovative, influential scientists of our generation?
BW: Given my passion for the subject, there are no individuals I would have rather worked with than Dr. Campbell and Dr. Esselstyn. Getting to spend as much time with them as we did, and getting to know them personally, was an experience that is difficult to describe in words.
JH: What was your biggest challenge in making the film?
BW: The biggest challenge was figuring out how to take a vast amount of information along with a significant number of stories, and making into a presentation of less than 96 minutes. There’s a lot of material that didn’t make it in. We realized that the film represents more the beginning of a discussion.
JH: Do you intend to continue making documentary films with a similar message?
BW: Right now I’m focused on releasing the film, an undertaking that is quite substantial. I do, though, like the idea of making another documentary film.
The study also found that 52 percent of those bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus (Staph), were resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics.
“For the first time, we know how much of our meat and poultry is contaminated with antibiotic-resistant Staph, and it is substantial,” said Lance B. Price, the study’s senior author and head of TGen’s Center for Food Microbiology and Environmental Health.
Staph is a dangerous bacteria linked to skin infections, pneumonia, sepsis, endocarditis (inflammation of the heart valves), blood poisoning and sometimes fatal infections. It is killed when the meat is properly cooked but the fact that it is present on so much meat and poultry raises concerns about handling and cross-contamination. The USDA surveys meat for four types of drug resistant bacteria but Staph is not one of them.
The research involved 136 samples out of 80 brands of beef, turkey pork and chicken, collected from 26 grocery stores in Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Flagstaff.
“The fact that drug-resistant S. aureus was so prevalent, and likely came from the food animals themselves, is troubling, and demands attention to how antibiotics are used in food-animal production today,” Dr. Price said.
In industrial and factory farm situations, animals are routinely fed antibiotics to combat the rampant spread of disease caused by overcrowded and unhealthy conditions. When animals are slaughtered for consumption, they still contain residues of antibiotics that humans become exposed to when they eat animal products. This has contributed to the rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria, Staph being one of them.
“Skipping meat is perhaps the best way to reduce your risk of exposure to these bugs,” said Mindy Pennbacker in the Huffington Post.
Even if you are 100 percent vegan, there’s a still a chance you can come into contact with dangerous bacteria, so take care to wash everything – counter surfaces, utensils, cutting boards, produce – with hot water and soap and buy organic whenever possible.
Are you concerned about bacteria, pesticides and other harmful chemicals in your food? How do you avoid ingesting harmful substances or keep your food safe?
I was recently contacted with a question about Gardein meat substitutes. The reader (who is currently a meat eater, but trying to eat less) was out at a restaurant called the Yard House and saw that they offered vegetarian meals prepared with Gardein. This experience prompted her to ask me what my opinion was about Gardein and whether or not it was a better choice nutritionally than eating meat.
Overall I am not a big fan on meat substitutes. Processed food is processed food whether it is animal based or vegan. As with most processed foods, Gardein tends to be very high in sodium and can do a number on your blood pressure.
I do see the value of vegan meat substitutes in that I see them as stepping stones for those who can’t envision a life without meat (or as an occasional “treat” for those who are already vegans). Transitioning to a vegan diet can be difficult for many people who are used to eating the texture of meat at nearly every meal. In this instance I give the reader the green light to try the Gardein meal as a means to see that it is very possible to eat a vegetarian meal and not miss the meat!
According to the Gardein website, their meat substitutes are made from soy, wheat and pea proteins, vegetables and ancient grains (quinoa, amaranth, millet and kamut®). For someone who wants to introduce vegetarian meals into their menu plan, some good points about Gardein are that the product is cholesterol free as well as trans and saturated fat free, which is something that meat can never claim to be. Gardein also provides all of the essential amino acids.
I am glad to know that Gardein tries to use mostly non-gmo (genetically modified) foods. There have been some studies that indicate gmo soybeans are potentially detrimental to our health. When asked the question about gmo soybeans, Gardein states, “[W]e only use ‘identity-preserved’ soy protein (which basically means, it helps to ensure us that our soy protein is not genetically modified).”
I do want to re-emphasize that overall I am not a big fan of meat substitutes. Personally I would love it if each and every one of you strove towards a “whole foods plant based diet.” Your body will thank you!
**Do you have a questions for Grettie? She is here to answer any of your health and nutrition related questions! Email her at email@example.com .**
"The diet that helps to reduce weight in the short run needs to be the same diet that creates and maintains health in the long run."
~T. Colin Campbell
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