Veganism and Protein Requirements: How to adapt a balanced diet.

Hello everyone,

Veganism isn’t about being a healthy choice, or a diet, fad or trendy. It is a lifestyle choice individuals make, usually for humane, spiritual, religious and ecologically reasons. If you decide to adapt a vegan lifestyle there are a few things that need to be kept in mind.

  1. You can have an unhealthy vegan diet. I’m talking about buying processed, packaged ‘vegan’ alternatives at the shop. To ensure you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals you need from your vegan diet, you need to ensure you’re eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes (including nuts and seeds).
  2. Be mindful of protein-combining. Animal-based proteins contain all 9 essential Amino acids and are considered complete proteins. There are only a few plant proteins that contain all the essential AA. However, this does not mean you can’t get all your amino acids into your diet, you just have to be smart and combine different varieties of proteins into your diet throughout the day
  3. Iron and B12 deficiency are common in vegans, however, many people eating a diet full of animal foods also have deficiencies. It’s all about balance.

In today’s blog, I’ll be discussing complete vegan (vegetarian) proteins that can be easily incorporated into a daily diet, and providing you with a sample day’s meal plan, with recipes included to get you started.

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Complete Vegetarian Protein Options.

Quinoa, Buckwheat, Hemp Seed, Chia Seed, Soy, Quorn ( Mycoprotein)

Dietary sources of protein and the essential amino acids

The protein content of plant origin foods such as nuts, peas and beans (including peanuts) is very high and rivals that of meat and fish. Some vegetarians include eggs and/or dairy products as part of their protein intake. Cheese has similar levels of protein to meat and fish by weight, whilst egg is regarded as the perfect protein food for its ideal balance of amino acids.

Whether dairy products and/or eggs are included in our diet, plant foods provide a major part of protein intake. Pulses, such as quinoa, can form the basis of many types of meals and soya products such as milk, tofu, miso or ready made products like burgers and sausages are probably the most versatile source of protein. Nuts can be incorporated into breakfast and sweet or savoury dishes providing an energy-dense source of protein. QuornTM is a form of myco-protein – an edible fungus – and is sold in a range of different forms from mince to fillets.

Everyday foods that are normally regarded as carbohydrates such as rice and grains, pasta, breakfast cereals and bread contain significant amounts of protein and can play an important part in your intake. For example, 100g of wholemeal bread contains 9.4g of protein. Potatoes eaten in quantity also provide useful amounts of protein.

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Protein combining

Of the eight essential amino acids two– lysine and methionine are given special attention in vegetarian diets. This is because compared with foods of animal origin such as eggs, milk and cheese various food groups of vegetable origin have an imbalance of either lysine or methionine. The food groups mainly in question are; cereals, such as wheat, oats and rice, and legumes; beans, peas and lentils.Wheat and rice proteins are comparatively low in lysine but better sources of methionine whereas beans and peas are relatively high in lysine yet in lower methionine. This has naturally led to the idea of cereals and legumes as ‘complementary’ proteins. In practice this means that meals that combine for example beans and rice or hummus and bread will provide a biologically ‘complete’ protein intake. It was thought until relatively recently that, as the body does not readily store amino acids it was essential for vegetarians to combine ‘complementary proteins’ at each meal. There has been some debate over this which has concluded that this isn’t strictly necessary, however it still has some advantages and seems a sensible way to approach a varied and complete diet.

Dietary requirements for protein (RNI)As with the other main food groups, fats and carbohydrates, an excess of protein in the diet will be treated by the body as a source of energy and in turn can be converted to body fat potentially contributing to obesity. Current official guidelines for protein intake suggest for adults a daily intake of 0.75g of protein per kilo of body weight. Pregnant women should add 6g to this total and add 11g whilst in the first 4 months of breast feeding and thereafter add 8g per day for the duration of breastfeeding.

Recommended Protein Requirements for maintenance:


Average adult (19+) woman = 45g per day
Average adult (19+) man = 55g per day

Vegetarian breakfast with spinach, arugula, avocado, seeds and sprouts

Sample Day Meal Plan:

Breakfast: Smoothie made with Almond Milk, Banana, Cacao, Spinach, Kale, un-hulled Tahini, Avocado and hemp powder.

