Getting Enough Protein

April, a friend of mine, posted a question (actually several questions) on facebook and I thought that more of you might have the same questions when considering a Vegetarian or Vegan diet. She was asking how to get protein into her diet without resorting to eggs or meat. This is a classic how do I start kind of question. Fear not it is easier than you can imagine.

While animals have been a source of protein for most of history, there are very good alternatives that provide the same protein and micro-nutrients without all the harmful things (like cholesterols, antibiotics, growth hormones and unhealthy fats) that are found in meat.

For example, legumes (beans) are a good source of protein especially when served with rice. Nuts and other grains are also good sources as is tofu. But my go-to source is quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah). This amazing superfood is chocked full of the things that a human body needs to become and stay healthy.

A one cup serving of cooked Quinoa contains the following nutrients:

  • Protein: 8 grams (with all the essential Amino Acids)
  • Fiber: 5 grams
  • Manganese: 58% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA)
  • Magnesium: 30% of RDA
  • Phosphorus: 28% of RDA
  • Folate: 19% of RDA
  • Copper 18% of RDA
  • Iron: 15% of RDA
  • Zinc: 13% of RDA
This one cup of cooked Quinoa has 222 calories, 39 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fat. The best part is it contains some omega-3 fatty acids, niacin, vitamins B1, B2, B6 and E.

Here's an interesting tidbit; NASA is considering quinoa as the crop to grow in outer space because of its high nutritional value and easy of growing it.

Now beyond these vitamins and minerals, Quinoa contains Quercetin and Kaempferol which are flavonoids (plant based antioxidants). Quinoa has more antioxidant content than even cranberries! It is also gluten-free so it is safe for folks who are gluten intolerant. It has a low Glycemic Index which will help with controlling blood sugar.

Quinoa is easy to prepare and can be added to salads or soups, or enjoyed as a side dish. Here's how to prepare:

  • Bring two cups of water to a boil
  • Add one cup of throughly rinsed Quinoa
  • Boil for 15 - 20 minutes
Simple, right? You will find that replacing some meat-based meals with this superfood will be an easy transition to a completely plant-based diet. Not everyone enjoys the taste of quinoa so you might want to add it to salads, mix some sauces with it, add it to some vegetable stock or eat it mixed with fruit. For those who do enjoy the nutty taste of quinoa, Bon Appetite.

Waquim Filsaime

24 May 2020
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