• Plant-Based Nutrition: Protein

    When you think protein, what image normally comes into your mind? The first thing that comes to my mind is a flexed bicep. Most people think “muscle building” or “strength,” but know little else beyond that. Today we’re going to dive a little bit into protein basics, why it’s important, and where we can get good quality protein.

    Basic Protein Background

    A protein is any group of complex nitrogenous compounds used to create body tissue as well as other chemicals that participate in metabolism and maintaining the body in working order. Hormones and enzymes are also classified as proteins. Protein has been perpetuated as the most important macronutrient, and you’ve probably heard people prioritize eating protein over carbohydrates and fat. In fact, it’s name comes from the Greek “proteios,” meaning “of prime importance.”

    Proteins have so many important jobs in our bodies: as enzymes that facilitate chemical reactions, as hormones that send messages through the body, as antibodies that protect us from harmful substances, as carriers of oxygen and gases in our blood, as well as forming structural components of our cells.

    All proteins are made up of smaller building blocks called amino acids. Of the many naturally occurring amino acids, the proteins in our body are derived from just twenty. Of these twenty, our body has the ability to make twelve. The remaining eight have to be obtained through diet- hence their name essential amino acids.

    Before we go into where to get these proteins, let’s dive into “How much do we need?” Most people know that they need protein, but don’t often know the amount their bodies need. The need for protein was determined and published in 1943 by the National Academy of Sciences as the first recommended daily allowance (RDA). The minimum daily requirement was calculated by measuring the amount of nitrogen excreted, and was estimated to be about 0.5 grams per kilogram of body weight (~0.22 g per pound body weight), equivalent to about 6% of total diet calories.

    Because this estimate was determined using a small, random sample of individuals, it was adjusted by a couple standard deviations to ensure proper intake for everyone. This was about 0.8g/kg body weight. For a 70 kg (144 lb) male, this is about 56 grams and for a 60 kg female (132 lb) this is about 48 grams. This is about 9-11% of total calories assuming a typical caloric intake of 2000 to 2500 calories, respectively. The RDA has been set to 10% as a rounded off convenience. This amount has since been officially reviewed 14 times by an expert panel of scientists, to ensure it’s credibility.

    Where can we get protein?

    Protein is found in all natural foods, including plants! If a diet is varied in calories and made mostly of whole foods, it is almost impossible to get an inadequate protein intake- even if you don’t eat meat. Animal sources of protein have been touted as the best source because they contain all 20 amino acids, hence their name “complete” protein. Most plant foods do not contain all amino acids and have been considered “incomplete” proteins, prompting the need to “combine” proteins in order to get all the amino acids you need but this myth has since been disproven. In reality, the body is quite capable of taking incomplete proteins and making them complete by recycling.

    Some argue for animal based protein due to their high biological value (HBV) meaning the proteins are most easily absorbed into the body. Just because the value is higher, however, doesn’t mean that one will have higher health. Increasing body growth may be useful for growing animals and children, but it also means faster cancer cell growth, faster heart disease onset, and faster aging–each of which has been documented.

    A real life example of this is that young growing girls are now maturing earlier, having their menstrual cycles younger in life, and have higher circulating levels of estrogen- a marker of breast cancer risk. Animal source protein was shown to stimulate the production of hormones that encourage growth of cancer cells. Plant based proteins, however, did not promote these events and even started to slow down and halt cancer cell activity.

    In addition to these, when animal based proteins are broken down, harmful pro-inflammatory compounds such as trimethylamine oxidase (TMAO) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IgF-1) are produced. Animal based proteins are high in saturated fat, the kind of fat that increases production of LDL cholesterol, which is the “bad” cholesterol used as a marker for heart disease risk. They are also completely devoid of fiber, which bulks up the stool and feeds your gut bacteria aka your brain.

    So what kind of protein is kindest to the body?

    As mentioned earlier, a whole foods plant based diet, when varied and eaten in adequacy, provides all the protein one needs for a healthy life. It’s important to keep in mind that macronutrients aren’t confined to one food group but are found in all good groups! Even greens have a small amount of protein in them. However, it is good to know which foods are particularly good sources of proteins in case you are meal planning or need to increase your protein needs for your training needs. Foods that are packed with protein include nuts and seeds, greens, legumes, and beans.

