Monday, March 15, 2010

...Protein


I found this article today and thought it explained proteins very well, and since a lot of people ask me about my protein (and ask other vegetarians about their protein) I thought I'd share.

We can get complete protein without consuming animals. Also notice, all the suggested combinations of proteins for vegetarians mentioned in the article happen to be vegan as well.

Taken from today.msnbc.com, an excerpt from an article by Madelyn Fernstrom of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center:

What is protein?

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Think of a train as a protein and the cars as amino acids. The combination of amino acids determines the type of protein. There are two types of protein: animal and plant. However, there are about 20 amino acids, divided between essential amino acids and non-essential ones. Essential means the body cannot make them and must obtain them from a food source. Your body can break down essential amino acids into non-essential ones.

How many amino acids do you need?

Your body needs all the amino acids. Depending on amino acid composition, proteins are either “complete” or “incomplete.” This is the real difference between the vegetable and animal protein sources. Animal protein has the complete profile of all the amino acids. Beef, chicken, veal, lamb, port, fish, eggs, are all complete proteins. Eggs are the most ideal protein — and the standard to which others are measured regarding “usability” by the body.
Vegetable proteins are typically “incomplete,” meaning there are either missing amino acids or too few of them to maintain the body’s total needs. Vegetable proteins come from nuts, seeds, and legumes. Vegetable proteins need to be combined, but not necessarily eaten together, to make sure all amino acid needs are met. Vegetarians must use “complementary” vegetable proteins together to make a single complete protein source. For example, they need to eat beans with rice, a rice cake with peanut butter, or hummus, which is made with chick peas and sesame paste. Soy is a great low fat source of protein. Most protein bars use soy protein, casein or whey as their base. All are complete proteins. The same is true for protein powders.

Click here to read the whole article.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

...Lurking Sodium


Today at the store while getting ingredients to make my dad some salsa and guacamole for when he visits me in Chicago this weekend, I was looking for some canned, diced tomatoes.

What's this? A can of diced tomatoes that says, "No salt added"?

Wait. That means plain ol' diced tomatoes in a can have salt? I looked at the back of the can. 200 MG of sodium in one small can of diced tomatoes.

Maybe it's just this brand? I start frantically turning around every single can on the shelf. 200 MG sodium was the LEAST amount I found. Needless to say, I bought the "No salt added" kind.

I want canned instead of fresh tomatoes because I can't stand the smell and taste of fresh tomatoes, makes me want to barf. Sad but true, for a vegetarian like myself, isn't it? Canned tomatoes don't really taste as tomato-y as fresh, know what I mean? (Maybe it's because of the salt they add??)

The first time I even bought a can of tomatoes was about a month ago when I thought it would be fun to try and make my own salsa. (It IS fun, and easy!) From now on I'll look for no salt added, and you should too. It's completely unnecessary; obviously, since they make a variety without added salt.

Tell me what other unexpected things you've found that contain salt! I'll post my salsa recipe soon!