Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Guest Blogger Time!! (Meatless Alternatives)

From time to time I'll have a guest blogger take over for a bit. In this case, it's my brother Lou who runs things over at Journey To Fitness. It's a blog I highly recommend. He brings us fitness tips and information served up with lots of humor. He's an Independent Beachbody Coach who is working his own program. With a weight loss of nearly 60 pounds and counting, his determination is AWESOME (and he's also one of my inspirations to get healthier as well!) Without further ado, here's Lou's Post:

How To Get Protein in a Vegetarian Diet

Getting protein into your body usually means eating something like beef, pork, chicken, seafood or some other animal source. We as humans need protein in our bodies to build strong muscles, to repair our bodies and to help maintain our immune systems.

Seems like a no-brianer right? Eat meat, maintain your body. But for vegetarians it’s not that easy. There are many reasons people are vegetarians, but the bottom line is that they don’t eat meat.

But wait a minute; there are different kinds of vegetarians too. They fall into the following categories:

Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarians: They won’t eat red meat, chicken or fish, but the consumption of dairy products and eggs is ok.

Lacto-Vegetarians: There is no meat and no eggs, but drinking milk is OK.

Vegans: There is no meat, no eggs, and no milk. No animal products of any kind.

That’s all well and good, but how do vegetarians get their protein? Well I’m glad you asked. I did a little research into it and found out the following:

Vegetarians can get protein from:

1: Legumes- also called dried beans are edible seeds that grow in pods. They are an inexpensive, easily grown source of protein. Because of their many health benefits, beans should be eaten often. Examples are chickpeas, split peas, haricot, lentils (red, green or brown), kidney beans, flageolet etc.

I like beans. Beans are the musical fruit…

2: Nuts & seeds-Nuts are fruits that have a hard outer shell that encloses a kernel, which is also called a nut. Seeds are contained in fruits of plants and are capable of reproducing a new plant. Many nuts and seeds are available both in and out of the shell, whole, halved, sliced, chopped, raw, or roasted example are cashew, peanuts, walnuts, almonds.

I love cashews and almonds. And recently I tried peanut butter with just 1 ingredient (that was peanuts folks...) and it was delicious!

3: Dairy products- (you vegans who may be reading this just move along, nothing to see here…) Dairy foods are products made from milk. Look for products with few or no additives and preservatives. Consider choosing yogurts with few or no additives and adding your own fresh or dried fruit to plain yogurt rather than opting for highly sweetened varieties.

I LOVE dairy foods. Milk=good, Cheese=GOOD, yogurt=good!

4: Cereals & food grains- Choose whole grain flours, cereals, wheat & rye breads, buckwheat pancakes, muffins & scones, noodles and pasta. Check the nutritional facts panel on the label for fat, sugar, and additives. Eat grain with complementary protein. Experiment with high quality grains, such as amaranth and quinoa.

This doesn’t mean get a big fat bowl of fruity pebbles and say you are eating healthy. It doesn’t count and you know it!

5: Algae-Blue-green algae, of which spirulina is a well-known example, is a group of 1,500 species of microscopic aquatic plants. The two most common species used for human consumption are Spirulina maxima and Spirulina platensis. Spirulina is particularly rich in protein and also contains carotenoids, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.

Really? I don’t know about this one. But I guess if this is what floats your boat, have at it.

6: Soybean-A versatile bean use extensively in cooking, the soybean also serves as the basis for a wide variety of soya foods consumed. Soybeans are the richest plant source of high-quality protein.

Soybeans are good. Believe it or not, you can make a lot of tasty dishes with Tofu. No really!

7: Seitan- has been used in Asia as a protein source and meat substitute for hundreds of years. Seitan can be prepared from scratch using whole-wheat flour. The flour is mixed with enough water to make into dough that is then kneaded in water and rinsed to remove the starch and the bran. The protein, or gluten, remains and is then simmered in a broth flavored with soya sauce to become seitan. The longer the gluten simmers, the firmer it becomes. Seitan can then be sliced for saut├ęs or stir-fries, diced into stews, soups, or casseroles, or formed into roasts. People who are allergic to wheat or wheat gluten should avoid seitan.

Ok, I’ll admit I have never ever heard of this before. And I still don’t know why I would eat something like this. I’d try it though.

8: Vegetable- are loaded with vitamins and minerals essential for varied body processes and have been shown to provide protection against a variety of illnesses

Duh! Eat your vegetables! They are yummy and good for you.

9: Fruits-Plant sources of protein alone can provide adequate amounts of essential amino acids if a variety of plant foods are consumed and energy needs are met. A diet high in fruits appears protective against heart disease. Fruits are often the most nutritious part of the plant and, unlike vegetables; their high water content allows most to be eaten without cooking. Because they are usually sweet, fruits are often eaten as a dessert, for breakfast, or as a refreshing snack.

Hey, how come there aren’t any fruititarians? Just wondering. Fruit can sometimes be a great source to satisfy your “Sweet Tooth”

10: Egg- Brown or white? Either and both is a source of complete protein. The color of the egg’s shell is simply an indicator of the breed of hen that laid the egg.

Awww Yeah! I love me some eggs! Scrambled, Fried, Poached, baked, never met an egg I didn’t like!

Alrighty then. So no more giving crap to the vegetarians getting their protein right? OK, I have to give them a little grief, but know I know, and you do too that vegetarians can get a suitable amount of protein in their diet by NOT eating meat. That means that you could too….
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  1. Great info, thanks for sharing. Will check out your blog

  2. Here is a good video on meat:


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