<![CDATA[All Ways Nutritious Vancouver - Christyn's Blog]]>Wed, 10 Feb 2016 12:29:12 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Simple, healthy harvest Wild Rice Egg Linguine!]]>Tue, 14 Feb 2012 17:53:09 GMThttp://www.allwaysnutritious.com/christyns-blog/simple-healthy-harvest-wild-rice-egg-linguinePicture

   Healthy Harvest Wild Rice Egg Linguine 

I love this pasta.  

It's simply delicious.  

I was delighted to try this recipe and loved the nutritious toss-up of cherry tomatoes, corn, leeks, kale and basil. It's a lovely meal packed full of flavour from the garlic, red chili flakes, olive oil and of course, beautiful vegetables.  

It is very satisfying yet it doesn't leave that heavy feeling that most pasta dishes do.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do :)

Ingredients:
Recipe by Christine Couvelier    

1x 454 gr box Floating Leaf Artisan Wild Rice Egg Linguine
sea salt
¼ cup olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp red chili flakes
1 leek, trimmed, white & light green parts only, thinly sliced
2 cobs fresh corn, kernels removed ( or 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels )
4 stalks fresh kale, leaves only, thinly sliced
4 cups cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped (note: reserve some basil leaves for garnish )
sea salt & pepper to taste
parmesean cheese, optional


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook Floating Leaf Artisan Wild Rice Egg Linguine as per package directions. Drain when cooked and set aside.
2. Heat olive oil, over medium heat, in a large, flat-bottomed fry pan. Add onion and garlic and cook 4- 6 minutes until fragrant. Add red chili flakes and stir.
3.  Add leek and corn to fry pan and cook, stirring often, for 4 – 5 more minutes, until leek is tender.  Add kale and cherry tomatoes and cook for approx 8 – 10 minutes until tomatoes begin to release their juices.
4.  Remove from heat and toss with chopped fresh basil. Season with s & p.  Add cooked pasta to pan and toss well.
5.  Garnish with parmesan cheese and basil leaves.

Serves 4 – 6


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<![CDATA[A must try fruited wild rice salad.]]>Mon, 23 Jan 2012 05:16:28 GMThttp://www.allwaysnutritious.com/christyns-blog/a-must-try-fruited-wild-rice-saladPicture
    Fruited Wild Rice 
           Salad


This delicious wild rice salad is a real crowd pleaser! 

It is a beautiful salad made up of sweet juicy pears and apples combined with full-bodied, nutty wild rice, crunchy nuts and a fruity vinaigrette. 

I have been making this yummy salad a lot lately.  It provides me with much needed energy, vitamins, minersals, fiber, antioxidants, healthy fats and protein.  It tastes fantastic the first day, but even better the next day.  It is a very easy recipe to put together once the wild rice is open. 

If you have never tried wild rice before then try this recipe.  It couldn't be easier or taste better.

Ingredients:
Recipe from Healthy Food for Living

1 cup dry wild rice, rinsed
1 green onion, thinly sliced
½ cup dried cranberries (or currants, raisins etc.)
½ cup walnuts, chopped
1 apple, diced
1 pear, diced
Juice from ½ lemon

 Vinaigrette:
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tsp honey
Sea salt and pepper to taste

1.    First open wild rice.  Add 1 cup of dry wild rice to 4 cups cold water, bring to boil.  Reduce heat, cover tightly and simmer gently for ½ hour.  Shut off heat and let stand on burner covered for approximately 45 minutes, until rice reaches its desired texture.  Drain and rinse with cool water.

2.    Combine olive oil, apple cider vinegar and honey.  Set aside.

3.    Chop up apple, pear and green onion.

4.    Mix the chopped fruit, walnuts, cranberries, vinaigrette with the cooked wild rice.  Season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

Note:  This salad is even better the next day!!  A great lunch option.  It's also nice over a bed of spinach like the original recipe called for.


