Ms. Clark has a solid appreciation for hard science and likes to share interesting things she learns in the course of her research.
You do not have to be a vegetarian to enjoy a meal without meat a couple of times a week. You will be healthier and you will save money by skipping the meat a few times every week.
I hope the information in this article will be helpful, especially to people who are not confident about how to combine foods in order to assure that they and their families are getting enough high quality protein in their diets.
Lately, the word is that you do not have to worry about combining vegetable proteins to make sure they are complete proteins. Nutritionists are saying that if people just eat a wide variety of vegetables and grains daily, they will complete the proteins without having to think about it.
A while back I happened to be in the grocery store around dinnertime. A woman and a young boy of approximately 9 years were rushing around the store looking for things the boy could eat for his supper. They already had a TV dinner of macaroni and cheese. The woman suggested, “How about a cheese sandwich and some French fries?” That sounded good to the boy. Diet coke to wash it all down. That was to be his supper. Does anyone see a problem with this ‘meal?’ Mainly starch and fat. No vegetables or fruits.
So many people nowadays seem to know nothing at all about nutrition. They do not bother with real vegetables. They think they are getting their vegetables when they eat French fries and catsup! Yet nutritionists believe people can manage to get enough protein without actually knowing and making sure their vegetable protein is complete, and just eating whatever appeals to them in the moment.
Protect Your Health By Assuring Your Vegetable Protein Is Complete
Since my health is what will suffer, and in turn I will be the one to bear the results of that suffering if I do not get sufficient protein in my diet, I like to make sure I am getting the protein I need. One way to do that when relying on vegetable protein is to understand what a person needs to do to make sure the protein they are eating is a complete protein.
The human body cannot utilize incomplete proteins and will treat them like carbohydrates. If a person goes long enough without getting sufficient protein their body will start taking the necessary protein from its own internal organs and muscles. This is why anorexia is so dangerous. Going without proper nutrition for a long period of time, including insufficient protein, can permanently damage one’s internal organs or even cause death.
Rather than trust that I am, by happen chance, getting a sufficient mix of complimentary vegetables and grains, I prefer to know what vegetables and/or grains I need to eat at the same time, or at least on the same day, to make sure the protein I am getting is complete protein that my body can utilize.
Here Is a List of Just a Few Foods That Are Great Sources of Protein Instead of Meat
Lentils: Just one cup of lentils contains 18 grams of incomplete protein. Lentils are an excellent source of fiber and B vitamins. To complete the protein in 1 cup of lentils, mix the lentils with 1/2 cup of barley, or 1/2 cup of rice, or 1/2 cup of quinoa.
Make sure the lentils are cooked well. If they are still crunchy, they are undercooked. Undercooking your lentils will cause the magnesium, iron, and other minerals in lentils to be unavailable for absorption by your body. They will be hard to digest and could cause upset stomach. So be sure to cook them until they are done.
Barley: Just one cup of barley contains 3.5 grams of incomplete protein. Barley is also a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber (6 grams per cup), and vitamins, and it is all but fat free. Barley can reduce the risk of heart disease, Type II diabetes, and colon cancer.
Only choose hulled barley, pot barley, or pearled barley. Mix the barley with 1/2 cup of lentils, 1/2 cup of beans or 1/2 cup of peas (or a combination of these items) to complete the protein.
Rice: Just one cup of rice (brown or white) contains almost 8 grams of incomplete protein. However, brown rice is more nutritious because the process of producing white rice strips most of the vitamins, minerals, and fiber out of the brown rice. For the most nutritious benefit, choose brown rice or long grain rice. Mix rice with beans, lentils, or dairy products to complete the protein rice contains.