A Primer On Protein Powders
Between the kidney beans, kale, egg, and cheese, each serving dishes up a solid 28 grams of protein. Get the recipe here.
Craving pasta? No problem, just add tofu, cashews and broccoli and you don’t have to feel bad about indulging. Recipe available here.
Between the black beans, the egg, and mmm… Fontina cheese (7 grams of proteinper ounce), this gloriously stuffed sweet potato will leave both your mother and your trainer equally impressed. Recipe available here.
Combine quinoa with peanut butter, tofu, and broccoli for this powerhouse of lunches. Check out the recipe here.
Give yourself hefty portions (or add some jack cheese) to up the protein in this filling salad. Recipe available here.
I know seitan feels like tofu’s weirder cousin, but with about 20 grams of protein per serving, it’s totally worth trying. Recipe available here.
Every good vegetarian needs a bean chili recipe in their arsenal. Just remember: Do all your eye rubbing before chopping the jalapeños. Recipe available here.
Pinto beans, kale, and jack cheese mean you get all the protein you gave up in beef, without all the heart disease, fat, and ethical implications. Recipe available here.
With 8 grams of protein in every cup, frozen peas can do more for your sore muscles than just ice them. Recipe available here.
Yes, you can make broth out of cheese. Add some kale and white beans and BOOM: protein soup. Recipe available here.
Perfect for impressing the vegetarian you’re waking up next to, the egg (6g), Gruyère (10g), and asparagus (2g), makes this breakfast perfect for fueling up for round two. Wink. Recipe available here.
Lentils (50g/cup), split peas (48g/cup), and barley (23g/cup), all in one easy-to-make, throw-it-all-in-the-crock-pot meal. Can I get an amen? Or maybe just the recipe.
Sick of eggs for breakfast? Oats and corn meal will take care of you. Recipe available here.
Barley risotto: perfect for the ambitious, healthy-ish vegetarian cook. Recipe available here.
Besides the beans, this recipe also uses soy chorizo (9g/serving) just in case you miss the real thing. Recipe available here.
Start your meal with this protein-heavy soup and feel free to indulge in pure carbs for the rest of it. Recipe available here.
This dish is not just high in protein (20g/serving), it’s also gluten-free and vegan, making it perfect for even the pickiest of eaters. Recipe available here.
This is what you serve your carnivorous friends who tell you you’re not getting enough protein. Between the tofu, the quinoa, and the chickpeas, each serving packs in more than 32 grams. Recipe available here.
Tofu, oats, walnuts, and eggs all make this a ridiculously protein-y alternative to boring old meatloaf. Get the recipe here.
Tempeh’s not for everyone, but with 31 grams of protein per cup, the dense, nutty meat alternative is worth trying at least once. Get the recipe here.
OK, so you’ll need to use whole wheat pasta and have a large serving to get the full 18g of protein, but when a country music legend shares a recipe, you do what you gotta do to make it work. Get the recipe here.
By Randy Dotinga
TUESDAY, March 24, 2015 (HealthDay News) — In more good news for those who fill up on bran cereal and quinoa, a new study suggests that older people who eat a lot of whole grains may live longer than those who hardly ever eat them.
Even the obese and sedentary appear to gain a benefit, the researchers added.
People should “eat more whole grains and reduce intake of refined carbohydrates,” said study co-author Dr. Lu Qi, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
Qi added that eating more grains may even help people lose weight: “There is no evidence that [a diet rich in] whole grain increases calorie intake, and it may lower it,” he said.
The finding does have limitations — almost all participants were white, for example — and it doesn’t directly prove that eating lots of whole grains caused people to live longer.
In the study, researchers looked at whole fiber — the whole seed of grain that’s used in grain products like bread and cereal.
The researchers tracked almost 370,000 people in the United States from the mid-1990s, when they took surveys, through the year 2009. They were all members of AARP and aged 50 to 71. The study excluded tens of thousands of people with conditions such as cancer, heart disease and stroke, meaning that the results don’t apply to older people as a whole.
After adjusting their statistics so they wouldn’t be thrown off by high or low numbers of certain types of people, the researchers found that those who ate the most fiber were 17 percent less likely to die during the study period than those who ate the least. However, the risk of death during the study was low overall: About 12 percent (just over 46,000) of the people died during the study period.
Those who ate the most fiber were more likely to be educated, less likely to be obese and less likely to smoke than those who ate the least, the study found. They also ate much less red meat, on average. But the life span benefit held up even when researchers adjusted their statistics to eliminate the impact of factors such as obesity and poorer health.
The researchers also found signs that whole grains lowered the risk of premature death from lung disease and diabetes. More consumption of the cereal fiber inside whole grains, meanwhile, translated to fewer deaths and lower levels of cancer and diabetes.
How much whole grain might a person need to reap this benefit? A lot. The researchers defined heavy eaters of whole grains — those with the greatest life span benefits — as those who ate 34 grams of whole grains for every 1,000 calories they consumed per day. For a person on a 2,500-calorie diet, that’s 85 grams: the equivalent of five slices of whole wheat bread or 5 cups of whole-grain breakfast cereal.