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<![CDATA[Hearty, healing lentil soup for warm winter nights.]]>Mon, 19 Dec 2011 08:00:01 GMThttp://www.allwaysnutritious.com/christyns-blog/hearty-healing-lentil-soup-for-warm-winter-nightsPicture
                 Lentil Soup

This hearty lentil soup is amazing! Both in taste and nutrients.

First on a side note: I apologize to my readers for being MIA.  My husband and I welcomed a healthy baby boy this October.  I’ve been enjoying every moment of our new adventure in parenting and couldn’t be more in love.  I am still preparing nourishing meals that provide me energy and are healing to the body.....like this soup! .

This lentil soup is chocked full of bold flavours – the earthy lentils are complimented by sweet carrots, fragrant herbs and rich mushrooms.   All of the vegetables offer a solid nutritional profile which is further amped up by the lentils that provide an abundance of fiber, iron and protein.

It is so tasty and satisfying.  It’s a quick and easy vegetable soup to make from scratch and is incredibly nutritious.  I’m realizing easy, nutrient dense meals are a must as a new mom .  I love this soup because it keeps me full long after i’ve eaten and gives me energy.  It actually reminds me more of a stew because of the deep, rich broth.  So good. 

I am keeping excellent recipes like this one and will share more when I can. 

Ingredients:
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
2 tsp coconut oil
12 crimini mushrooms, sliced
4 celery stalks, chopped small
6 carrots, chopped small
2 cups kale, chopped
¾ cup dry lentils
5 cups water
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 tsp Herb de Provence
½ tsp Rosemary
½ tsp Italian Seasoning
Pinch nutmeg
1 bay leaf
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Saute onions in coconut oil until translucent, then add garlic and sauté another minute.

2. Add mushrooms and cook covered until cooked to retain juice from mushrooms.

3. Add chopped carrots, celery, bay leaf, nutmeg, Italian seasoning, rosemary and Herb de Provence and sauté a couple minutes.

4. Add water, lentils and vegetable boullion cube and bring to boil.

5. Simmer approximately 25-30 minutes until vegetables tender and lentils soft.

6. Season with sea salt and ground pepper to taste (I used approximately ½ tsp salt) and stir in kale which will cook  slightly from the heat of the soup.

Enjoy!

Note:
  This hearty lentil soup also freezes well. 

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<![CDATA[I'm back with addicting cookie dough!]]>Thu, 09 Jun 2011 23:26:41 GMThttp://www.allwaysnutritious.com/christyns-blog/im-back-with-addicting-cookie-doughPicture
   Chocolate Chip
Cookie Dough Bites
            

I have seen raw cookie dough balls on numerous blogs, but never made them until this week.  I really wonder why i waited so long because they are F.A.N.T.A.S.T.I.C and so easy to make!

This isn't your regular cookie dough....you don't have to worry about raw egg or preservatives that you can't even pronounce.  This is much better tasting and so much better for you. 

Its packed full of nuts, oats, dates and dark chocolate which together provides us with healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants!!

They hit the spot when having a sweet craving and want a little something to satisfy it or give you a little boost of energy.  You can switch up a few ingredients to make other dough flavours, for example replace chocolate chips for raisins and add cinnamon for an oatmeal cookie dough!! 

These cookie dough bites would be fantastic in soft serve or ice cream!!  This past weekend i watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and he was showing children where there ingredients for there sundaes come from.  For cookie dough ice cream he mentions that an ingredient is added to the cookie dough to keep it soft and nice....this ingredient is made from feathers and hair.  This is another good reason to make your own treats -- You know whats in them and there made from real food.

I am loving this treat these days.  Loving food period.  My husband and I are expecting :) We are very excited.  The last few months took a toll on my appetite, but its back in full force and I couldn't be happier. 



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Ingredients:
Adapted slightly from Love Veggies and Yoga

1/3 cup cashews, raw
1/3 cup almonds, raw
1/2 cup + 1/3 cup oats
6 dates, roughly chopped
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp sea salt
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 dark chocolate chips

1. In a food processor, blend cashews, almonds and oats until powdered.

2. Add roughly chopped dates and blend until very finely chopped. 


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3. Now add the vanilla, sea salt and maple syrup and blend until a ball forms.  Remove dough and stir in dark chocolate chips.