Morning Snack: Homemade Garlic Hummus and vegetable sticks. (cucumber, capsicum, carrot and celery).

Lunch: Tamari & Garlic grilled Portabello Mushroom, with curried vegetable rice stuffing. Served with side salad, add lemon, olive oil dressing. (Spinach, Cos Lettuce, tomato, cucumber, carrot and red onion).

Afternoon Snack: Fresh juice: spinach, kiwi, cucumber, apple, kale, mint and spirulina. Handful of nuts (almonds, walnuts and pecans).

Dinner: Vegetable Noodles with coconut curried sauce

Dessert: Homemade Chia Puddingegards,

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

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My Nutrition Story: Learning about Food, Diet, and Body Acceptance.

Hello Everyone,

You asked and I’ll answer!

I’ve had many requests to write a blog on my past experiences with nutrition and diet. I get asked often. How do you eat so healthy? What keeps you motivated? How can you know what your body needs? What is the ultimate diet?

Usually the answers are the same, I don’t eat completely healthy, I still like cheese, biscuits and the occasional sweet. Some days I’m not motivated and I feel bloated, fatigued and unable to concentrate. I don’t always know what my body needs, some days my head is going so fast i can barely hear myself think. And the ultimate diet is one that’s makes you feel amazing, keeps you healthy and able to enjoy life.

I’ve recently qualified as a Clinical Nutritionist and the knowledge I’ve gained over the past 3 years at uni has helped me to understand my body a little more. However, I still have so much to learn, and there are some moments I have questioned my abilities to help myself and others. I am human. Let me give you an overview of my past experience to begin..

Trying to fit in.

I’ve struggled in the past with my own body image throughout most of my teenage years and early 20s. Like many girls, I tortured myself to the point where food was the enemy and my body was a burden. My relationship with my body was turbulent: I was a carbrestricting, fad-dieting, anxiety-ridden, scale-fearing, self-loathing, and self-doubting mess.

I took extreme measures to to get my body to look a certain way including calorie-restricting, throwing up, diet pills, laxatives and starving. Whenever I felt I had over-indulged, I would punish my body by beating myself up, and over-excercising (until i fainted).

I thought I was doing everything right, and I couldn’t understand my body at all and why I always felt unwell. I was experiencing constant migraines, body aches, bruises that would pop up out of nowhere, my nails were brittle and my hair was falling out in clumps. My diet and lifestyle was so extreme, in fact, it was downright dangerous. My obsession with dieting and food clouded my ability to listen to what my body really needed.

Then something clicked. I realised hating on my body was not only affecting everything in my life, it had become my life. I committed myself to understanding what nutrition was all about, and how the body utilises the food I consumed. That’s when I enrolled into The Australasian College of Natural Therapies to learn more about nutrition. Once I started to learn and understand how the body actually works, my mentality shifted. I viewed food as a source of nourishment, not the enemy. I realised it didn’t matter what the number on the scales read, that would never make me happy. I needed to work on myself and find true happiness outside of my own self-obsession. I began to eat in a way that healed my body. Listening to what foods worked for me and what foods didn’t. This become how I tuned into my body’s needs and help support my system to work at it’s full potential.

Even now, I’m constantly changing the way I eat, to fit into my lifestyle, and how my body feels at the time. But I believe that is all par of being a nutritionist. (We are constantly trialling new diets to better understand their affect on the body).

Let’s go back a bit. 

Four years ago, I decided to cut red meat back to 2 nights a week. I was feeling bloated, uncomfortable and experiencing flatulence on a daily basis. I felt it took my body fare too long to digest and my body wasn’t accepting it. This was my first experience in listening to my body. In my first week I ate red meat once, then never ate it again. I consumed fish and poultry, along with wholegrains, vegetables and fruits.

