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Protein

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A recent study published in Global Environmental Change shows by cutting meat and dairy consumption by 25 percent, we could reduce two greenhouse gases by 80 percent. So if you’re thinking about moving to a more plant-based diet, welcome aboard and thanks for helping the environment. Not only will you be helping your wallet, (because plant-based protein is cheaper than most animal protein), and you’ll be helping yourself — plant-based protein is low in fat and contains zero cholesterol. Still, what people want to know when they find friends or family that are vegan is, do they get enough protein.

mythbusters_bustedProtein is a big deal. It’s the 20 amino acids your body needs for healthy muscles, blood and skin. Fortunately, it’s in a lot of what you eat, including plants.

The Food and Drug Administration’s basic formula for calculating protein needs is .8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. If you’re an average guy of average weight, that’s 56 daily grams of protein. For a woman, it’s 46 grams. And if you’re pregnant or nursing, that number bumps up to 71. Even then, it’s easy to get your protein RDA. The fact is most Americans get twice that. This is not a case of more being better. Too much protein can increase the risk of heart disease to impaired kidney function. You want your heart to keep beating and your filtration system to be in optimal condition.

Then there’s the myth of incomplete protein. The blame for this falls on the otherwise fine Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet. Lappé advocated a plant-based diet in her book which first came out in 1971, but said plant-based protein sources must be combined at each meal. This seemed to give people a license to dismiss a vegetarian diet as requiring too much effort. A few years later, Lappé reversed her decision, the 1982 edition of Diet sets the record straight, stating plant-based protein requires no eye-crossing combination or calculation, it’s great by itself. Even the American Dietetic Association is on board and released a statement as much.

So how does a vegan get enough protein? Tempeh is king, with 20 grams per 4-ounce serving. Tofu has about 9 grams per serving. For those who’d miss the taste and texture of meat, faux meats — veggie burgers, veggie dogs and the like  — make an excellent soy-based substitute, averaging around a dozen protein grams per serving.

For those who prefer their protein unprocessed and plant-based, you can use beans like chickpeas (15 grams per 1-cup serving) and lentils — (18 grams per 1 cup serving), nuts (5 grams in a small, handful) and whole grains like oats (6 protein grams per 1/2 cup serving) and quinoa. It looks like a grain, but is really a grass, cooks up quick, is mild-flavored, fun in the mouth, versatile as hell and half a cup has a dozen protein grams. Even broccoli contains protein (4 grams per serving).

Please do your part today and join the Meatless Monday movement? Signing up is fast and easy! Follow them on Twittter.

Mobile Cuisine looks forward to our continued coverage of Meatless Monday for our readers!

 

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Every week, across the country, more food trucks are joining the Meatless Monday project. Whether they have full on vegetarian menus, or trucks that serve meat but offer meatless options, more and more questions are coming in from our readers about the best ways to serve their vegan or vegetarian customers. Today we want to share a list of ingredients that can be mixed or matched in your menu items, to provide protein dense options.

meatless monday food truck

You may be wondering why you would want protein dense items on your menu, well, there are a few reasons. Protein is a macro nutrient composed of amino acids that is necessary for the proper growth and function of the human body. While the body can manufacture several amino acids required for protein production, a set of essential amino acids needs to be obtained from animal and/or vegetable protein sources. There is considerable debate over the amount of protein a person needs to consume per day, the current recommended daily intake (RDI) of protein is 46 grams for women aged 19-70 and 56 grams for men aged 19-70. Any excess protein consumed is turned into energy by the body, and it is controversial whether this excess protein causes a strain on the liver. A deficiency in protein leads to muscle atrophy, and impaired functioning of the human body in general.

Top 5 Vegetarian foods with the highest protein density:

Cheese

Of all cheeses low sodium Parmesan cheese provides the most protein with 41.6 grams per 100 gram serving. It is followed by regular whole Parmesan at 35.8 grams of protein per 100 grams. That is 10 grams of protein per ounce, and 3.6 grams per cubic inch. Other cheeses like Romano, Mozzarella, and Swiss provide around 28-30 grams of protein per 100 gram serving. Softer cream cheeses, or spreadable cheeses, provide the least protein with only 16 grams per 100 gram serving.

Mature (Large) Beans

The older, larger, and more mature a bean gets the more protein it carries. Mature roasted soybeans have the most providing 39.6 grams of protein per 100 gram serving, or 68 grams per cup. They are followed by mature Lupin beans which provide 15.6 grams per 100 gram serving. That is 25.8 grams per cup.

Roasted Pumpkin, Squash, and Watermelon Seeds

A popular food in the Middle East and East Asia pumpkin and squash seeds provide 33 grams of protein per 100g serving, that is 74.8 grams per cup and 9.2 grams per ounce. Watermelon seeds provide slightly less at 28 grams of protein per 100 gram serving. If you can’t find these seeds in your local supermarket you will surely find them in Middle Eastern or East Asian specialty stores. Alternatively, you can also save any pumpkin, squash, and watermelon seeds you have and roast them in your oven. The seeds are typically consumed by cracking the outer shell and eating the seed inside.

