How To Boost Your Protein Intake In a Plant-Based Diet

In recent years, we have witnessed a huge shift in people’s dietary preferences. An increasing number of individuals are leaving their meat-heavy platter and shifting to a plant-based diet. There are various reasons for this transition. Some of these include environmental concerns, animal welfare and awareness of certain health risks associated with animal protein.

Individuals who have switched to this diet are often concerned about their protein intake. It is a common misconception that a plant-based diet cannot provide your body with a sufficient amount of protein. Here’s a list of 5 plant-based food items that can help you meet your daily protein requirement.

1. Oats: If you want to start your day with a protein-packed meal, then oats are your best option! Oats contain 16-17 grams of protein per 100 grams and are rich in a protein called avenalin which is not present in any other grains. They also help lower cholesterol levels and prevent high blood sugar levels [1].

2. Peanut Butter: Peanut butter is the perfect choice for a protein-rich breakfast. 7 grams of protein are contained in two tablespoons of peanut butter [2]. Peanut butter is high in calories and hence recommended to be consumed in moderation. Peanut butter is high in two kinds of a protein called arachin and conarachin and is low in amino acid methionine. Apart from being a healthy protein option, it is also delicious and can be combined with several other dishes.

3. Tofu: Originating from soybean, tofu is an excellent source of protein. It is made by curdling soy milk and contains 15-20 grams of protein per 100 grams. Like animal protein, tofu is packed with all the nine important amino acids that the body needs for functioning and is considered as a complete protein. It is also rich in iron, calcium, phosphorus and manganese [3]. Owing to its versatility, tofu is a very popular and nutritious meat substitute and can be used with a variety of dishes.

4. Lentils And Beans: Lentils contain 25% of protein making them an ideal alternative to meat. 100 grams of lentils contain 9 grams of protein [4]. Just half a cup of lentils is enough to keep you fuelled for the whole day. It is also high in fiber and folate which helps in the formation of red blood cells and proper functioning of the nerves. Meanwhile, beans too are rich sources of protein. Unlike animal proteins, it also has a high fiber content which keeps your stomach fuller for a longer time. Moreover, both lentils and beans are naturally low in cholesterol.

5. Nuts And Seeds: Nuts are perfect for a light snack and also have an impressive nutrient content. Nuts and its derivatives contain about 5-8 grams of protein per ounce [5]. It is also a good source of iron, calcium, vitamin E, and phosphorus. Nuts are recommended to be consumed raw without any added preservatives to fully utilize its benefits. Among all varieties, almonds provide us with the most amount of protein. Moreover, nuts are loaded with antioxidants and also aid weight loss. Certain seeds such as flax and chia help reduce the risk of heart diseases and are rich sources of protein and dietary fiber.

6. Green Peas: Green peas contain 5 grams of protein per 100 grams [6]. Often confused as vegetables, peas are actually a part of the legume family and is one of the best sources of plant-based protein. Although peas are not considered as a source of complete protein and lack amino acid methionine, they can be paired with protein-rich food to make up for that deficit. Peas also have high fiber content which makes digestion easier. The high protein content of peas also boosts muscle and bone strength. They also contain polyphenol antioxidants which help in keeping our body healthy.

References:

  1.     https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4325078/
  2.     https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4711439/
  3.     https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5793271/
  4.     https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172421/nutrients
  5.     https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17125529
  6.     https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22916813

There Are 6 Types of Hunger, Here’s The Psychology Behind Them

Do you think you always eat when you are genuinely hungry? Does your hunger control your eating patterns? Do you often fall in the guilt-trap after relishing the food that you always wanted to avoid? Then you should read further.

Mindless eating can harm your physical and mental health. And that’s where the psychology of eating healthy comes into play. It is about identifying out eating behaviors and taking control of our appetite to gain actual benefits of food, which include providing nourishment to the body, maintaining metabolism and feeling great throughout the day!

Here we discuss six different types of hunger to help you make out what type of hunger you have.

Types of Hunger

1. Eye Hunger:

Eye hunger happens when your eyes signal the mind that it is hungry [1]. In this case, it’s not your body that wants the food but your eyes. Imagine this, you just had dinner and see that ice-cream cart, which seems too good to pass.

Here your eyes send the message to the brain that it is allured by the image of the ice cream, which is in front of you and that you should have it. Here the eyes override the information from the body, stomach and mouth, hence called the eye hunger.