After around 18 months I began to become sick of chicken and fish so I decided to cut out all meat and go vegetarian. (i love cheese and wasnt ready to part with it). I began to feel more energised, lighter and was passing stools more easily. In the past 2 years, while studying I have tried removing gluten, dairy, sugar, and trialling new food products. While I have found some that have become staples in my house ( ie kombucha, legumes, quinoa and buckwheat grains), I learnt more about what foods work and what foods don’t.  Every body is different and responds uniquely to food products.

A difficult time.

Six months ago, I went through a very difficult personal time. My life had become all about work, study and I became selfish to find an outlet. it was a healthy way to deal with my stress, and I acknowledge that now. I made mistakes and my body suffered greatly. I was run-down. My body was in a state of constant sickness, I was fatigued, pale and struggle to cope. Somehow I manage to get through the year, finish my uni degree, tafe course and work duties until my body decided since I wasn’t listening to the earlier warning signs, It was time to be a little more abrupt.

I became sick around end of November when I was diagnosed with Glandular Fever. It is a mono-nucleus virus that can lay dormant in your system, and flare up in times of immune stress. I had been fighting this virus for the past 6 months but wasnt listening to my body. I was diagnosed in Hospital via blood test, where I visited twice within the week, dehydrated, confused and yellow. My liver wasn’t coping, I wasn’t keeping any food/fluids down and I was miserable. I spent my birthday in hospital, and was unable to finish my last two weeks of uni.

This time I listened to my body. I wasn’t coping, and I needed to step back to rest. I put myself up for bed rest for 2 months. Even now I get fatigued easily, and out of breathe. I have had a check with the doc and iron deficient (which I suspected).

I am NOT perfect.

I may not ever get it completely right and I am still learning. Learning to say no, learning to cope with stress and learning to find balance. With both my life and diet. I have become more relaxed with my diet recently, as I can only tolerate certain foods still. I realise I stopped enjoying food when I became stressed and strict with my diet. i thought I was eating a healthy diet, but I was actually forcing my body into a state of burn-out without the necessary nutrients to sustain every day metabolic functions.

Rest assure, even nutritionist struggle. We cannot treat ourselves, and I’m thankful to have such a wonderful mentor who has been a blessing. She has been trying to tell me for months, what my body was telling me, but I was too arrogant.

I look forward to 2018 being a year of pacing myself, and continuing to learn how to balance my diet and life. I will no longer restrict myself with food, but allow myself to enjoy and accept my body the way it is.

I wish you all a successful 2018, and I hope you’re able to take something from this blog too.

Healthiest Regards

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Mother’s Day 2017: Give the Gift Of Fudge!!

Hello everyone,

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful, selfless, hard-working mothers out there! Show your mother how much you love and appreciate her with the gift of rich, gooey chocolate fudge. And it’s a sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan/paleo-friendly treat full of heathy anti-inflammatory fats, proteins and anti-oxidants!! See Recipe Below!!

Raw Vegan Chocolate Fudge – Makes 12 Slices

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Ingredients:

1 Cup Raw Walnuts

1/2 Cup Raw Almonds (Activated if possible)

1/2 Cup Raw, Organic Cacao Powder

1 1/2 Cups Medjool Dates, Pitted

1/4 Cup Organic, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 Tsp Chia Seeds 

1/4 Cup Mayver’s Orginial Super Spread (4 nuts, Chia seeds and Sesame Seeds) or Almond Butter

1/4 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt

**Optional decoration: Goji berries, nuts, extra cacao dusting, coconut flakes or cranberries.

Method:

Step 1: Add walnuts and almonds to a food processor and blend until finely ground. Add cacao, salt, and cinnamon, blend.

Step 2: Add pitted dates, nut, butter, vanilla extract and coconut oil. Blend until all ingredients are well combined

Step 3: Line square dish with baking paper and spread the batter down into slice tin. Pat this down firmly.

Freeze until ready to eat, usually around 2 hours, and cut into slices when cold. Eat immediately.

Some Background Information on Cacao:

One of the most wildly popular trees on the planet is the cacao, the plant species from which cocoa – and chocolate – is derived. While some might think cacao and cocoa are one in the same, they’re not, exactly. Cacao is the tree, while cocoa is the product made from it (not to be confused with coca, an evergreen shrub from which cocaine is concocted). Edible parts of cacao pods and the beans inside them can be processed to make cocoa powder, cocoa butter, or chocolate after being dried and fermented.