4. Place small dollups of dough on a plate or roll into balls, then freeze until firm (1 hour).  Serve immediately out of freezer or else they will get too soft. 

Makes about 16 small balls.

Note:  You can use all cashew nuts and your cookie dough will look even more light and fluffy.  Also, these treats are soft and chewy right out of the freezer.

Enjoy!!

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       Whole Food Sneak Peak:
                        Cashews

Cashew nuts are kidney-shaped nuts that are light in color, delicate in flavor and slightly spongy in texture.  They belong to the same family as the mango and pistachio nut. 

Cashews have excellent nutritional value.  They are a good source of many minerals including copper, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc.  They have a lower fat content and a higher protein and carbohydrate content than most other nuts.  The fat that they do contain is mostly from oleic acid, a monosaturated oil with known benefits of protecting against heart disease and cancer. 

For nutritional information on the following ingredients please follow the link: dark chocolate, dates and oats.

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<![CDATA[Pink bowl packed full of cancer fighting compounds.]]>Tue, 15 Feb 2011 17:53:54 GMThttp://www.allwaysnutritious.com/christyns-blog/pink-bowl-packed-full-of-cancer-fighting-compoundsPicture
   Raspberry Soft Serve

This dessert is a favourite of ours.

Light.

Refreshing.

Decadent.

Plus it's simple to make, delicious and super nutritious. 

The sweet, tart taste of raspberries creamed together with bananas, vanilla and smooth almond butter results in a rich, creamy treat. 


At first I was calling it sorbet, but that’s not accurate as I never add water, juice or sugar – none of those ingredients are needed as raspberry soft serve is plenty sweet on its own from the double dose of ripe fruit. 


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Raspberries are an extremely nutrient-dense food. 

They are an excellent source of vitamin C; fiber -- one of the highest sources in nature- 8g in one cup; manganese; flavonoids -- powerful antioxidants; minerals-calcium, magnesium & iron and ellagic acid -- cancer-fighting compound!!.  They also contain folic acid and other B vitamins. 

This was very appropriate for our Valentines Day treat.  I was awakened to a new perspective this Valentines Day from Oh She Glows....

                    “Valentine’s Day reminds me that without Self-Love I have nothing
                            …. without Self-Love I can’t give to others in my life.” 

Beautifully written and makes complete sense.



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Enjoy!
Ingredients:

2 frozen bananas
1 cup frozen raspberries
2 Tbsp almond milk
1 Tbsp almond butter
¼ tsp vanilla bean (or ½ tsp pure vanilla extract)
Mint and dark chocolate to top (optional)

1. Throw all ingredients into high-speed blender ie. Vitamix, turn to speed 5 and use tamper to push fruit into blades until creamy.  OR you can use a food processor.  Throw in your bananas and whip until you get banana soft serve (scraping the sides as needed), then add in the rest of the ingredients until smooth and well combined. For both methods, serve immediately.

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<![CDATA[Mexican-inspired hummus makes the top of the list.]]>Thu, 03 Feb 2011 23:28:42 GMThttp://www.allwaysnutritious.com/christyns-blog/mexican-inspired-hummus-makes-the-top-of-the-listPicture
                            Spicy Black Bean Hummus

This Mexican-inspired hummus is so incredibly delicious.

Hummus has a long history in the Middle East, where it’s traditionally made with chickpeas.  I love traditional hummus, but my tummy begs to differ.  I came across a spicy black bean hummus recipe that I just couldn’t resist trying.  It was very tasty – spicy, but no overly hot with a smooth, hearty consistency.  It has tons of flavour and just the right amount of kick!

This dip couldn’t be easier to make; everything gets whipped around in the food processor until a smooth consistency is reached.