Those defined as eating the least whole grain consumed about 4 grams per 1,000 calories per day, or 10 grams for a person on a 2,500-calorie diet. That’s fewer grams than are in half a cup of oatmeal (16 grams).
One expert noted that switching over to whole grains could make a big difference.
“National survey data indicate that the current average intake of dietary fiber is only 16 grams, so increasing dietary fiber intake to the recommended more than 30 grams a day could significantly impact public health,” said Dr. Yunsheng Ma, an associate professor in the division of preventive and behavioral medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Mass.
“Foods high in fiber are predominantly protective foods high in micronutrient density, such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes,” Ma added. “There is no upper limit that has been set for dietary fiber intake per day.”
Ma, who’s familiar with the new research, wrote a study published earlier this year that linked fiber consumption to lower weight, blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Why might whole grains be so good for a person’s health? Study co-author Qi said they may work by lowering three things: food intake overall, levels of “bad” cholesterol, and inflammation.
The study is published in the March 24 edition of BMC Medicine.
With low-carb, Paleo, and gluten-free diets on the rise, bread (and grains in general) has fallen out of favor. Even in France, the birthplace of the baguette, they’ve had to resort to a “Got Milk” style ad campaign to stop sales from crumbling. However, the loaf isn’t dead yet.
To combat the trend of falling bread consumption, commercial bread bakers have been looking to formulate and market a healthier bread. In that quest, they’re using bread buzzwords such as “stoneground,” “gluten-free,” and “whole wheat.”
Nearly everyone has heard the advice to choose whole-grain bread over white bread (for the health benefits of whole-grain flour), but there’s still much discussion about even whole-grain options . And the advantages of other types of bread are less clear-cut. WTF does “sprouted grain bread” even mean, and are the health benefits enough to justify the extra $2 per loaf?
Here are some common (and commonly misunderstood) bread buzzwords and what they really mean.
Time to flash back to biology class: Wheat, in its natural, fresh-off-the-plant form, contains three components: the germ, endosperm, and bran layer. The germ contains loads of vitamins and minerals, while the endosperm is packed with protein and carbohydrate. The bran layer (the rough stuff… thinkbran muffin) is full of fiber . Whole-grain flours are made by grinding up intact wheat kernels; white flours have to be “stripped” of all the good stuff before they get sent to the grinder. To make white flour, manufacturers remove the germ and bran (along with 80 percent of the fiber and most of the nutrients), then send the stripped grains through the mill. White flours usually get a dose of B vitamins, folic acid, and iron during processing; this fortification process replaces up some of the lost nutrient content, but the flour is still missing many healthy compounds such as antioxidants and phytonutrients .
Think you’re all set buying 100-percent whole-wheat bread? Not so fast. The FDA says that a grain-containing product labeled “100-percent whole-grain” must be made of germ, endosperm, and bran in proportions that equal those of intact grains. Food manufactuers exploit this loophole and often process grain as white flour, then add the germ and bran back in. Believe it or not, this still counts as “whole-grain” flour . The reconstituted whole-grain flour often has dough conditioners and flavorings added, and probably loses some nutrients through processing too.
These buzzwords recall a simpler era in bread baking, when windmills would grind grain using compression from stones. But today, like the term “natural,” the marketing buzzword “stone ground” is essentially meaningless.
When you read “stone ground” on bread, it just indicates that a grain has been passed through a stone mill at least once during the manufacturing process. So if the first step in making Wonder Bread were a quick trip of the wheat through a stone grinder, it could be considered made of stone-ground flour. The FDA doesn’t police this phrase, so food manufacturers are free to use this as they wish.
Sprouted wheat breads are the darling of the health food set. All sorts of health claims have been made about sprouted grains, including increased digestibility, higher protein content, and more enzyme activity. Are any of these claims legit?
Well, sprouting grains increases the activity of certain enzymes, which allows nutrients to be more available for digestion. It also lowers carbohydrate content, changes the amino acid profile, and raises protein content . Sprouting ups the content of some nutrients such as antioxidants and fiber too . Due to these differences, sprouted-grain breads are technically more nutritious than breads made using unsprouted flour. However, the differences are pretty small—eating sprouted-grain bread over plain ol’ whole wheat won’t make much of a difference in a person’s nutritional intake.
Several celebs have gone gaga for the gluten-free diet—including Lady Gaga herself—but following this dietary trend really isn’t necessary unless you have celiac disease . Although many report being sensitive to gluten, a condition known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), scientific evidence isn’t up to speed on exactly why or how this occurs (or if it is even a real condition) . Claims of weight loss and increased energy from going gluten-free abound, but these effects are probably due to increased diet quality (think more fruits and veggies, fewer processed foods) rather than the elimination of the gluten protein.
For those without celiac disease, gluten-free breads may or may not be healthier. In general, a gluten-free diet is more likely to be low in vitamins and minerals such as vitamins B and D, zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium, and fiber . Eating gluten-free—without paying close attention to the quality and nutrient content of foods—can raise the risk for developing obesity and/or metabolic syndrome . Many gluten-free bread products are prepared with corn or rice starch, both of which have a high glycemic index and low fiber content . And because gluten-free grains don’t always play nice in forming bread dough, manufacturers of gluten-free breads often mix in fats or oils to dough increase palatability (which also ups the calorie content!) and additives like starches and gums to improve texture .