Because cocoa beans were prized for their medicinal and aphrodisiacal properties, they were traded just like currency among ancient South American civilizations. Rumor has it Casanova was fond of them.

The earliest known evidence that cacao was processed for ingestion goes back as far as 1,400 B.C.E., gathered from discoveries of its residue on pottery excavated in Honduras, possibly to ferment the pulp for making an adult beverage. Sweetened forms came about when the Europeans landed in the New World and tasted cacao in liquid form. Although they hated it at first, someone discovered that adding honey made it downright palatable. By the 17th century, this form of chocolate was all the rage in Europe, and subsequently, the world. It still is.

Health Benefits of Cacao

There’s been a lot of discussion about free radicals and antioxidants, but some are unsure of what these terms mean in regard to our health. Exposure to the sun, cigarette smoke, pollution, and toxic chemicals, such as chemical weed killers, and unhealthy foods can all release free radical activity in the body, however they also can be produced by factors like stress, damaging healthy tissue. Antioxidants in the foods you eat reverse that process, helping to combat disease by zapping harmful free radicals.

That’s where cacao comes in. Raw cacao powder contains more than 300 different chemical compounds and nearly four times the antioxidant power of your average dark chocolate- more than 20 times than that of blueberries. Protein, calcium, carotene, thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, sulfur, flavonoids, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids are also present. The precise blend of all these elements combined serve to kick in naturally occurring phytochemicals that have incredible benefits throughout the body, such as lowered LDL cholesterol, improved heart function, and reduced cancer risk.

Phenethylamine, or PEA, is one of them. Large doses of this compound are said to be released into the brain when we’re attracted to someone, but natural pain- and stress-relieving chemicals known as neurotransmitters stimulate the secretion of endorphins to help us stay alert and focused.

Studies have shown that chocolate affects your emotions and mood by raising serotonin levels, which explains why chocolate is often craved when gloominess looms. Also to the rescue is a neurotransmitter called theobromine, a mild stimulant sometimes used as a treatment for depression. It releases the compound anandamide, which produces uniquely euphoric feelings of relaxation and contentment.

For those who think chocolate must be bad for you (it has to be if it tastes so good, right?), rest assured: there’s only one gram of sugar in a half-cup serving of raw cacao. It’s what’s done with it that makes the difference. Unfortunately, high heat from processing and refining to produce different types of cocoa or chocolate damages the cocoa bean’s micronutrients, along with the health benefits.

Not only that, but additions like High-fructose Corn Syrup, sugar, and partially hydrogenated oils limit the amount of actual cocoa, and dairy products actually block the absorption of antioxidants, so if it’s nutritive benefits you’re looking for, your average chocolate bar isn’t likely to supply much.

Cacao Fun Facts

The Aztecs gave cacao the name “yollotl eztli,” meaning “heart blood.” They may have understood even then the heart-benefiting aspects of eating what is now known to be a boost for the cardiovascular system.

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Summary

I say cocoa, you say cacao, but there is a slight difference: Cacao is the tree; what’s made from it is cocoa. This moderately addictive plant-derived substance contains such amazingly powerful nutrients. Raw cacao powder has more than 300 phytochemicals and nearly four times the antioxidant power of regular dark chocolate, and contains protein, calcium, carotene, thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, and sulfur. These properties can be destroyed by high heat, so it’s important to know just what type of processes your cocoa powder and baking chocolate have undergone.

Cacao can improve heart health, cholesterol, stress levels, and inflammation, to list just a few physical advantages. Fringe benefits cacao releases into the brain include anandamide, endorphins, phenylethylamine, and serotonin, all sparking descriptives like “blissful” and “euphoric.” All this satisfying goodness comes from a frothy mug of hot cocoa or a creamy bar of unadulterated chocolate. It’s no wonder the Spanish called it “black gold.”

Healthiest Regards, And a Happy Mother’s Day

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment