By William Kitner
(KTRN Exclusives) A common misconception among meat eaters is that vegetarians don’t get enough protein in their diet. If you watch the film Forks Over Knives, the experts interviewed will argue that many meat eaters are actually getting too much protein. In fact, protein is plentiful in the plant kingdom. So, if you choose not to eat meat, what are the best sources of protein? Note: not everything on this list is vegan.
Eggs are a great source of protein, mainly because it’s complete, meaning all of the essential amino acids are present. One egg has about six grams of quality protein. Some will argue that there is too much fat and cholesterol, but according to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, there is no significant link between egg consumption and heart disease. In fact, according to one study, regular consumption of eggs may help prevent blood clots, stroke, and heart attacks. Plus, they contain the right kind of fat. One egg contains 5 grams of fat and only 1.5 grams of that is saturated. Eggs are also one of the only foods that contain natural vitamin D, but remember to eat the yolk, it’s in the egg for a reason. Nature would not have put it there otherwise. If you’re really concerned over the fat of the egg, make scrambled eggs using one full egg and 3 or 4 egg whites, that way you still get some of the health benefits of the yolk like B-12. Remember though, your eggs should either be organic or from free range chickens. In a perfect world, you would get them directly from the farm where you have met the farmers and their chickens. Factory farmed hens are tortured every day. Not to sound like an activist, but do some research of factory farming eggs and then decide if you really want to eat them.
Whey is another great source of protein. According to Dr. Axe, it’s a great protein for building muscle and strength. “It provides a more absorbable source of protein than any other source and is super-easy to digest.” Just one scoop of whey protein will give you around twenty to twenty-five grams of solid protein. Be sure to choose whey isolate over concentrate; it’s higher than concentrates in protein content which makes them lower in carbs, fat and lactose. It’s also really important that you not get your whey from companies that use artificial colors, sweeteners, or processed sugars. Try an unflavored whey and add fruits, organic cocoa powder, and stevia. Also try to make sure the whey comes from cows not treated with antibiotics or growth hormone.
Tofu has gotten some bad rap over the years due to the GMO soy industry. But if you’re eating organic, non GMO tofu, it’s quite a good source of protein. Like eggs, tofu is also a complete protein and is an excellent source of calcium and a very good source of iron. In addition, tofu is a good source of selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, copper, and magnesium. As with all foods, make sure you are buying the highest quality tofu, it must be organic and non GMO. Many health experts also argue that fermented soy like tempeh is considered to be even better and some say it’s the only form of soy you should eat. While there is much debate over soy and its health benefits, eating tofu a few days a week is a great way to get some protein without eating meat. It’s vegan too.
Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain; an average of 16.2 percent, compared with 7.5 percent for rice. Some varieties of quinoa are more than 20 percent protein. Quinoa’s protein is of an unusually high quality. It is a complete protein, with an essential amino acid balance. Quinoa is also considered a good source of bacteria for the gut, the intestines and the colon. It is also on the low end of the glycemic index. This makes it a great choice for those with blood sugar issues . You’ll also get your daily doses of vitamin B6, thiamin, niacin, potassium, and riboflavin. Furthermore, quinoa is a great source of copper, zinc, magnesium, and folate. Instead of rice, eat quinoa instead. It’s a “supergrain.”
Black beans (and beans in general) pack on some good protein. Add them with rice and you will get a complete protein. They also have some carbs, so if you’re watching that you should be mindful of their carb content. Keep in mind that carbs are needed in your diet – if you are eating no carbs whatsoever, you are really missing the boat.
Other good sources: almonds, pea protein, hemp protein, spinach, spirulina, Quorn, seitan, tempeh
March 22, 2012
Los Angeles Times
By Tiffany Hsu
“The rise of vegetarianism is a clear sign that more and more people are thinking about their health. Most of the meatless products out there aren’t very good, but the good news is that people are becoming more aware about the importance of what they eat.” –KTRN
Life may be getting easier for vegans and vegetarians – especially the ones who still crave meat – with more food choices available from manufacturers and restaurants.
Activists participating in a nationwide effort Tuesday to convince consumers of the wonders of a vegan diet will be passing out free samples. The Great American Meatout hopes to serve 30,000 people and hundreds of events around the country, including several across the Southland.