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Black beans are appealing because of their flavour, color and tiny size.  Nutritionally they beat out other beans (followed by red, brown, yellow and white beans).  In general, the darker-colored beans have higher levels of flavonoids and higher antioxidant activity. 

They are as rich in antioxidant compounds (called anthocyanins) as grapes and cranberries, two fruits that are antioxidant stars. 

They are full of fiber (15 g in 1 cup), protein, vitamins, minerals and that feel-good compound tryptophan (in the body is used to make the feel-good hormone serotonin).

This hummus was devoured by my husband and dad with tortilla chips.  This would be great with veggies, crackers , layered dip, spread for sandwiches or heated a little for burritos….it actually kind of tasted like re-fried beans to me.

It’s a tasty alternative to traditional hummus and for me, easy on my tummy.


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Ingredients:
(adapted from Cooking Light)

1 ½ cups, cooked black beans (1 can)
2 garlic cloves
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp tahini (roasted sesame seed paste)
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp chili pepper flakes
1/8 tsp cayenne
¼ tsp Himalayan salt
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

1. Place garlic in food processor; process until finely chopped.  Add lemon juice, tahini, cumin, chilli pepper flakes, cayenne, salt and black beans; process until smooth.  Place in bowl, drizzle with olive oil and whatever toppings you like (I used a few black beans, pinch of chilli pepper, parsley and corn chips).


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Food for Thought:

Chiles get their trademark fire from capsaicin.  Capsaicin is indestructible; neither cold nor heat will douse the fire.  Its fire is so fierce it can incinerate a variety of diseases.   All chiles have healing properties – a wealth of antioxidant vitamins and minerals.

How to put out the fire:
No water, as it can actually make your mouth burn more.
Fat and alcohol are the only substances that can reduce the burn, though they are only mildly effective.  Beer,      peanut butter and dairy work the best. 


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<![CDATA[Ranch dressing upgraded.]]>Fri, 28 Jan 2011 03:24:46 GMThttp://www.allwaysnutritious.com/christyns-blog/creamy-sexy-dressingPicture
       Raw Ranch        
        Dressing

I recently bought the fantastic book Crazy Sexy Diet and LOVE it! 

Kris Carr is an inspiration.  Her attitude is up- lifting and refreshing.  Seven years ago she was diagnosed with a rare, incurable cancer which encouraged her to make a total lifestyle upgrade.

From her book she states, “Since changing what I eat and how I live, my body and mind are healthy, strong, and empowered.  I prove my own point every day, and the proof is in the pudding.” 



Her courage is admirable and her zest for life is contagious.
I highly recommend reading this book.

Prevention IS the cure, Kris states and I couldn’t agree more.


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The book has many wonderful recipes, including one from Choosing Raw that I have always wanted to try. 

This dressing is very fresh, rich and creamy! It really tastes amazing.  It is packed full of wonderful herbs, both dry and fresh, which give it a beautiful green color.  It is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, healthy fats and protein. 

It makes a good amount of dressing so it can be stored in the fridge and used for nutrient-rich salads (like the one to your right), dipping and sandwiches.


Enjoy!


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Ingredients:
(recipe from Gena Hamshaw)

¾ cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours *
½ cup water
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ - ½ tsp salt
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried oregano
1 clove garlic
½ tsp onion powder
3 Tbsp fresh dill
3 Tbsp fresh parsley
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1. Blend all the ingredients in a high-speed blender OR blend all ingredients, except oil,  in food processor and drizzle the oil in slowly until the mixture is creamy and emulsified.  Makes 1 ½ cups or so.

*Note:  I used almonds and it worked well….still creamy and delicious.  This dressing is great for salads, dipping or pouring over steamed veggies.


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"I believe in pink.

I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner.

I believe in kissing, kissing a lot.

I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong.

I believe that happygirls are the prettiest girls.

I believe that tomorrow is another day.

I believe in miracles."

Audrey Hepburn

I love her light-hearted look at life!!