However, there are a bunch of different flour options when it comes to GF baked goods. Some, such asoat flour and chickpea flour, have relatively good nutritional stats . Others, like tapioca flour, are pretty much pure starch. Recognizing consumer demand, food scientists are currently hard at work to develop tasty, delicious, and nutritious gluten-free breads using some of the more nutritious flours and novel preparation methods. In the meantime, if you’re eating gluten-free bread, be a label-reader—watch out for long ingredient lists, additives, and low fiber contents.
Baking yeast bread is one of those intimidating kitchen projects that seems like you’d need a full weekend to accomplish (although it’s totally doable to DIY, as well as cheaper, healthier, and not as time-consuming as you’d expect). At its most basic, making yeast bread involves mixing together flour, water, commercial yeast, and salt, letting the mixture rise, and baking the risen dough. During the rising period, the yeast gobbles up some carbohydrates in the flour and digest them via fermentation. The end products are alcohol and carbon dioxide—which add flavor and volume to the dough.
Sourdough bread making involves similar steps, but the process starts with a “sourdough starter” or “sponge,” which is a mixture of live yeast, lactic-acid producing bacteria, flour, and water. Bacteria and wild yeast from the environment settle on the starter and start to ferment away, producing a mini-ecosystem packed with flavor-making potential. Both yeast and bacteria increase the acidity of the dough, which fends off harmful bacteria and gives sourdough its characteristic tangy taste.
OK, now that we have Breadmaking 101 out of the way, let’s talk about the health benefits of yeasted bread. Some claim that sourdough bread made with a wild yeast starter is healthier and easier to digest than your standard loaf. While the wild yeast primarily contribute to the complexity of the flavor present in sourdough (and some would say its overall deliciousness), the long fermentation time required and acidity of the dough are what really contribute to its health benefits . This process makes the nutrients in wheat flour more available for digestion and the simple sugars less available, which may help with blood sugar control, particularly for people with diabetes . (Although portion control is still key for blood sugar issues.) Sourdough fermentation may also help make wheat bread easier for patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to digest . One study found that sourdough bread made with a long fermentation time produced fewer symptoms (such as bloating and gas) than conventionally made bread .
Kombucha, kefir, yogurt, and… bread? Some claim that sourdough bread is a probiotic food since it is made with a fermented dough containing tons of gut-friendly bacteria (Lactobacillus, we’re looking at you!). While the baking process kills off the bacteria, which may reduce its probiotic properties, there’s some evidence suggesting that even dead probiotic bacteria still have some health benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties . But don’t swap out your yogurt for toast just yet; the scientific evidence on the health benefits of live probiotics is much stronger .
While it’s best to avoid the usual culprits when it comes to additives (hydrogenated oils, food dyes, and high-fructose corn syrup, to name some common not-so-healthy ingredients in highly processed foods), there are a few bread-specific additives to watch out for.
The first is the so-called “yoga mat” chemical of the infamous Subway bread controversy. Also used to improve the stretchiness of rubber products like flip-flops and yoga mats, this chemical—azodicarbonamide, abbreviated as ADA or ADC—is added to some commercial bread products as a bleaching agent and flour-improver. When heated, ADA forms two icky byproducts, one that’s known to cause cancer and one that might cause cancer.
Another problematic item on the ingredient list is potassium bromate, a chemical added to fluff up bread and give it a tender texture, which has also been shown to cause cancer in animals and may hurt kidney function in humans . It’s banned pretty much everywhere except in the U.S. and Japan.
Less scary-sounding but definitely unhealthy, added sugars such as dextrose appear in certain commercial breads. Dextrose contributes to the nice, toasty-brown color of baked loaves (and to Americans’ waistlines). Other names for sugar include sucrose or “evaporated cane juice.” There’s no need to completely eliminate added sugars, but limiting them is a good idea.
While commercial food producers splash all sorts of health-related claims on packaging, a lot of thefront-of-package labeling is just to entice consumers. For your healthiest bread options, look for whole-grain breads with short ingredient lists (not too much longer than flour, water, yeast, and salt). Bonus points for buying from artisan bakers or making your own.
Fermented breads, a.k.a. sourdough made with a long fermentation time, could reduce blood sugar spikes or icky abdominal symptoms in some people. (Although keep in mind, portion control still key if you’re trying to lose weight or have blood sugar issues.) And sprouted-grain breads may offer some nutritional advantages above and beyond the basic whole-grain loaf, but eating sprouted bread isn’t likely to lead to significant improvements in health (though you’ll get hippie street cred). As far as gluten concerns go, if you have celiac disease (or suspect other sensitivities), look for gluten-free bread made from beneficial ingredients like chickpea or oat flour. But if you’re a-OK with gluten, there’s no reason to break up with everyone’s favorite comforting carb.