Signs: Getting allured by the food that’s in front of you even though you are full.

Manage eye hunger: Instead of rushing to have the food that you just saw, stop and notice with awareness. Be mindful. Tell your mind that you feel content, no longer hungry and don’t need to eat more.

2. Nose Hunger:

Smells can evoke different kinds of responses. This is a type of hunger, where you feel hungry after smelling the aroma of the food. For instance, the tempting smell of freshly baked cake can generate the urge to have it even though you are not hungry. In fact, research depicts that food odours influence food choices and desire to consume certain foods [2].

Signs: Smell of food evoke a feeling of hungriness

Managing nose hunger: Engage in the smell of the food. Tell yourself that food is not on your mind since you already had your breakfast, lunch or snacks.

3. Mouth Hunger:

This type of hanger arises when you want to eat something that has a particular texture or taste [3]. This has much to do with our food habits in the family, cultural traditions, conditioning and even genetics. This may include how salty, sweet or spicy we want our foods to be. This could lead to mindless eating as though our stomach may be full, our mouth would still crave for more sensation of taste.

Signs: Wanting to eat something that has a particular flavor or texture – examples, include pastry, chocolate or chips.

Managing mouth hunger:  Instead of swallowing the food after a few chews, chew your food slowly.

4. Stomach Hunger:

The growling feeling in your stomach, as if something is eating away inside may indicate that you are hungry [4]. However, this cue may at times be misleading because we inadvertently train our body to feel hungry by eating at the same time every day.

Signs: Grouchy feeling in the stomach, light-headedness,

Managing stomach hunger: While eating food, be aware of how full you are feeling. Once in a while, pause for a few seconds and ask yourself, “If you are still hungry?” [5].

5. Cellular Hunger:

When our body demands what our mind is asking for such as citrus juices, salads, starch, protein or solids etc. then we term it as cellular hunger [1]. Our minds crave specific nutrients during certain times and cellular hunger is a way to tell us exactly that [6]. This type of hunger is more difficult to bring awareness to as other types of hunger easily override cellular hunger.

Signs: Craving for specific foods       

Managing cellular hunger: Eating healthily is a way to nourish your body with the right nutrients

6. Heart Hunger:

Also termed as emotional eating, heart hunger is often related to our emotions, wherein we resort to certain “comfort foods” to make ourselves feel loved or better [7]. Research reveals that people in a negative state of mind (sad, stressed out, angry) opt for comfort foods to satiate their emotions.

Signs: Unpleasant emotions

Managing Heart Hunger: Be patient, slow down, take a few moments to understand what your body really needs right now. It could be carb, protein, rest, listening to music, going for a walk etc.

References:

  1. https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/seven_hungers
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/food-science/food-odor
  3. https://thirahealth.com/understanding-hunger-decoding-important-messages-from-your-body/
  4. https://www.samhealth.org/about-samaritan/news-search/2018/08/20/take-control-of-your-hunger
  5. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/aa155258
  6. Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship  
  7. https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/emo-emo0000422.pdf

What Does Gluten Do To Your Body, and Why Does Everyone Avoid It?

With gluten-free diets becoming more prevalent in recent days, most people laugh it out considering it as just another diet fad that will fade with time. However, people need to educate themselves on the topic first before judging the food choices.

What is gluten? It is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and spelt. Gluten acts like a bonding agent that helps hold the grain together. It imparts a stretchy quality to the dough. Now, though gluten is a protein, most people have started avoiding it for various reasons. Some follow a gluten-free diet to help control symptoms associated with gluten-induced conditions while some go gluten-free because they believe it will help them control health issues such as chronic fatigue, weight gain, headaches and depression [1].

What exactly gluten does to your body?

In some people, gluten can cause havoc. The immune cells of their body identify it as a toxin and start attacking it, which over time can cause inflammation in the body [2]. Some of the major side effects of consuming gluten diet include bloating, diarrhea, weight loss, intestinal damage, etc.

Here are some conditions that are either caused by intake consumption of gluten through a diet:

  1. Celiac disease

Celiac disease also known as gluten-sensitive enteropathy is an autoimmune disorder, which generates immune reaction to eating gluten [3]. In such a condition, eating a diet that contains gluten can harm the villi of the small intestine and result in the poor absorption of nutrients [4]. A person suffering from this disease may have symptoms such as anemia, osteoporosis, skin rashes, elevated liver enzymes, depression, headaches, and they may suffer from infertility or miscarriages. Pediatric patients may have unexplained growth failure, short stature, suffer from diarrhea, delayed puberty, and iron deficiency.

