I will start with a boring but necessary scientific survey that was published in the Indian Medical Gazette in April 2015. The study was conducted in seven cities in India (Ahmedabad, Delhi, Chennai, Calcutta, Lucknow, Mumbai and Vijayawada) with 1,260 respondents, and we take a look at the consumption of proteins in our daily diet. The not-so-shocking conclusion was that almost 9 out of 10 consumers had a diet deficient in protein, regardless of gender or socioeconomic status. Perhaps, as expected, vegetarians had a greater protein deficit than non-vegetarians.
Why Do We Need Protein?
We all know that protein is the building block of the body and, subsequently, amino acids are the building blocks of the protein. Some may be produced by the body, but some need to be consumed. That’s pretty easy, except that there is a variety of amino acids that the body needs. A meat consumer would have no problem absorbing this variety since all meat already has a full range of amino acids; A vegetarian, Jain or Vegan, on the other hand, would need to absorb a rainbow of food to get the full benefit. This really is not that difficult, considering that we already consume many foods of vegetable origin, rich in proteins, that are easily available.
Types of Plant-Based Protein
According to an article called Protein, which is the best? available at the National Library of Medicine of the US National Institutes of Health. In the US, soy is a complete protein that has benefits in reducing blood pressure and reducing LDL cholesterol. Soy is not really part of a traditional Indian diet, but it was Gandhiji himself who became interested in the ingredient as a low-protein, high-protein food. In Soybean History in the Indian Subcontinent, William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi write that “as of October 1935, Gandhi began serving whole soy (steamed for two hours) to all the members of his community in Maganwadi; They ate with chapati or bhakri for breakfast, and with rice for dinner, seasoned with a little salt and oil. “
If Gandhiji’s soy preparations do not float your pot, you can get your soy portions of the day through tofu, edamame, soy milk or atta. I love tofu, but for those with an aversion to it
If you like, try cooking it like a bhurji, with a lot of lovely masalas. Edamame beans are an excellent and healthy sandwich when steamed and mixed with salt. And the soy atta can be easily placed in its regular chapati atta.
2. Lentils and legumes.
Another excellent source of protein comes from lentils. The Harvard School of Public Health tells us that a cup of cooked lentils provides approximately 18 g of protein and 15 g of fiber, and contains virtually no saturated fat or sodium. In India, we are not oblivious to lentils, considering the richness of the dals we consume.
Second are the legumes, which include beans, chickpeas, etc. They are an excellent source of fiber and are low in fat. Each bean has its own elements that improve health. For example, rajma is rich in phosphorus, necessary to form strong bones. What could be better than a simpler rajma-chawal to increase protein intake? Another of my favorite ways to get beans in my belly is through matki usual and missal pao, made from weki matki (moth) beans. Chickpeas make the quick transition into hummus. Or you can try toasted beans, put them in a burrito or cook them in a Tex Mex style chili.
Nuts have a bad reputation because they are considered relatively fat, but they are an inexhaustible source of unsaturated fat (good) and protein. This means that they fill you up faster and for longer, which leads you down the road to low BMI, longer life expectancy and even helps stabilize blood sugar (according to a study published in The British Journal of Nutrition ). Cashews, almonds, pistachios, and peanuts harbor higher amounts of protein than other nuts such as hazelnuts, so buy a mixed bag, sprinkle with masala and a light hand of salt, and enjoy tea. Mix them in nut kinds of butter and spread them on the bread, or toss them in your bowl of oatmeal or muesli. Or you can make a Gujarati-style dal that is cooked with peanuts, a two-in-one advantage.
Seeds are also protein potencies. Sunflower seeds, for example, contain 3.3 g of protein per 100 calories. In addition, they are super versatile to use. Like nuts, you can toss them in your porridge, corn flakes or muesli, lightly toast and sprinkle them as soups, or add them to sautéed and salad dressings. Sesame seeds, high sources of protein, are excellent supplements for plant proteins. My favorite way to consume them is in chikki or ladoos.
Quinoa, which is technically a seed, also contains a strong protein punch; a quarter cup (uncooked) has up to 8 g of protein. Quinoa is often an excellent substitute for rice and starchy pasta, and you can cook it as an upma, use it in a salad and even mix some vegetables and cook it as a light and healthy pulao.
6. Ancient Grains
Grains, such as oats, wheat, ragi and bajra (millet), are full of proteins. Your breakfast of oatmeal and bai ki roti/khichdi are excellent ways to increase the protein in your diet. I include rajgira (amaranth) here, which technically is not a grain, but it is often treated as such. The Whole Grains Council says that “approximately between 13 and 14% easily exceeds the protein content of most other grains. You may hear that the amaranth protein is called ‘complete’ because it contains lysine, an amino acid that is missing or insignificant in many grains. ” It is quite easy to buy rajgira ladoos, cooked with sugar or jaggery, especially in the winter. But it is healthier to add amaranth flour to your chapati or paratha daily. In fact, making your chapatis from a mixture of attas will substantially increase its nutritional value.