    Here are five of my personal favorite:

    • Lentils: 18 g protein per cup
      Delicious, super high in fiber as well, and extremely easy to cook. You can find them pre cooked (my favorite is from Trader Joe’s) and serve them as is! Great to dip crackers into.
    • Tofu: 10 g protein per cup
      Super versatile and soaks up the flavors of sauces and marinades. Along with having 10 g of protein per cup, soy has been found to be protective against cardiovascular disease, breast, prostate, and colon cancer. Try it in a tofu “scramble” or silken tofu blended with frozen berries and maple syrup for a protein yogurt.
    • Spinach: 5 g protein per 1 cup cooked
      Surprisingly, spinach has a little chunk of protein as well! Its also packed with iron, calcium, vitamin K, and vitamin C. You’ll be surprised how much spinach you can get through, especially if you throw it in soups, chilis, or stir fries.
    • Hemp Seeds: 13 g protein per ¼ cup
      Not only are they extremely high in protein, but they have the perfect omega 3 to omega 6 ratio. Enjoy them blended into a smoothie, sprinkled on top of your avocado toast, or along with your vegetables and rice.
    • Edamame: 18.5 g protein per 1 cup
      Whole soy beans in the pod, found most commonly in East Asian cuisine. Along with tofu and other forms of soybeans, edamame is rich in protein, fiber, manganese, phosphorus and vitamin K. Trader Joes also has pre cooked edamame, otherwise you can find frozen pods in the freezer section of your grocery stores. Warm them up and serve them on salads, with rice in a deconstructed sushi bowl, or just by themselves as a snack!

    By Amanda Sevilla

    Amanda Sevilla, RDN, RYT-500 is a registered dietitian and yoga teacher. She is the human being behind “applesandamandas” on YouTube and @amandavsevilla on instagram. After graduating with her bachelor’s in nutrition and dietetics from Loma Linda, University, she went to India (twice) to learn how to teach yoga, started working as a clinical dietitian, and started plant based nutrition counseling and coaching. Find her at the yoga studio, practicing Ashtanga, at a cafe sipping on an oat milk latte, or curled up on the couch with a journal and some tea.

    Campbell, T. C. & Campbell, T. M., II. The China Study, Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term Health. (BenBella Books, Inc., 2005).
    Madhavan, T. V. & Gopalan, C. The effect of dietary protein on carcinogenesis of aflatoxin. Arch. Path. 85, 133-137 (1968).
    Schulsinger, D. A., Root, M. M. & Campbell, T. C. Effect of dietary protein quality on development of aflatoxin B1-induced hepatic preneoplastic lesions. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 81, 1241-1245 (1989).
    Youngman, L. D. The growth and development of aflatoxin B1-induced preneoplastic lesions, tumors, metastasis, and spontaneous tumors as they are influenced by dietary protein level, type, and intervention., (Cornell University, Ph.D. Thesis, 1990).
  • Lemon Blueberry and Lavender Vegan Cheesecakes

    Lemon Blueberry and Lavender Cheesecakes, a little bit of raw heaven.  Try this no bake raw cheesecake and you will have everyone swooning.

    At first this may not seem like an obvious marriage. Isn’t three a crowd? But I love the combination of lavender and blueberries because the fruit lends it’s fabulous colour to match the hue of the lavender flavour, and lemon brings out the tartness of the fruit and gives a freshness to the healing lavender oil. I use culinary grade essential oils because it’s easier than messing about with distilling the dried blooms, but you can use either. The base for this recipe is adapted from my Lemon Slice. These photographs have not been boosted for colour or undergone any editing. Just like my food, they are natural, raw and minimally processed. I hope you enjoy this raw dessert recipe that would sit just as comfortably on the vegan or paleo plate. Bon appetite.

    Base Ingredients

    • 3/4 cup almonds
    • 1 cup dates pitted
    • 3/4 cup desiccated coconut
    • 3 tbs lemon rind (3 lemons)
    • 1/2 cup lemon juice or (Juice of 2 lemons)
    • 2 tbs Lacuma powder (optional)
    • 2 tbs coconut paste.

