Health E Guide Nutrition, Cambridge Ontario

Ruth Thompson, Registered Nutritionist: RHN, RNCP, ROHP, MSW

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Do We Really Need Meat to Get Enough Protein?

 Posted by: Ruth Thompson RHN, RNCP, ROHP, MSW at 14:12, January 21 2013

The short answer is “No.”  The long answer is that the alternative, vegetable proteins have significant nutritional and monetary benefits.  In my nutrition practice I recommend vegetarian protein meals 3 or 4 times per week for the following reasons:  

    Saves money: Meat, poultry and fish are the most expensive sources of protein

    Gives digestive system a break:  Animal proteins are more difficult to digest than   vegetable proteins

    Provides more fibre – a critical health benefit

Important side benefits:

    With savings from not having animal protein, you can purchase organic produce, which tends to be more expensive than conventionally grown produce.

    Organic produce limits exposure to pesticide residues, known carcinogens which increase cancer risk.

Still, you may not be convinced that you will get enough protein from a mostly vegetarian meal. So I set out to prove that you can.  Yesterday I enjoyed a meal that included organic Swiss Chard (from Kiya’s Organix), plus tomatoes and peppers from my own modest organic garden.  It tasted great and even I was surprised by the nutritional benefits.


Recipe for My Vegetarian Meal:

Raw ingredients: 4 cups Swiss Chard;   half organic orange pepper, 15 organic cherry tomatoes, half red onion, minced garlic clove; 1 Tbsp raw sunflower seeds; 1/3 cup organic quinoa; Optional: feta cheese (goat).  Stir fry everything in water except sunflower seeds and Swiss Chard. Add these for the last two minutes. Cook quinoa separately as directed.   

Mix everything together and, for a little zip, sprinkle with 1 Tbsp feta cheese.

This dish didn’t take me long to prepare (17 minutes), it was filling and tasted great. My nutrition analysis software revealed that protein was in good supply (19 g).  Plus, it was high in fibre (12 g), low in saturated fat (3 g), high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and iron; had good levels of B vitamins and important minerals: potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese and zinc.

This mostly vegetarian meal is truly a nutrition power house, and is NOT lacking in protein.

Q:  Does anyone know which foods in this meal provide the protein?  Do you know which food is the highest source of protein?

 




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