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Meat Alternative to Your Diet

Posted by Deborah Orlick Levy, MS, RDN on

Lately, there has been a lot of media coverage on the possible shortage of meats in the coming weeks. People are scrambling to stock up and make sure they have enough meat to feed their families. My suggestion to clients is to think about plant proteins as a healthy alternative. Consumption of plant proteins has been shown to increase longevity, decrease body weight and reduce the risk of heart disease or diabetes.

What is Protein?

Let’s talk about protein. Why does the body need it? It needs the amino acids, or building blocks, to nourish and repair body cells. However, not all protein is created equal. Some foods have the 9 essential amino acids the body cannot make (our bodies can produce the other 11). Animal proteins, which have all of these nine essential amino acids, are, therefore, considered ‘complete proteins.’ On the other hand, plant proteins may or may not be considered ‘complete proteins.’ You have to be a savvy consumer and know which plant proteins have all nine essential amino acids, thereby packing a whopping nutritional punch.

Plant Proteins

So, which plant proteins rise above and beyond the others as a ‘complete protein’? There really are only a handful. They are lupin, quinoa, pea protein, buckwheat, chia seed , hemp seed, blue-green algae and soybeans. It’s also super easy to incorporate them into your family’s meals. They can be used as main dishes, side dishes, or as a power packed add-on to recipes. For example:

Main dish - tofu, tempeh, ground lupin beans*

Side dish - ground lupin beans*, quinoa, buckwheat noodles

Power packed add-on - chia seeds, pea protein, hemp seeds

*Ground lupin beans have risen to the top of the list of complete plant proteins, in my opinion, since they pack the highest protein punch of all the rest, with 48g protein/cup. None of the others even come close to this. It also has a mild, sweet flavor that embraces the flavors of anything it’s cooked with.

Ground lupin beans are a true winner in my book of recipes hands down! Want to make a change to a healthier alternative to meat? Shop Carrington Farms today!