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Top 10 Plant-Based Proteins To Add To Your Daily Routine

BY MEGHAN TELPNER    JANUARY 10, 2015

We all know protein is important. But even if we’re vaguely aware that we need to watch our protein intake, it’s easy to write it off as something only body builders or people on strict diets need to worry about. For women especially, it’s not uncommon to go without a good source of protein until the evening meal.

Protein is about more than building muscle. Each and every body part requires protein to function, from red and white blood cells to hair and skin (all made of protein.) Eating protein at every meal stabilizes our blood sugar levels, helping with everything from mood to weight management to nervous system health.

So how do we boost our protein intake without resorting to a big hunk o’ steak? It’s easy to get more protein in your diet without sacrificing your favorite meals. Power up your existing favourites with these easy-to-use plant-based sources of protein.

1. Fermented Protein Powder

Health Benefits: While regular vegan protein powders can sometimes be difficult to digest, the fermented variety supports healthy gut bacteria.

How To Use: Blend it in with your morning smoothie.

2. Ground Flaxseeds

Health Benefits: On top of being high in protein, flaxseeds are also a good source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. Their fiber content and mucilaginous nature also make them great for gut health.

How To Use: Sprinkle ground flaxseeds onto oatmeal or cooked veggies for a nutty flavour. You can also add ground flaxseeds to homemade baked goods. Recent studies have found that cooking flaxseeds leaves the omega-3 content intact.

3. Chia Seeds

Health Benefits: Like flaxseeds, chia seeds are high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Because they can absorb so much liquid (becoming a chia “gel”), they can also help prevent dehydration.

How To Use: Chia seeds can be added to smoothies, sprinkled on porridge, used to make puddings, or even as a grain-free “breading” for chicken or fish (if you eat it!).

4. Sunflower Seeds

Health Benefits: High in protein, sunflower seeds are also anti-inflammatory, which can help with symptoms of conditions like asthma and arthritis.

How To Use: Sunflower seeds can be sprinkled on salads and porridge. Ground sunflower seeds can also be used in place of flour to dust meats or added to grain-free baking recipes.

Sesame Seeds – Ten Amazing Health Benefits Of This Super-Seed

5. Nut Butters

Health Benefits: High in healthy fats and protein, nuts are wonderful for balancing your blood sugar levels, and using all-natural nut butters is a great way to get them in your diet.

How To Use: Add a scoop of almond butter to your green smoothies, spread some cashew butter on a homemade gluten-free muffin or replace the maple syrup on your oatmeal with a spoonful of your favourite nut butter variety.

6. Spirulina

Health Benefits: While “green” isn’t normally the color you’d think of when it comes to protein, this algae is actually a 65% highly-digestible protein. It’s also incredibly high in calcium, making it great for bone health.

How To Use: Spirulina makes for awesome addition to a green smoothie. It can be strong-tasting, so start slow!

7. Hemp Seeds

Health Benefits: Hemp seeds are packed with protein. They also contain the ideal balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids.

How To Use: Hemp seeds can be added to smoothies or sprinkled on top of salads. They are soft and don’t need straining, so they’re great for making dairy-free seed milk, too.

8. Alfalfa Sprouts

Health Benefits: Sprouts are rich in immune-boosting vitamin C, and alfalfa sprouts are made up of as much as 35% highly-digestible protein.

How To Use: Sprouts are an awesome salad-topper or great addition to any green smoothie. These are an easy one to grow yourself. Check out this handy sprouting tutorial.

9. Chickpea Flour

Health Benefits: Baked goods aren’t exactly the first thing protein source you’d think of, but swapping your usual flour for a high-protein, gluten-free one is a great way to add a protein boost to your day. Since chickpea flour is made of dried, ground chickpeas, it contains all the health benefits of these nutrient-packed beans, including antioxdiants, digestive support and blood sugar regulation.

How To Use: Chickpea flour works best in gluten-free baking recipes when it makes up no more than 25% of the total flour content, so mix and match it with other flours for best results.

10. Pumpkin Seeds

Health Benefits: Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, which key to nervous system health and is necessary for more than 300 chemical reactions in the human body. They’re also high in, you guessed it, protein!

How To Use: Pumpkin seeds can be added to your morning smoothie (use pumpkin seed butter if you don’t have a high-speed blender), used in baked goods or sprinkled on porridge. Lightly toasted pumpkin seeds also make an awesome salad topper!

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8 Best Superfoods To Boost Your Mood and Energy Levels

BY PAULINE HANUISE    JANUARY 3, 2013 

Discovering superfoods has changed my life and was one of my first steps towards my recovery from eating disorders, and becoming healthier and happier. Now, I have them every day and that’s helping me to stay healthy and have great energy.

But what are superfoods, exactly?

Superfoods are basically foods that are much richer in vitamins, minerals, nutrients, electrolytes and phytonutrients, but also much poorer in calories than any other usual foods. They nourish your body on a very deep level.

Here are my 8 favorite superfoods to boost you mood and energy levels:

1. Maca powder

Maca is a root that comes from Peru. You will mainly find it as powder because it doesn’t grow in all climates So, it is dried and powdered to be exported in the rest of the world.

Maca is amazing for balancing hormones and is beneficial to both women (relief of PMS symptoms and menopause) and men (enhanced fertility). Maca is also a great adaptogen that helps decrease stress levels, enhance strength, stamina and libido as well as providing great energy and endurance. It works with the rhythms and needs of your own body.

Maca is rich is calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, vit B1, B2, C, E and iron. It contains lots of trace minerals like zink and selenium and is great for menstrual imbalances, lack of libido, infertility, menopausal symptoms and stress but also for conditions such as anemia, fatigue, depression, poor memory, tuberculosis and malnutrition.

I usually add maca powder to my breakfast muesli, smoothies, juices, chocolate, desserts, etc.

Try adding maca into your diet and notice the benefits. (You can find more recipes here.)

2. Pure, raw organic cacao

YES, chocolate is a superfood! But I am not talking about the sugary, packaged chocolate bars you find at the supermarket. I’m talking about the real, original, raw, pure cacao. You can use the beans, which are quite bitter or you can find it in powder in any health food store to make amazing desserts like my wonderful Love Chocolate Pie or Sour Cherry Fudge.

Pure, raw, organic cacao is just amazing and to be honest, I am enjoying it every single day in healthy, sugar free desserts or smoothies. Because what’s bad about chocolate? It’s actually sugar, dairy and other additives that have been added to packaged chocolate you buy in supermarkets.

Cacao itself is great for your health and is nature’s number-one weight loss and high energy food, according to David Wolfe, the cacao master (watch his TEDx talk about chocolate here).

Chocolate is rich in antioxidants, magnesium, iron, chromium, manganese, zinc, copper, vit-C, phosphorus and more. It’s also rich in tryptophan, which is a powerful mood-enhancer, crucial in the production of serotonin, which diminishes anxiety and has the same impact as love in our brain. That’s why chocolate is often associated with love and Valentin’s day.

Add more raw, pure and organic cacao into your diet and start feeling amazing effects.

3. Chia seeds

Chia seeds are a complete protein rich in fiber, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and manganese. Just one tablespoon of chia seeds contains 5 grams of fiber. So adding a tablespoon of chia seeds to your breakfast (cereals, smoothies, juices, etc.) is a great way to increase your fiber intake.

But chia seeds are also very rich in vitamin C, Omega 3 and 6 and antioxidants. They absorb lots of water (about 10 times their weight). When you soak chia seeds, they will absorb lots of liquid and create a gelatine-like substance, which will clean your digestive and immune systems by moving all the toxins and impurities to the bowels.

Soaking chia seeds in coconut water or mashed fresh fruit for breakfast is great and chia puddings are also delicious and great for your health.

chia

4. Coconut (water, flesh/meat, oil and butter)

This is one of my favorite foods and drinks ever. The water inside the young coconut is an isotonic drink full of electrolytes and can even be used in blood transfusions. It is rich in potassium, is ideal for proper rehydration and has strong antiviral properties.

It also contains kinetin, which keeps the coconut young despite the fact that it’s under the sun all day long. Kinetin has the exact same effect on our body and keeps you young.

(Amazing isn’t it?)

Coconut meat is high in protein and fiber and is a great saturated fat (essential to our body). It’s been proven that the saturated fat in coconut oil supports the immune system, thyroid gland, nervous system and skin.

Coconut oil and butter are also a very healthy saturated fat and are perfect for cooking as it’s the only oil/butter that stays stable when you heat it (even olive oil is not perfectly stable when you heat it). Thus, using coconut oil for cooking is much safer and healthier than any other oils.

Personally, I only use coconut oil for cooking. I still use olive, hemp and flax oil, which are all amazing oils, but only for dressings. I also use coconut oil on my skin, as moisturiser as coconut oil is actually a top beauty product… and at a very cheap price!

5. Spirulina

Spirulina is a Blue-Green Algae, which thrives in alkaline lakes. It contains over 65% of complete protein (300% more than fish, meat or poultry, with 0 cholesterol). Spirulina is also very rich in chlorophyl, iron (about 58 times more than spinach), antioxydants, beta-carotene and essential fatty acid Omega 3 and 6.

Spirulina really helped me to have more strength and energy to recover from bulimia. It also fixed my anemia and I was able to get rid of my unnatural iron supplements.

Today, I am taking 3 to 6 grams of spirulina every morning. You can choose to use powder – which is the most powerful way as it’s directly absorbable by your body – and add it to your juices and smoothies. If you don’t juice or blend every day, you can use tablets (I personally find that the taste is too strong to mix spirulina powder with water only). You can change your dosage regarding your levels of energy, activity and your diet.

Spirulina is also great for people who have digestive issues as it helps improving the absorption of nutrients by your body.

As you can see, I love spirulina and I really recommend you to give it a try. I am pretty sure you will notice great improvements in your energy in just a few days 😉

6. Goji berries

Goji berries are a berry-fruit found in Asia and America. They are usually dried before being exported elsewhere in the world.

Gojis are probably one of the most nutritious berry-fruit found on the planet. They are a complete source of protein and amino acids, contain lots of trace mineral as well as vit B1, B2, B6, E and C. They are extremely rich in antioxidant, which protects you from the ageing process and free radical. They are also well-known to improve vision, boost libido, sexual function and immune system. Sounds great, right?

You can consume them in many different ways. Add them to your smoothies, breakfast, salads or use them in your trail mix or in your awesome chocolate desserts 😉

7. Hempseeds and oil

Hempseeds and oil are one of the rare complete source of protein (33% to 37% of its weight) and are packed with life-force energy and enzymes. They are rich in Omega-3, 6 and 9 which are all very important for brain functions and considered a quality beautifying oil.

Hempseeds and oil are great to boost your immune system and bring balance in your essential fatty

acids, thus are also decreasing inflammation. They deliver a balanced array of amino acids and are rich in minerals such as phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, sodium, silicon, copper and many others.

Use the oil in in your dressings and sprinkle the seeds on your cereals, fruits, smoothies or salads, they are delicious!

8. Flaxseeds and oil

Flaxseeds (or linseeds) and their oil are one of the richest source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for our health as our body doesn’t produce them on its own. The problem in our societies is that the big majority of people consume too much Omega-6 fatty acids and not enough Omega-3. However, the balance between both is absolutely vital to be healthy. Flax seeds and oil is one of the rare food that contains Omega-6 and 3 (EFAs – essential fatty acids) in perfect balance for the human body.

EFTAs are vital for brain function, energy production, oxygen transfer and strengthen immunity. Omega-3 fatty acids help to fight and prevent inflammation and many degenerative conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, etc .

They are many other superfoods great to try and add to your diet such as acai, bee products (bee pollen, royal jelly, honey and propolis), marine phytoplankton, aloe vera, wheatgrass or any seaweed, but here are the ones I am using the most to boost my mood and energy levels!


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14 Great Sources Of Clean Protein

BY NADYA ANDREEVA     DECEMBER 21, 2013 

Clean protein is harder to come by than you might think. Pesticides, heavy metals, and antibiotics are abundant in almost all factory-produced nonorganic meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs. Fast food joints pump almost all of their items with food flavorings and chemicals to increase shelf life. To avoid all the negative health effects, go for the following foods whenever possible. Make friends with farmers at the closest farmers’ market, read food labels at the stores, and ask questions at the restaurants. You deserve to know where your food is coming from.