    Base Method

    Blend all all dry ingredients in food processor first. Then blend in the wet ingredients until it forms a dough that sticks together. Divide into 8 and press into 8 silicon cup cake molds. Refrigerate.

    Top Layer Ingredients

    • 1 cup cashews soaked for 5 hours or overnight
    • 2 tbs lemon rind
    • 1/2 cup coconut paste or oil
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 1 cup blueberries
    • 3/4 cup rice malt syrup
    • 3 drops of food grade lavender essential oil

    Top Layer Method

    In a food processor, blend nuts and coconut paste first until smooth. Add remaining ingredients blending and scraping down the sides as you go go. Once a creamy consistency is reached, pour onto lemon base. Freeze for several hours. Pop out of silicon molds when hard. Allow to defrost on bench 15 minutes before serving.

    If you love lavender, try Natalie’s Lavender Ice Cream on Omstars

    By Natalie Prigoone

    Natalie Prigoone is the author of The Great Uncooking a raw food detox book and A Piece of Cake: Easy Raw Desserts. She is a yoga teacher, high school teacher and raw food chef. Natalie discovered raw foods and their healing magic in 2011. She is passionate about healthy life hacks, and creating recipes that lead to greater health and healing. Follow her on Instagram @thegreatuncooking or Facebook.

  • Sexy Salads ™️  Featuring Red Vein Sorrel

    Adam Kenworthy may be one of the most creative salad creators we know! Each of his salads is unique, colorful and full of flavor. Today, we’re sharing his recipe for a Red Vein Sorrel with shaved and roasted Purple Cauliflower, tossed in lemon juice. This salad is topped of with pan roasted Butternut Squash, watermelon radish, avocado and a sensational Carrot Ginger Dressing.

    Ingredients for the Salad:

    • Red Vein Sorrel
    • Purple Cauliflower
    • 1 Lemon
    • 1 small butternut squash
    •  Watermelon radishes
    • Avocados

    Directions:

    First, cut a large piece of purple cauliflower from the stock, then slice it thinly using a mandoline. Place your cauliflower sliced into a bowl with lemon juice and set that aside.

    Cut the butternut squash in half removing the longer, thinner part of the squash from the shorter, rounder portion of the vegetable. store the thinner portion of the squash to use for another recipe like Adam’s Plant Based Pizza.

    Peel the rounded portion of the butternut squash before cutting it in half and removing the seeds.

    Next, cut the squash into thin slices using a mandoline.

    Roast your squash in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil, over medium heat, until lightly browned.

    Next, use a grater to grate your watermelon radish (desired amount).

    Place your Red Vein Sorrel on a plate, then add the cauliflower, roasted squash, watermelon radish shavings, and avocado. Top it all of with the Carrot Ginger Dressing and enjoy.

    Ingredients for the dressing:

    • 1 small piece of ginger
    • 1 cup grated carrot
    • 4 tbs olive oil
    • 3 tbs coconut vinegar
    • 1 tbs Tamari
    • Pinch of salt
    • Water to help reach desired consistency

    BLEND WELL

    Recipe by Adam Kenworthy

    Follow Adam on Instagram (@adamkenworthy) where he’s constantly posting new and exciting dishes, drinks and snacks and check out his facebook page for some more long form recipes. Plus, check out some of his amazing recipes on Omstars!

    Start Cooking With Adam Kenworthy on Omstars

  • Sweet Potato Rosti

    These are ridiculously easy, two ingredients and sweetly delicious.  Team them with a burger, eggs or anywhere where you might be tempted by bread.  Just be careful not top burn them as the sugar content in the vegetable does tend to brown quickly.  Usea medium temperature and finish them off on the oven.

    Ingredients

    Sweet potato

    Olive oil or coconut oil

    Himalyan salt

    Method

    Wash and peel sweet potato. Use a julienne peeler or mandoline to peel long thin strips of the vegetable.  If you have neither of these tools then just use a regular grater.  I like the julienne peeler because it’s quick with an easy wash up and results in really long this strips which are easy to swirl around the fork.

    Drizzle on oil and mix with a fork so that strands are coated.  Swirl with a fork as you would long spaghetti to get a round ball.  Place in a shallow pan with hot oil and fry for a few minutes until golden.  Crackle on some pink salt. Shape it into a perfect circle with your spatula and keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.  You will find that it also steams while it fries due to the loose structure of the strands.  When the desired colour is reached, place them on a tray in a medium oven until ready to eat.

    Note:  If the edges go a little black, they still taste good. Don’t throw them out.

    Try these with one of my vegan burgers like the beetroot burger

    Enjoy!

    By Natalie Prigoone

  • Sweet Potato Pizza with Creamy Roasted Garlic Cashew Sauce

    I’m a sucker for a good pizza but the ones I’ve made myself never turn out that great. When the whole “Build Your Own Pizza” trend starting hitting California, I was stoked! I thought of all the wonderful ways I could combine veggies and sauces to create something amazing. But, in my excitement at all the wonderful vegan toppings available to me, I always ended up with a hodgepodge of random veggies that didn’t really work that well together.

    A few of my vegan friends in Sydney made me aware of a pre-made vegan pizza crust available at Cole’s. As much as I prefer a homemade crust, the pre-made ones make for an easy, tasty dinner. I went ahead and bought a pack, and decided to try really hard to make a pizza that actually worked and wasn’t just a mess of vegetables and sauce. A combination of a garlic cashew cream sauce, Farmer’s Market sweet potatoes, tomatoes, arugula, and pesto seemed like it would make a nice, balanced pie.

    My friend Averi and I shared this pizza and both agreed that it was absolutely delicious. As much as I love cooking and sharing my kitchen creations, I am not very confident in the things I make. But this pizza was freaking amazing,  I honestly feel like it belongs in a restaurant. Don’t mean to toot my own horn but, #whatever, it’s true. 😉

    Sweet Potato Pizza with Creamy Garlic Cashew Sauce

    -1 pre-made pizza crust (or homemade, if you prefer)

    -1 sweet potato

    -1 ripe tomato

    -1/2 cup arugula

    for the Cashew Sauce

    -1 cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked for at least four hours

    -half a bulb of garlic (about 4 cloves)

    -1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

    -2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

    -1/4 cup water

    -drizzle of olive oil (for the garlic)

    -salt and pepper to taste

    for the Pesto

    -three cups loosely packed basil leaves

    -1 clove garlic, chopped

    -2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more if necessary

    -1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

    -salt and pepper to taste

    Preheat your oven to 230 degrees Celsius. Poke holes in your sweet potato using a fork. Wrap in aluminum foil and place in oven. Cut the ends off of your 1/2 garlic bulb, so the cloves are exposed. Drizzle with olive oil, wrap in aluminum foil, and place in the oven. Let the garlic and sweet potato bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until the potato is tender and the garlic cloves have become creamy.

    Remove the potato and garlic from the oven and unwrap the foil. Let the potato cool while you prepare the garlic cream sauce. It’s ok if the sweet potato isn’t entirely cooked through, as it will bake for about 7 more minutes while you’re baking the pizza. Drain the cashews from the water they have been soaking in, and place in a blender along with the 1/4 cup water, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Next, grab your roasted garlic and scoop out the creamy cloves. Place the equivalent of 3-4 cloves into the blender. Blend until the sauce has become thick and creamy, adding more water if necessary.

    Once your sweet potato has cooled enough to handle, cut it into thin slices. You’ll only use about half of the potato, so wrap up the remaining bit and enjoy in a tofu scramble for breakfast the next morning (like I did!). Set aside the sweet potato slices. Next, you’ll do the same thing to the tomato. Cut into thin slices and set aside.

    Remove the pizza crust from the packaging and place on baking paper on a baking sheet. Using a spoon, slather the garlic cashew cream sauce all over the dough, making sure it’s even everywhere. Feel free to use as much sauce as you like (I recommend using quite a bit!). Next, place the sweet potato and tomato slices evenly on top of the cream sauce. Sprinkle with a bit of salt, and place in the oven for about 7 minutes (or more if you’re using fresh pizza dough).

    While your pizza is in the oven, prepare the pesto by placing all of the ingredients in the blender. Blend until it has become creamy and smooth. Place in a container with a pourable spout. Once your pizza is done, drizzle the pesto all over it (you will likely have some left over). Sprinkle the arugula all over. Cut into slices and enjoy 🙂

    By Devyn Howard

    Get Cooking With Devyn On OMstars