In December, a poll from the Vegetarian Resource Group conducted by Harris Interactive found that 16% of Americans say they don’t eat meat, fish, seafood or poultry at more than half of their meals. Of the 5% of who said they follow the vegetarian lifestyle all the time, roughly half are also vegan and cut out dairy and eggs.
In 2003, a similar poll found that 2.8% of the country’s consumers considered themselves vegetarian.
The slow growth has pushed the market for faux beef, pork and poultry — which includes brands and products such as Quorn, Boca and tempeh — into an upswing.
While sales of soy foods such as tofu and soymilk are down 2.1% year over year to $4.5 billion in 2009, revenue from meat alternatives increased 2.4% to $636 million, according to the most recent data from the Soyfoods Assn. of North America.
Non-meat options are increasingly popular at chain restaurants. Burger King has a veggie burger; Johnny Rockets has a vegan one. So do Denny’s, Baker’s, Fatburger and a slew of other major companies.
October 20th, 2010
Time – Healthland
By: Alice Park
Soy may be good for the heart, but if you’re trying to keep the ticker healthy and happen to be a breast cancer patient as well, then it’s not so clear how beneficial soy products may be for you.
The studies so far haven’t helped. Soy contains isoflavones that are similar to estrogen in chemical structure, and when these isoflavones bind to estrogen receptors on cells, they can either stimulate or inhibit estrogen-driven functions in tissues. That explains why some studies have shown that eating soy can reduce the risk of recurring breast tumors, while others have shown that soy foods can increase the chances that a cancer will return.
Now researchers from China report that soy lowers the risk of recurring breast cancers among women with estrogen-positive tumors, just the cancers that might be more sensitive to soy’s tumor-promoting effects. Comparing the volunteers who ate the least amount of these foods including tofu, to those eating the most (eight times the daily dose), the researchers found that the high consumers lowered their risk of having a recurrent breast tumor by 33%.
“This study helps us to move one step forward from where we are now,” says Dr. Banu Arun, co-director of clinical cancer genetics at MD Anderson Cancer Center, in commenting on the results. “It shows potential beneficial effects, so it helps us to move forward with other studies that need to be done that might include more patients and will give us additional information about why soy is beneficial, and why higher doses might be more effective.”
The heaviest soy consumers in the trial ingested about 59 mg of isoflavones a day, while the lowest consumers still got about 6.5 mg a day. The average American only eats about 1 mg to 3 mg daily. That’s an important consideration for U.S. women at risk of breast cancer who are thinking of increasing their soy milk or tofu consumption, says Arun. “The effect of taking soy might be different in the western patient population where they aren’t eating as much soy. This [Chinese] patient population was primed with soy and its good effects, so there may be a favorable milieu in the tissue so after breast cancer they continue to see its benefits. But perhaps in breast tissue or other organs that haven’t been exposed to soy before, all of sudden starting to increase soy consumption might have other effects; we don’t know.”
The findings hint that there may be some ways in which the isoflavones are beneficial, particularly since the subjects in the trial were all taking hormone-based drugs to treat their cancer. Some experts have speculated that soy may enhance the activity of these medications in inhibiting tumor growth, and if that’s the case, then further studies like this one might expose which doses and which regimens of soy are most effective in fighting cancer.
In the meantime, is it safe for women worried about breast cancer to eat tofu and other soy foods? Yes, says Arun. “I wouldn’t say don’t eat soy. Moderate consumption should be fine. I just wouldn’t convert to a soy rich diet yet to reduce breast cancer recurrence since we don’t have the data yet for a western population.”
March 15, 2010
The Washington Post
By Lyndsey Layton
The company at the heart of a growing recall of processed foods knew that its plant was contaminated with salmonella but continued to make a flavoring and sell it to foodmakers around the country, according to inspectors at the Food and Drug Administration.
Managers at Basic Food Flavors of Las Vegas learned on Jan. 21 that samples taken a week earlier from their Nevada facility tested positive for salmonella, a potentially deadly bacterium, but they kept shipping their product to foodmakers, according to FDA inspection records.