Almonds

Almonds are strongly anti-inflammatory, and are a good source for healthy fats, fiber, and protein. To make almonds easier to digest, soak them overnight and peel the skins. Nuts aren’t a complete protein since they don’t have a full range of amino acids, but they serve as a great addition to a healthy diet.

Spirulina

Spirulina is one of the great superfoods. It’s approximately 65 to 71 percent complete protein in its natural state, higher than virtually any other unprocessed food. And unlike most other forms of protein, the protein in spirulina is 85-95% digestible. Since spirulina has no cellulose in its cell walls, it’s extremely easy for the body to break it down. While spirulina is great, make sure it’s collected from a clean body of water, not public lakes that allow boats. It also can’t serve as a main source of protein since it would be hard to take it sufficient qualities to make up for body’s demand for protein.

Wild Fish

While most nutritionists would say that fish is healthy, not all fish is equal. The origin matters a lot. Farmed fish is the same as a caged chicken. They aren’t fed a natural diet, are often sick, don’t have as many desirable omega-3s, ant might be full of antibiotics and dioxin. Wild is the way to go if you consume fish on a regular basis.

Quinoa

Quinoa is a “complete protein” pseudo-grain. It tastes great and is easy to cook, even for kitchen newbies. Buckwheat is another grain (seed) that is a complete protein and can be substituted for quinoa.

Cage-free eggs

Eggs are a rich source of thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folic acids, vitamin B12, biotin, vitamin D, vitamin E, and phosphorus. Eggs can be a great easy-to-digest food if chickens had a healthy diet, were cage free, and got to run around outside. Whole eggs are also much more nutrient dense than egg whites, since egg yolks contain most of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. Buy whole organic eggs, not mechanically separated, chemically altered egg whites.

Hemp Seeds

Sixty-five percent of the total protein content of hemp seed comes from the globular protein edestin, which is easily digested, absorbed, and utilized by the human body. It’s also hypoallergenic. Hemp contains about 30% protein.

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Chia Seeds

This miracle food offers complete protein that’s mildly anti-inflammatory, easy to digest, and easy to cook with. Chia seeds are a good source of calcium and phosphorus, and a very good source of dietary fiber and manganese. Chia seed pudding can be a great easy-to-make breakfast option or a healthy fiber- and protein-rich snack.

Whey Powder

Whey protein is the second most abundant protein derived from milk (casein is the most abundant milk protein). It’s found mainly in meal-replacement powders, protein powders, and ready-to-consume drinks. Whey contains all of the essential amino acids and is particularly high in the branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) and glutamine (an immune-boosting amino acid). Make sure it’s grass-fed, organic, and hormone free.

Lentils

While they’re not a complete protein, lentils are a great source of amino acids, healthy carbs, and filling fiber. When combined with grains, they form a complete protein. They will keep hunger at bay and are easier to digest than larger beans.

Organic Chicken

Chicken contains all of the essential amino acids, but make sure to choose chickens that were raise in humane conditions, fed a variable nutrient-dense diet, and got to see sunshine, not just a sad cage. It makes a difference in taste and its effects on the body.

Cottage Cheese and Greek Yogurt

If you aren’t sensitive to dairy, plain cottage cheese and Greek yogurt can be a good addition to a balanced diet. Both are pretty low in sugar, have a good amount of protein, and healthy fats. Choose organic to avoid hormones, chemicals, and hidden antibiotics. If you have any symptoms of dairy intolerance, it’s best to do an elimination diet or get blood work done at a qualified center.

Tempeh

Tempeh is made out of fermented soy and can be a great source of clean protein for vegans if they don’t have soy sensitivity. Make sure it is organic and not genetically modified. It’s been shown that soy protein is comparable in digestibility to other high-quality protein sources such as meat, milk, fish, and egg. Avoid processed “fake” soy meats, and don’t rely on soy alone for your protein.

Grass-fed Beef

Beef is loaded with zinc, iron and all the amino acids as well. If you consume meat, make it grass fed, not grain fed. It’s cleaner, more flavorful, safer, and with more nutrients.

Pea and Rice Protein Powder

The combination of rice and pea protein actually provides one of the best-tasting protein concentrates available. The end product is 80-90% pure, hypoallergenic, easily digested protein.