Day 4. I know, I know I’ve already skipped a day! Oops!
I am trying to stir up more of my creative juices with my weeklong directed focus on meat and vegetables. Although almost every dinner includes sweet potatoes (I am addicted, they are so delicious) I am trying to incorporate beans into my lunch and dinner. There is much scientific research that shows people following a vegetarian diet have lower instance of heart disease and lower rates of some forms of cancer over non-vegetarians. So, my goal is to be more flexitarian** which, in addition to other things, means more beans!!
Now, when you begin looking at non-meat sources of protein there are some tricky things. For one, meat is a complete protein. There are very few sources of complete proteins outside meat. (INSERT!!!!!! According to Wikipedia, a complete protein is a source of protein that contains an adequate proportion of all the essential amino acids for the dietary needs of humans or other animals.) However, if you do your research and eat a balanced diet you’ll be ok. Here are some examples of complete proteins that are vegetarian friendly!
- QUINOA (pronounced keen-wa), vegan friendly. Easily prepared, can be substituted for any grain. However, it’s actually the seeds of a plant! Crazy!?!
- EGG WHITES, vegetarian friendly. You should know what these are.
- AMARANTH, vegan friendly. The seed of a plant, used commonly as cereal or in baked goods.
- BUCKWHEAT, vegan friendly. Typically used in the flour form, can be substituted in baked recipes but only up to 25% of the flour as buckwheat is gluten free.
- SOYBEANS, vegan friendly. In their whole form. Not all the crazy soy bi-product that’s pumped into everything in America.
- SPIRULINA, vegan friendly. Sea vegetable, usually seen in health shakes. It’s what makes those shakes green!
The tricky thing about plant based proteins is that your body doesn’t absorb as many nutrients as if it were a meat protein. Take zinc, for example. It is found in a myriad of foods from pork and chicken to whole grain breads and legumes. However, in non-meat sources, i.e. whole grain breads and legumes, there is an acid called phytate which binds to the zinc in your body and inhibits its absorption. So, even though those foods are good non-meat sources of zinc, you need to eat much more quantity of those over meat because your body can’t absorb as much zinc as the food actually contains. It’s complicated people!
Back to beans. Now, they are not a complete protein. However, when combined with a dairy or complex carbohydrate those foods do become a complete protein due to their combination of amino acids. Two easy examples are rice and beans and peanut butter and jelly. ***Also, helpful hint, to help your body get all the iron from plant based protein sources (especially you, ladies) have some source of vitamin C. The vitamin C helps your body absorb the iron much more efficiently.
My point really is, I am a science nerd. No, wait, that’s not the point….. the point is you absolutely need to educate yourself on food!!! I know it can get confusing, so feel free to comment on the blog or shoot me an email if you have questions on combinations or need some recipes!
**Flexitarian is a term referring to people who follow a primarily vegetarian diet with meat consumption every so often. My friend, Dawn Jackson Blatner, just published a book on it and it’s fabulous!!
Ok, now for my food consumption and workout for today, 1/28.
- 1 cup 2% greek yogurt + 1/3 cup blueberries + 2 T. toasted pepitas + 1 cup coffee
- 1 larabar + handful banana chips
- 1 Amy’s chicken sausage + 1 cup haricots verts with currants, black beans and toasted pepitas + 1 cup roasted sweet potato wedges + 2 glasses water with orange and lime slices + HCl supplement
- 2 Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe Joes. Seriously, delicious. Can’t resist.
- 20 minutes sprint intervals on treadmill
- 30 minutes upper arms and abs
Haricots Verts with Currants, Black Beans and Toasted Pepitas
- ½ lb. Haricots Verts (French green beans, Trader Joe’s has great fresh and frozen)
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup currants
- ½ cup cooked black beans (canned is fine, just rinse)
- 1/3 orange, zested
- 1/3 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat large fry pan over medium heat. Add 1 T. olive oil and add the haricots verts. Sauté 3-4 minutes until they begin to warm then add the garlic and continue to sauté 1-2 more minutes until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add the currants, black beans and orange zest. Sauté 3-4 more minutes to warm everything. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Finally add the toasted pepitas.