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June 17, 2018: Vegetarian for a Day

My weekly Get Your Stuff Together Sunday email series gives you one actionable focus for the week that will make your life a little easier.

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Here’s a myth for you: When you’re focused on building muscle and getting fit, you can’t possibly get enough protein on a vegetarian diet. Guess what? There’s protein in a lot of surprising food sources, and it’s not has hard as it’s made out to be. This week, we’re talking ways to test drive the vegetarian diet - for a day or more.

A little background

As with most lifestyles, vegetarians who consume well-balanced meals reap the most benefits. But also with most diets, if you’re not compensating for the nutrients you’re missing with meat you’re risking being low on protein, Vitamin D, calcium and B12. The biggest mistake new and casual vegetarians make is increasing their carb and sugar intakes. If you’re giving up meat, you need to replacing it properly to maximize the health benefits - even if you’re a casual, sometimes vegetarian. But don’t worry, it’s not hard!

Where’s the beef?

Here are some of the best meat replacements to make sure you’re optimizing your day as a vegetarian.

  • Seitan – One cup is worth 72g of protein! It’s made using the protein from wheat, so while it’s not gluten-free friendly it is a protein powerhouse. It’s simple to use and can work in a variety of dishes from tacos to fried rice.
  • Hemp Seeds – A cup of hemp seeds doesn’t just contain 49g of protein; it contains all 9 essential amino acids and has 6 times more Omega-3 than tuna. Hemp seeds are easy to add to smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, or over avocado toast.
  • Tempeh – Like tofu, tempeh is a soy-based product, but fermented. One cup of tempeh has 31g of protein and more fiber than tofu. Like setain, it’s a versatile meat replacement in anything from “beef” and broccoli to BBQ.
  • Buckwheat – No, not the kid from Little Rascals. Buckwheat is a fruit seed ground into a flour and can be utilized as a rice or pasta replacement and in bread or any baked goods. A cup of buckwheat has more protein than a 4 oz steak with 23g of protein. It’s a great addition if you’re gluten-free also.
  • Nuts and Nut Butters – With 21g and 65g of protein per one cup, respectively, nuts and nut butter are good fat, vitamin and mineral, and protein staples for a vegetarian diet. Nuts are a must-have snack and can be added to salads for a crunchy nutrient boost. Nut butters are perfect to add to smoothies, oatmeal, toast, or to use as a delicious dipping sauce. Make sure you stick with nut butters that are created with just nuts and no added sugar or oils.
  • Beans – Beans, beans they’re good for your heart, the more you eat...well, they’re full of fiber so you know the rest. But a cup of beans has 16g of protein, and with so many options, you can add them to virtually any meal.

Vegetarians with a well-balanced diet take in more fiber, folic acid, vitamins C and E, magnesium, unsaturated fats and countless phytochemicals, which leads to lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower risk of heart disease. Even going veg one day per week will benefit you.

Next Sunday, we’ll talk about how your imagination can help you with your health.

Do you have a friend who could stand to G(her)ST? Feel free to forward this!

I hope you have a wonderful week,

Kelly

Kelly Morgan, Ph.D.

Tsirona - www.tsirona.com


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