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<![CDATA[The hidden secret of cauliflower and garlic.]]>Mon, 24 Jan 2011 20:31:14 GMThttp://www.allwaysnutritious.com/christyns-blog/the-hidden-secret-of-cauliflower-and-garlicPicture
                   Creamy Roasted Garlic & Cauliflower Soup

When roasted, garlic and cauliflower transform themselves.

For me cauliflower has never been awe-inspiring.  I’ve had it with dips, in stir-fries, steamed or in salads, which have been good, but nothing compared to this dish.  It is by far the most spectacular tasting soup I’ve had.  I really couldn’t believe how incredible it tasted…completely didn’t expect it.  Roasting cauliflower brings out a rich, nutty flavour and roasting garlic brings out a mild, sweet taste.  Together they bring depth of flavour, sweetness and intensity to this simple, gourmet soup.  Topping the soup off with caramelized onions finishes it off beautifully.

Plus it’s surprisingly packed with a lot of nutrients – vitamin C, fiber, protein and is among the cancer-preventive cruciferous vegetables.  It can convert even the pickiest non-cauliflower eater.  I can see this recipe being a great base for creamy soups and sauces. 

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Ingredients:
(Inspired by Clean Start Cookbook)

1 head cauliflower
1 ½ yellow onions
½ head garlic (about 6 large cloves)
1 Tbsp thyme
1 bay leaf
4 cups water
1 cube Vegetable bouillon
1 Tbsp + 2 tsp coconut oil
¼ tsp Himalayan sea salt
Ground pepper to taste


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1. Preheat oven 350 F.  Wash and chop up head of cauliflower and place in large bowl.  Melt 1 Tbsp coconut oil in pot then toss with cauliflower to coat then place in baking dish.  Cut off tops of garlic, rub bulbs with a little coconut oil and wrap tightly in foil.  Place cauliflower and garlic in oven and bake for 50 minutes, tossing cauliflower once half way through. 

2. Take 1 onion, chop and sauté in 1 tsp coconut oil until translucent.  Add thyme and bay leaf and sauté 1 minute.  Add roasted cauliflower and garlic cloves (peel and discard skins).  Add in water and vegetable bouillon.  Bring to boil, then simmer 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile slice ½ onion thinly.  On medium heat melt 1 tsp coconut oil and stir in onion so it all gets coated.  Let the onions cook, stirring frequently, and allowing each onion piece to have contact with the floor of the pan.  They will begin to brown and the sugar within them caramelizes, turning a deep golden brown color.  Be careful not to burn them. 

4. Remove bay leaf from soup.  Puree with hand blender or in batches in high-speed blender.  Return to pot.

5. Place soup in bowls and top with caramelized onions.  Serves 4.


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The captivating aroma filled my kitchen and flavour charmed my taste buds. 


Enjoy this delicious, nutrient-rich soup.

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              Whole Food Sneak Peak:
                         Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes broccoli, kale and cabbage.  It has a compact head called a “curd,” which is composed of undeveloped flower buds.  Raw cauliflower is firm yet a bit spongy in texture.  It has a slightly sulphurous and faintly bitter flavour.

Cauliflower is white because its ribbed, coarse green leaves protect the curd from sunlight, thereby impeding the development of chlorophyll.  This process contributes to the white coloring of the most varieties, but it can also be found in light green and purple. 

Cauliflower is power-packed with nutrition, however still not as nutrient-dense as other cabbage-family vegetables.  It’s an excellent source of vitamin C and K.  It’s a very good source of fiber, potassium, phosphorus, folic acid and B vitamins.  It’s also a good source of the trace mineral boron and about 25% protein.


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Like other cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage and kale), cauliflower contains compounds that may help prevent cancer.  These compounds appear to stop enzymes from activating cancer-causing agaents in the body and they increase the activity of enzymes that eliminate and disable carcinogens.

Cauliflower can be prepared similar to broccoli, added to salads, used as crudités for dipping in sauces, roasted,  used as a great base for creamy soups and sauces, stir fries and curries.

You can't go wrong with this recipe --roasting cauliflower and garlic is a sure thing!


