Meatless Mondays: Combining Foods for Optimum Plant Proteins
As I looked over various charts, intent upon studying how certain combined foods will form proteins, I recalled a statement from an earlier post and felt I must share this with you as well. I feel I would be remiss to continue to call plant proteins as 'complete proteins'. I was reminded of this in reading another blog's comments on a post that stated peanut butter nor beans and rice were 'complete' proteins and again this morning as I was studying this matter. Protein provides amino acids. Amino acids MUST have protein in order to form. Plant proteins provide some of the amino acids required by our body but not all. Keep this in mind if you want to explore eating more plant based protein meals.
Now that said I thought this particular site was the most helpful, mainly because it provided the information in distinct categories. This site suggested you should start with a BASE for building protein. Base foods are:
Category 1: Breads, Cereals, and Grains
You should choose whole grain products. Rye, wheat, oat, rice, spelt, quinoa, Long Grain Brown Rice, Whole wheat products and Whole grain cereals. These include; breakfast cereal, pasta, noodles, flour products, etc.
Any item from Category 1 should be combined with any item from any of the next three food groups below. Often recipes combine several from each category but it's helpful to know that the base will work with just one other food, isn't it?
Category 2: Legumes
Dried peas, beans and lentils: Black, kidney, pinto, navy, black eyed peas, runner beans, chick peas, sweet green peas (canned or fresh), bean sprouts.
Category 3: Vegetables
Leafy Green and Cruciferous Vegetables: This would include lettuces, kales, spinach, turnip and collard greens, Swiss chard and I should think Beet greens as well. I think if this read dark leafy greens it would be a better indicator. Cruciferous vegetables are cabbages, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Bok Choy, turnip root, horseradish and rutabaga, watercress. Any of the foods from the Brassica genus are cruciferous.
Please note here that many other vegetables have a protein count but they do not combine with whole grains to form a more complete protein. However, do feel free to add any other vegetables you so desire to add flavor and increase overall nutrients. You can find a complete listing of overall protein count for vegetables here, but again, while this will add to the nutrient value the remaining vegetables do not bond with the whole grain to form a complete protein.
Category 4: Nuts and Seeds
Nuts: Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews, Pecans, Pine, Hazel, Hickory, Brazil, and Pistachio
Seeds: Sesame, Pumpkin, Peanuts, Sunflower, Hemp, Chia, Poppy and Flax
This category would also contain the nut and seed butters (like tahini).
You can look up any of these categories for yourself on line and find a much longer listing of possible additions, but I think I covered the most common and the most protein heavy.
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