The company makes hydrolyzed vegetable protein, or HVP, a flavor enhancer used in a wide variety of processed foods, from potato chips to sweet and sour tofu. The additive, which comes as a powder or a paste, is mixed into foods to give them a meaty or savory flavor — similar to the use of monosodium glutamate.
Basic Food Flavors tested surfaces near food-processing equipment throughout its plant twice in January and once in February, and each time the samples showed salmonella contamination, according to FDA records. The company continued to ship products and to make more HVP without cleaning the plant or the equipment in a way that would have minimized contamination, the records said.
“The FDA is reviewing the evidence in association with the current inspection of Basic Food Flavors to determine the appropriate regulatory response,” FDA spokeswoman Meghan Scott said.
It is illegal to knowingly sell food products that are contaminated with salmonella.
Officials at Basic Food Flavors did not return calls seeking comment.
No one is thought to have fallen ill from contaminated HVP, and the health risk is considered to be low because most products containing HVP are cooked during processing or carry cooking instructions for consumers, so any salmonella probably would be destroyed before the food was eaten. Ready-to-eat products, such as chips and other snack foods, would carry greater risks.
“It highlights why we need strong rules that would prevent contamination in the first place, so the FDA isn’t swooping in like the cops after the fact,” said Erik Olson, director of chemical and food safety programs at Pew Charitable Trusts.
Legislation that would require companies to take measures to prevent contamination was overwhelmingly passed by the House last year but has been held up in the Senate.
Federal officials were alerted to a problem with Basic Food Flavors in early February by a foodmaker who detected salmonella in one lot of HVP it purchased from the Nevada manufacturer.
Federal inspectors went to the plant within days of the complaint and conducted 14 inspections in the span of about two weeks. They documented dirty utensils and equipment — mixers and tubing coated with brown residue — and cracks and fractures in the floor, as well as standing water on the floor — all conditions where bacteria can breed.
In one area where paste mixers and belt dryers were positioned, FDA inspectors noted “standing, grey/black liquid” in the drain near the area where the hydrolyzed vegetable protein was turned from paste to powder. “We sensed an odor in the vicinity of this drain,” the inspectors wrote.
The company is one of only a handful that manufacture hydrolyzed vegetable protein, and its customer list is extensive. It produces about 20 million pounds of the food additive annually, according to a food industry source.
The contamination is believed to date to September 2009, meaning millions of pounds of potentially tainted HVP — all of which the company has recalled — was shipped in bulk to foodmakers over five months. Many of those companies then sold their products to other clients, complicating the distribution chain and making it hard for federal officials to gauge the scope of the problem.
Food companies had recalled more than 100 products as of Tuesday afternoon, ranging from dips to salad dressings to soup bouillon, and that list is expected to balloon over the next several weeks.
January 13, 2010
By Mike Adams
One of the strangest behaviors I’ve ever seen in the natural health crowd is something I call “Soy Rage.” It’s an angry reaction that wells up in some people every time they hear me recommend natural, non-GMO, home-made soy milk.
People get angry about it. Downright nasty at times. They insist all soy is bad for you and there’s no such thing as “healthy soy.” To that, I say stop blaming the plant.
Blame the processing. (And the slash-and-burn farming…)
Processed soy is atrociously bad for you
Based on everything I’ve learned over the last decades or soy, I believe that processed soy products are atrociously bad for you. I wouldn’t touch a carton of Silk with a ten-foot straw. Processed tofu is a nutritious joke, and when it comes to soy protein, I’ve already published numerous articles exposing the toxins found in conventional processed soy protein.
Processed soy, like lots of processed things, is quite bad for your health.
But natural soy, grown organically (and locally, where possible), can actually be quite good for you. Natural soy milk, made right at home, has been part of the healthy traditional Chinese diet for thousands of years. Some of its plant-based nutrients have very powerful anti-cancer elements that can help prevent both prostate and breast cancers. Natural, non-GMO soy has some very positive properties and can play an important role in a healthy disease-preventing diet.
But the Soy Rage people don’t see it that way. To them, all soy is bad for you, end of discussion.
It’s an ignorant belief. It’s like saying “all sugar is bad for you.”
Well, not really. When I take a machete and cut some living sugar cane stalks here in Ecuador, and I take them to a sugar cane juicing machine and squeeze out all the green juice, with all its minerals and phytonutrients, and then I enjoy that amazing beverage, it’s very good for me! Drinking raw sugar cane juice is a lot like drinking wheat grass juice (sugar cane is actually a grass) except it tastes way better.
November 18, 2009
American Heart Association
If you eat fish to gain the heart-health benefits of its omega-3 fatty acids, baked or boiled fish is better than fried, salted or dried, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2009.
And, researchers said, adding low-sodium soy sauce or tofu will enhance the benefits.
“It appears that boiling or baking fish with low-sodium soy sauce (shoyu) and tofu is beneficial, while eating fried, salted or dried fish is not,” said Lixin Meng, M.S., lead researcher of the study and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. “In fact, these methods of preparation may contribute to your risk. We did not directly compare boiled or baked fish vs. fried fish, but one can tell from the (risk) ratios, boiled or baked fish is in the protective direction but not fried fish.”
The findings also suggest that the cardioprotective benefits vary by gender and ethnicity — perhaps because of the preparation methods, genetic susceptibility or hormonal factors.
Many studies have suggested that eating omega-3 fatty acids reduces the risk of heart disease; however, little is known about which source is most beneficial.
In this study, researchers examined the source, type, amount and frequency of dietary omega-3 ingestion among gender and ethnic groups. Participants were part of the Multiethnic Cohort living in Hawaii and Los Angeles County when they were recruited between 1993 and 1996. The group consisted of 82,243 men and 103,884 women of African-American, Caucasian, Japanese, Native Hawaiian and Latino descent ages 45 to 75 years old with no history of heart disease.
Researchers divided their intake of canned tuna, other canned fish, fish excluding shell fish, or soy products that contain plant omega-3s (soy, tofu and shoyu) into quintiles, quartiles, or tertiles when applicable. They also surveyed the preparation methods: raw, baked, boiled; fried; salted or dried. The initial study did not consider grilled fish.
Those in the highest quintile consumed a median 3.3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids a day. The lowest quintile consumed a median of 0.8 grams a day.
Omega-3 intake was inversely associated with overall risk of death due to heart disease in men — a trend mainly observed in Caucasians, Japanese Americans and Latinos. However, there weren’t many blacks or Hawaiians in the study, so the results should be interpreted cautiously, Meng said.
Overall, men who ate about 3.3 grams per day of omega-3 fatty acids had a 23 percent lower risk of cardiac death compared to those who ate 0.8 grams daily.
“Clearly, we are seeing that the higher the dietary omega-3 intake, the lower the risk of dying from heart disease among men,” Meng said.
Japanese and Hawaiians eat fish more often compared to whites, blacks and Latinos, and they prepare fish in a variety of methods, Meng noted.
For women, the omega-3 effect was cardioprotective at each level of consumption but not consistently significant, Meng said. Salted and dried fish was a risk factor in women.
In contrast, adding less than 1.1 gram/day shoyu and teriyaki sauce at the dinner table was protective for men but not for greater than 1.1 gram/day. For women, shoyu use showed a clear inverse relationship to death from heart disease. She noted that shoyu that is high in sodium can raise blood pressure, so she stressed low-sodium products. Eating tofu also had a cardioprotective effect in all ethnic groups.
“My guess is that, for women, eating omega-3s from shoyu and tofu that contain other active ingredients such as phytoestrogens, might have a stronger cardioprotective effect than eating just omega-3s,” said Meng, noting that further studies are needed to confirm the hypothesis.
During the average 11.9 years of follow-up, 4,516 heart-related deaths occurred in the group, according to state and national death records, which were cross-referenced through the end of 2005.
The study didn’t consider possible dietary changes over time; subjects who were diagnosed with heart disease after their baseline food intake surveys might have modified their eating habits. Further, the study didn’t account for the possible effects of fish-oil supplementation.
In light of these limitations, the researchers plan to include subjects’ dietary patterns over time and a cross-validation of their omega-3 levels through blood analysis.
“Our findings can help educate people on how much fish to eat and how to cook it to prevent heart disease,” Meng said. “Alternately, if it is verified that the interactions between fish consumption, risk factors and ethnicity are due to genetic susceptibility, the heart-disease prevention message can be personalized to ethnic groups, and future study could identify susceptibility at the genetic level.”