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<![CDATA[Hungry? Grab a chewy, peanut buttery, chocolatey granola bar.]]>Wed, 19 Jan 2011 01:49:42 GMThttp://www.allwaysnutritious.com/christyns-blog/hungry-grab-a-chewy-peanut-buttery-chocolatey-granola-barPicture

no bake.....
Peanut Butter  Chocolate
Granola Bars

I always have snacks with me. 

You never know when you might feel like a nibble. While traveling I was eating a lot of coconut cream pie Larabars, which I love.  They are made from a few simple ingredients and taste outstanding.  It inspired me to make my own snack bars. 

I went for granola bars with all the fixings we love.  I made chewy, tasty, addicting peanut butter chocolate granola bars, as well as a vanilla-almond flavour.


This recipe is extremely versatile and simple.  They are no-bake and you can literally whip up a batch in 10 minutes.  The key is finding flavours that work for YOU.  You may love these ones, or use it as a base to create your own. 


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It is important to eat a healthy, substantial afternoon snack that contains protein, high-quality fats and fiber that will provide you with energy and mental clarity.  These bars have it all !! 

The beauty of making granola bars from scratch is that you can put in all the goodness you like and won’t have to worry about over-sugared, over salted, high fructose corn syrup, unpronounceable chemical filled bars.

You can also get creative and wrap them up nicely secured with fun stickers adding your own personal touch :)



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peanut butter-chocolate granola bar
Ingredients:
(adapted from A Bowl of Mush)

1 ½ cup large flake oats
¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp flax seeds, ground
2 Tbsp dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp whole ground vanilla bean
½ cup chunky organic peanut butter
10 dates (pitted, chopped and mashed)
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup maple syrup or honey *

1. Combine oats, coconut, chopped almonds, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla bean in a bowl.
2. Melt coconut oil in a large, then remove from heat.  Stir in mashed dates, peanut butter and honey until thick and gooey.  Combine wet mixture with dry well. 
3. Pat down into a dish and cool for a few hours in the fridge to allow the oats to soak up moisture.  When it is firm cut into bars or squares and store in airtight container in the freezer. Makes 12 average size granola bars.

Enjoy!

*Note:  I have used both maple syrup and honey.  I liked them both, but found the honey gave it a chewier texture.   You could also try agave or brown rice syrup. 



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vanilla-almond granola bar
For the Vanilla Almond Granola Bar the only changes from the above ingredients were almond butter, 1 tsp vanilla instead of ½ tsp and ¼ cup chopped whole almonds.  I also added the chocolate to the warm wet ingredients so it melted. 

Other add-ins you could include are:  sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, cranberries, dried bananas, mango, cherries, wheat germ, pecans, walnuts etc….



For nutrition information on the following ingredients from these granola bars click on the link for each and scroll to the end of the post: dates, oats, chia seeds, flax seeds, coconut, cinnamon and honey.



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Food for Thought:

Our grocery stores are filled with thousands of processed foods...food-like substances, NOT real food.

17, 000 new products show up each year.

The average person consumes nearly 150 lbs of food additives per year (130 lbs is sugar!).

These are some very good reasons to make your own snacks.  You will love the healthy simplicity and lovable taste of chewy homemade granola bars.  It’s a great way to pack in nourishment when you are on- the- go and need it the most.


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<![CDATA[Are you packing enough plant protein?]]>Sat, 15 Jan 2011 00:15:39 GMThttp://www.allwaysnutritious.com/christyns-blog/where-do-you-get-your-proteinPicture
Pack In the Plant    Protein

This is an article I wrote for the Winter 2010/11 Health Action Magazine and I wanted to share it with you all.  Check out HANS for excellent health information and education.

“Many people are unnecessarily concerned about getting enough protein when excess protein is a bigger and more valid concern.”

Since the early 1900s, meat eating has been equated with masculinity and  power. At  that time, if  you were civilized, rich, strong and a “real man,” you ate plenty of protein (meaning meat). The poor, meanwhile, consumed plant foods such as potatoes and beans.

