Thursday, January 7, 2016

Simple Living : Much Ado about Protein!

“For man is a giddy thing, and this is my conclusion.” 

                      ― William ShakespeareMuch Ado About Nothing
I went to a personal trainer for exactly 5 weeks in 2014 and her mantra to me was - eat more protein, preferably lean meats ( I tried to up my protein to about 100 grams/day for the first week and felt bleh!) went back and did my research on protein. What I learnt was simple and I have implemented a fool proof way of getting a healthy balanced diet without the bleh! feeling. Want to know more on.
The standard recommendations for protein intake from

Another way to look at this an adult man or woman needs 0.5-0.7 grams of protein per pound of their  body weight (for me that's between 55-60 grams per day). A serving is 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, ¼ cup cooked beans, 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, or ½ ounce of nuts or seeds (including chia seeds).

I keep it very simple - the reality is I don't eat a lot of meat. My standard lunch at work is a Quinoa Bowl  from the cafe (yes!every single day). This bowl has 350 calories, 16 grams of Protein, 56 grams of Carbs,  3 grams of Fat, 3 grams of Sugar and 15 grams of Fiber. Here are some of my easy fixes to adding protein to your diet, they are easy on the diet and easy on the pocket.

  1. Beans & Nuts : I eat beans  ( Black, Red, Moong, Garbanzo) at least 4-6 times a week You can add cooked beans to salads, make meatless Chili (or Chili with ground turkey, chicken or pea protein), curries. I buy my beans in the bulk section of Whole Foods and usually pay between $1-$2 for a pound organic beans. I also keep canned organic kidney beans, black beans and garbanzo beans from Whole Foods in my pantry ( $1.29/can, zero preservatives). 
  2. Quinoa : We eat this grain almost every day - we have substituted rice 100% with Quinoa. I keep both golden quinoa and red quinoa at home - and cook it in a rice cooker as I would cook rice ( 1 cup of Quinoa to 2 cups of water). Cooked Quinoa can be used in salads, hot porridges, I use it in lieu of rice with my curries ( it takes a little getting used to but I have been doing this for 5-6 years now). I buy my Golden Quinoa from Costco ( TruRoots Organic Quinoa - $11.99 for 4 pounds, $3 per pound). 
  3. Eggs : this wonderful superfood  got a bad rap in the past years but is coming back into the good books with nutritionists - I love eggs - my favorite way to eat my eggs are in an Anda Bhurji  (indian styled scrambled eggs) with a slice of multigrain toast. Other ways to eat eggs are - boiled, fried, egg muffins and Egg curry. I buy my eggs from two sources : Farmer's Market ( Organic Large Chicken eggs - $0.50/egg, Duck Eggs - $1.00/egg, Goose Egg - $5.00/egg or Quail Eggs - $1.25/10 (pack) ) or at Costco  - Organic, Cage-Free, Humane Raised - $6.29/24 eggs)
  4. Chia Seeds : High in protein ,Omega 3  and fiber. I added this to our diet about 2013 ( before it became a fad). You wonder how we use it - add it to our morning oatmeal or yogurt, add it to water (or watered down lemonade, kombucha, kevita), add it to my waffles ( 2 tbspoon per person), cake batter, salads, smoothies...I even add it to this pudding I make (it's a lot like a chia pod -- yes! the expensive one you get at Whole Foods...only tastes a hundred times better). I buy my Chia Seeds at Costco ( Nutiva, Organic, $5.99/2 pounds)
  5. Orgain Protein Powder - once or twice a week I supplement with organic protein powder. I used to buy the Garden of Life - Protein Powder but switched over to Orgain last month. Easiest way is to add it to a smoothie. I buy Orgain at Costco ($29.99/ 40 oz Container)

My husband also supplements with protein bars ( he is partial to the Think Thin Bars) - I am not too sold on Protein Bars.  Traditional South Asians (especially Indian)  diets have a lot more carbs and very little protein - goal is  not to over-correct but try and mindfully add more protein to our diets.
Protein aids our immune system, regulates the body pH, plays a vital role in nutrient transportation, builds muscles and hormone regulation. Sold yet?

Let me know your easy hacks for adding more protein into your diet?

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