Yeast Extract Spread (aka: Marmite)

Yeast extract spreads are popular in Britain and Europe, and have started to gain popularity in the U.S. A good vegan source of vitamin B12, the spread also packs a lot of protein. One hundred grams provides 27.8 grams of protein, that is 1.7 grams per teaspoon.

Lentils, Pulses, and Peanuts

Lentils, pulses, and peanuts (a legume) are a great vegan source of protein. Peanuts provide the most protein with 23.7 grams per 100 gram serving or 6.6 grams per ounce, 0.2 grams per peanut. Lentils provide the most protein when consumed raw at 25.8 grams per 100 gram serving, and 9 grams per 100g serving cooked (17.9 grams of protein per cup).

While there are plenty of additional protein options, ( i.e. Low-Carb Flat Breads, Chick Peas, Kidney Beans, Baked Beans, Tofu, Almonds, Peanut Butter, Soy Milk, Dried Apricots and Avocado), these 5 items are the most dense in protein.

Please do your part today and join the Meatless Monday movement? Signing up is fast and easy! Follow them on Twitter.

Mobile Cuisine looks forward to continued coverage of Meatless Monday for our readers!

 

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Mobile Cuisine Magazine is proud to provide our readers with another article designed to inform them about a multifaceted program that is spreading throughout the country. We have designated our Monday features to help promote the Meatless Monday’s program which not only do we support on the website, but our staff actually has adopted in our Monday dietary lifestyle.

In today’s article we will focus on some of the fallacies that most vegetarians or vegans have to deal with every day of their lives. When someone decides to make this dietary leap they are normally questioned by friends and family as to how healthy giving up meat actually is.  The critics (usually only informed by propaganda the meat industry has hand fed them over the years), usually come up with the same questions and they are typically centered on protein intake.

We want to dispel a number of myths related to protein, since this argument seems to be always brought up when trying to dissuade people from eliminating meat from their diet, even if the program only promotes giving up meat on a single day of the week.

During the 6 months I spent as a full time vegetarian the word on the street about vegetarians was that we didn’t get enough protein. If I didn’t eat meat how in the world was I getting the amount I needed? According to those who questioned me, meat is the ONLY viable source of protein. This may be the most commonly held misconception about a vegetarian diet. People fail to realize that meat is not the only source of protein in nature and today, we are going to prove it.

What exactly is protein?

  • Protein is an important building block for your hair, skin, nails, muscles, hormones, blood, and immunity. You cannot survive without proteins
  • Proteins are polypeptides (i.e. amino acid chains) which are essential for cellular health. Your body already produces most amino acids, but there are 9 amino acids that are essential and must be sought out.
  • Protein, along with fats and carbohydrates, are considered macronutrients, meaning your body needs large quantities of them to function.
  • Every gram of protein has 4 calories
  • Proteins are classified as either “complete” or “incomplete” based on whether all 9 essential amino acids are present.

Two Common Protein Myths

  • You can only get protein from animal sources. The only way this statement we’re true is if we modified the word protein with the word “complete”. And that’s where we believe this myth comes from, people associating complete protein as the only true protein.
  • You need to eat a lot of protein daily. People have been misled to think that they need to load up on protein to be healthy, the more protein the better. Well, this is false. Americans actually consume MORE than the necessary amount of daily protein. While there is no agreed amount for required daily protein intake, some scientific bodies have put it around 10%-20% of daily calorie intake (given that you take the recommended calorie intake). And some have suggested that you eat half a gram of protein for every kilogram of body weight.

Sources of protein

Legumes - also called dried beans are edible seeds that grow in pods. Examples are chickpeas, split peas, haricot, lentils (red, green or brown), kidney beans etc.

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.

Dairy products - Dairy foods are products made from milk, the liquid secreted by female mammals for suckling their young. Choose nonfat or low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese for daily consumption. Save high-fat cheeses and ice cream for occasional treats.

Cereals & food grains - Grains are the seeds or fruit of cereal plants, used as food by humans and animals. 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.

Soyabean – 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. The most common soya form is still tofu, but today, the soybean takes on many other forms, including burgers, dogs, bacon, sausage, and many other meat substitutes.

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 a 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 sautés 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. Do not use if you are gluten-sensitive. A good source of protein delivering 23g/30 gms of Seitan.

Vegetables - are loaded with vitamins and minerals essential for varied body processes and have been shown to provide protection against a variety of illnesses. Textured vegetable protein is also a good substitute for ground beef in dishes such as tacos, chilli, and stews.

Eggs - 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. Eggs yolks are among the few foods that contain vitamin D. Eggs are the centerpiece of a range of foods. Many egg dishes, such as omelets and frittatas, can be prepared quickly with many interesting fillings, such as peppers, tomatoes, or zucchini.

We hope that those of you that have avoided joining this movement because of the protein fallacies you’ve been taught over the years, can take the information from this article, to help yourself take a healthy step the next time you are planning to find a food truck on Monday, In an earlier article, we suggested some and provided a list of vegetarian and vegan food trucks if you would like to follow them. We hope this list helps you in finding a truck in your area.

Please do your part today and join the Meatless Monday movement? Signing up is fast and easy! Follow them on Twittter.

Mobile Cuisine Magazine looks forward to continued coverage of Meatless Monday for our readers!

 

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