Sunday, October 12, 2008

Animal Protein Versus Vegetable Protein


In general, animal proteins (meat, fish, poultry, milk, cheese, and eggs) are considered good sources of complete proteins. Complete proteins contain ample amounts of all essential amino acids.On the other hand, vegetable proteins (grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and other vegetables) are incomplete proteins because they are missing, or do not have enough of, one or more of the essential amino acids.
By combining foods from two or more of the following categories, you create a self-made complete protein. The foods in one category may be missing amino acids that are present in the foods listed in another category. When eaten in combination at the same meal (or separately throughout the day), your body receives all nine essential amino acids. Complementary proteins are two incomplete proteins in a food that compensate for one another's shortfalls when combined.

Sources of Complementary Proteins:
Grains: Rice, Pasta, Rye, Wheat, Barley, Bulgur, Oats, Buckwheat
Legumes: Beans, Lentils, Dried peas, Peanuts, Chickpeas, Soy products
Nuts/Seeds: Sesame seeds, Sunflower seeds, Walnuts, Cashews, Other nuts

Combinations to Create Complete Proteins:
*Tofu, seitan, or tempeh with pasta or rice
*Peanut butter on whole-wheat bread
*Rice and beans
*Bean soup and a roll
*Humus (chickpeas and sesame paste)
*Trail mix (peanuts and sunflower seeds)
*Salad with chickpeas and cornbread

Also, by adding small amounts of animal protein (eggs, milk, or cheese) to any of the groups, you create a complete protein.

See-- it's easier than you think to get your protein!

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