This cultural bias has  survived to our  modern  day—with increased consumption of animal protein for societal rather than nutritional reasons. However, research shows that although protein is an important nutrient, we don’t require as much as we think we do. Nor need “protein” be synonymous with meat.

Protein power

The word “protein” comes from the Greek proteios, which means “of prime importance.” One of the functions protein has been praised for is its role in supplying the building blocks (amino acids) needed to strengthen and rebuild muscles. Protein helps build, repair and maintain all cells and tissues in the body. It assists in the manufacturing of hormones, enzymes and antibodies and provides us with energy. Our proteins must be replaced on a regular basis as they wear out.

How much is too much?

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women. These amounts are  equal to  about nine to  10 percent of  our total caloric intake. Many people consume well over these guidelines, which  may be highly overestimated to begin with. Overconsumption of protein is likely considering our Western diet is high in meat and dairy products. Dr. T. Colin Campbell showed in his book, The China Study (BenBella Books, 2004), that our consumption of protein averages 15 to 16 percent and that, “Increasing dietary protein within the range of about 10 to 20
percent is associated with a broad array of health problems especially when most of the protein is from animal sources.”

How much is enough?

Requirements vary since we are indi- viduals with unique bodies, lifestyles and needs. In general, five to six percent (25–36 grams) of dietary protein is needed to replace the protein regularly excreted by the body, relative to total caloric intake, according to Campbell’s study. However, do not take this number too literally. Instead use it as a guide to suit one’s individual needs.

Many people are unnecessarily concerned about getting enough protein when excess protein is a bigger and more valid concern.  Numerous studies report  that the overconsumption of animal products is related to many lifestyle diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke, and cancer.

Michael Pollan, author of FoodRules: An Eater’s Manual (Penguin, 2009), sug- gests an excellent food rule in relation to meat: treat it as a flavouring or special oc- casion food. In other words, trade conven- tional portion sizes for meat as a side dish and use vegetables as your main. A three- to- four ounce piece of meat, about the size of a deck of playing cards, is an adequate amount to consume. Wild meat and animal products from family farms that are kind to their animals and follow organic practices are good choices. It is important to educate yourself on where your meat and dairy is coming from.

Beyond meat

Meat is the most well-known source of  protein, but it’s  far from being the only source. The third most popular pro- tein food, after meat and dairy, are beans. Beans offer a great source of protein and these include adzuki, black, fava, kidneyand soy beans, to name a few. Other legumes such as lentils and peas also supply protein.

Kaayla Daniel, PhD, CCN, author of The Whole Soy Story (NewTrends Pub- lishing,  2005), states  that Asians con- sume soy products in small amounts only. Most soy products in the West today are genetically  modified, highly  processed and linked to health problems, including digestive problems, cognitive decline, hormone disruption and reproductive dis- orders. Consuming organic, fermented soy foods in moderation is best.

Other lesser known but excellent sources of protein are dark, leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, collard greens, chard and lettuce. Spinach has 49 percent and lettuce 34 percent of its cal- ories from protein. Seaweeds like dulse, kombu, wakame as well as nuts and seeds all supply protein, as do sunflower, ses- ame, flax, chia and hemp seeds. Pseudo grains (quinoa, wild rice, buckwheat, amaranth), which are actually seeds, are excellent protein sources.

Last, but not least, sprouts such as alfalfa, broccoli and onion contain all the essential amino acids (building blocks of protein), are nutritionally dense and, because of their abundant enzymes, provide easily accessible protein for the body.

Instead of fuelling the stereotype that meat eating is necessary for protein and power, fuel your body with moderate amounts of good quality meat and dairy and explore the many plant-based protein sources  available. Putting  more  plant- based foods at the centre of our meals is a step towards healthier people and a healthier planet.

Christyn Ratuski, BN, RN, RHN, is a  registered
holistic nutritionist in  Vancouver, BC, with six
years of  medical experience.




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