Hello friends, and welcome to this month’s newsletter.
I always recommend that people mix up
their protein sources. That’s when I sense a rather blank look on
someone’s face. I know they’re thinking, what does she mean?
So here’s what I mean. Whether you’re a
meat eater or even if you’re a non-meat eater, it’s still a good idea
to mix up your protein sources. You can get enough protein without
eating meat. It just takes more creativity.
So, going beyond what most of us
recognize as protein sources, here are nine non-meat protein sources.
1. Quinoa – When you’re not eating
meat, or simply looking for a protein source that’s different for a
change, quinoa is a great choice. Quinoa is considered a complete
protein in that it contains all the amino acids. It’s crunchy or creamy,
depending on how you cook it, and is easy to find at the market. Like
many grains, it’s very versatile and can be used as a side dish or as a
main course. I also prefer it to oatmeal as a breakfast food, but that’s
2. Wild Rice – Wild rice is actually a
long grain marsh grass that contains 50% more protein than any
other type of rice. You’ll get 6 grams of protein per cup. It’s also
rich in B vitamins and minerals. For those of you living near a Trader
Joe’s, they carry 16 oz. packages of wild rice that are perfect for
sampling this “grain.” I’m putting some in the rice cooker right now!
3. Tempeh – Tempeh originated in
Indonesia and is made from fermented soybeans. Though I find people
still haven’t heard of or tasted tempeh, it’s been around in health food
stores and Asian markets for years. It can be eaten in slices or added
to recipes the way you would use meat. If you digest soy products well,
and enjoy the taste of tempeh, I recommend including a modest amount of
NATURAL soy in your diet.
4. Lentils & Other Beans – Looking
for a big dose of protein per serving? Then turn to beans as your
protein source. Garbanzos, lentils, kidney beans, lima beans, and black
beans are just a few of the different legumes you can add to your diet.
Last week I went on a hummus kick and made TOO much. All my friends
received hummus presents! Mixed bean salads are also a creative way to
add a bean medley to your diet. In fact, black beans have received
attention in the press lately as the CHEAPEST protein source available,
at just 13 cents per 10 grams.
5. Spirulina – Ah, spirulina! You can
always tell when I’ve had some spirulina. When I smile my whole mouth
and teeth are green-blue! I once sneezed right before eating a spoonful
of the powdered variety, but that’s a story for another time! Spirulina
comes from blue-green algae and is sold in flakes or as a powder. It is
definitely an acquired taste, and the quality of the spirulina varies
according to brand. If you’re interested, send me an email and I’ll tell
you which brands I recommend. If you enjoy spirulina it can be added
to smoothies and other beverages, or your morning oatmeal. Get creative
with it, or like me, eat it right from the spoon (just don’t sneeze!).
6. Nuts & Nut Butter – Nut butter,
such as all natural peanut butter or almond butter, is a great way to
add high quality protein to any meal or snack. I like to buy assorted
packages of different kinds of raw unsalted nuts and then mix them
together in a big container. That way I can grab a handful at a time. I
also enjoy using nut butter in smoothies, as a condiment in a dish I’m
cooking, or spread on an apple or vegetables like celery.
7. Whole Grain Breads – There are
whole grain breads with as much as 5 grams of protein per slice.
Remember to read your labels carefully. There’s a lot of fake breads out
there that make claims, but are filled with all kinds of other
ingredients. Make your own bread or buy it fresh from a local bakery and
then you’re sure to know and TASTE the difference.
8. Cereals – Similar to whole grain
breads, there are cereals out there that are good protein sources. Read
the labels and check for hidden sugar and other ingredients that add
carbohydrates rather than nutrients. Add some nut butter or nut milk and
you’ll add to the protein content as well.
9. Vegetable Protein – Although I put
this one last, it’s actually the most important protein source. I
figured if I put it last on the list you’d remember it the best! I hope
that’ll be the case. Make sure you’re eating lots of vegetables each and
every day. That way you’ll be getting plenty of protein (as well as all
the other benefits vegetables deliver). Spinach, asparagus, broccoli,
Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, watercress, and tomatoes are high protein
If you have any great, delicious recipes using these sources, send
them along and I’ll forward them to the whole JIM group. Also, I wrote a
blog piece on the importance of protein, so here’s the link for it.
Hope this list helps in getting you to think
out-of-the-box when it comes to including protein in your well-balanced
Until next month, may you create the
best of health and find joy in movement.