Tuesday already? Today in our nutrition series we have blog post from Deb Gleason. Deb is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and vegan triathlete as well as co-founder of Wellness Warrior Coaching, a whole foods nutrition and multisport performance coaching company. Deb works with people to help them transition to a whole foods, plant-based diet to help them achieve their health, fitness, and performance goals.
In my last blog I took a look at the myth that eating animal protein is essential if we are going to get what we need to restore our muscle tissue after training and racing. What it all boiled down to was that the amino acids that create the protein in meat, dairy and eggs come from plants and eating the plants directly not only gives us everything we need, it also cuts out the digestion bogging practice of breaking down animal protein so we can absorb the original plant amino acids.
So how do we replace the meat?
If just reading the word tofu makes you run screaming you need to come to my house for dinner sometime. For some reason most people have one horrible tofu experience which usually involves soft tofu being used in a dish where firm tofu would have been a better choice. I have heard many horror stories about slippery, slimy, mushy blobs. So how do you avoid this less than palatable outcome? Check out this baked tofu recipe on my blog, it is a winner with everyone that tries it. The texture is firm and the flavour is garlicky and familiar. Unless you are making a dessert, smoothie or sauce choose firm tofu. Crumbled firm tofu can be used to make scrambled tofu for breakfast, or to replace meat in spaghetti sauce, lasagna or chili.
Tempeh is made by fermenting soybeans and has about twice the protein of tofu making it an excellent choice for athletes. Tempeh is much firmer than tofu and has a “meaty” texture. It comes in blocks and can be cut into strips, marinated and pan fried, or slathered with BBQ sauce and thrown on the grill. It can also be crumbled and added to the spaghetti sauce, lasagna or chili. A friend of mine created a wonderful salad with crumbled tempeh, check it out here.
Quinoa is a seed that is not only very high in protein, it is a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids. Throw a half a cup of uncooked quinoa into your soup or stew this fall and the protein levels will soar.
BEANS and LENTILS
Known for their high levels of protein beans and lentils are extremely affordable versatile and offer many health benefits beyond concentrated protein. Soups, stews, chili, burritos are all great places to add these nourishing legumes. Experiment with the hundreds of varieties available including some of the more interesting ones like black beluga lentils. For a quick and simple meal check out my recipe for Easy Rice and Lentils with Squash.
Remember all plants have protein and getting everything you need to heal and repair after heavy training sessions, and racing is very easy to do with a balanced plant-based diet.