  1. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is also referred to as gluten-sensitive enteropathy (GSE) or gluten intolerance [5]. The symptoms of GSE seem similar to that of celiac disease. However, there won’t be any increase in the antibodies’ levels and intestinal damage. Since there is no diagnostic test available to detect GSE, it is determined by a negative diagnostic celiac test and watching out for the persisting symptoms.

  1. Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH)

Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) is a type of skin rash that is caused as a reaction to eating gluten [5]. It is also an autoimmune disorder that causes persistent red, itchy rashes on the skin. These rashes may later produce blisters and bumps. It is possible for people suffering from celiac disease to have DH but those with DH may not have celiac disease.

  1. Gluten ataxia

Gluten ataxia is an autoimmune disorder triggered by the consumption of gluten [6]. It affects the nerve tissues and creates problems with voluntary muscle movement and muscle control.

  1. Wheat allergy

Wheat allergy is caused when the immune system mistakes gluten or some proteins found in wheat as a foreign agent such as a virus or bacterium. Here, the immune system releases antibodies to counter the protein, resulting in difficulty breathing, congestion etc.

Gluten Wasn’t An Issue With The Older Generation Then Why It Is now?

Grains such as wheat, rye, barley etc. have been the staple food of various cultures for many centuries across the world. Our ancestors ate grains (though they have not been of the same variety) through various food preparations for years, then why gluten is an issue now.

Dr William Davis, author of the “Wheat Belly” and Dr David Perlmutter shedding light on this topic speculate that gluten debate can be attributed to the hybridization of grains carried out to increase their nutritional value and gluten content [7].

While this claim has not been established yet, dietary gluten continues to be a real problem for many people around the world. Gluten-free diet thus remains the cornerstone of therapy for all gluten-dependent conditions.

 References:

  1. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000813.htm
  2. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/gluten/
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/celiac-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20352220
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5439366/
  5. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/gluten/
  6. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/gluten-free-diet/art-20048530
  7. https://thehealthsciencesacademy.org/health-tips/gluten-free/

Keep Calm And Have These Foods To Beat The Heat

Summers are fun until you have to leave the house and deal with the heat, sweat, dehydration and irritation. As much as it is irritating and annoying, it is also the root of a lot of problems. Prolonged exposure to heat can cause illnesses such as exhaustion, cramps and even sunstrokes.

In a country like India where the temperatures are usually high, it becomes important to take care of yourself. You must take precautionary steps to avoid heat-related illnesses. While you cannot control the heat outside, you can work on maintaining it from the inside. What you eat plays an important role in maintaining the body temperature, and keeping your body cool. Here’s a list of healthy and easily available foods that will keep you cool and hydrated during the hot sunny days. 

Beverages

The key to keeping your cool in the heat is to keep yourself hydrated, and what can keep you hydrated better than the liquid itself. However, water is not the only liquid you should look up to as an option. There are plenty of other sources in nature that will help you keep your water-levels on point. 

  1. Coconut Water

Coconut water is loaded with vitamins and minerals like potassium, sodium and calcium. It also contains electrolytes that are effective in re-hydration and energizes your body when you have heat stress. Having just one serving of coconut water can rejuvenate your body.   

  1. Buttermilk

Buttermilk (Chaas) is high in potassium, vitamin B12 and calcium. It is a rich source of probiotics that help build healthy bacteria that are good for the gut. Buttermilk is also a good source of phosphorus that helps the body restore its natural energy when it’s feeling drained by the heat. 

  1. Lime Water

This one particular beverage is easily found in every nook and corner, is easy to make and really cheap, but has multiple health benefits. A glass of nimbu paani will refresh you when you are down and drained. 

Fruits

Summer heat can make us feel lethargic, which not only affects the person’s performance, but affects the appetite as well. It is hard to enjoy a heavy meal during the summers, especially in the afternoons when the sun is literally above your heads. However, skipping the meal is not a wise thing to do. Something that you can do is replace your mid-day meal with some healthy fruits that are rich in water content. 

  1. Watermelon:

As the name suggests watermelon is one of the best hydrating foods. Watermelon is around 90% water and a great alternative to help you out this summer, will also tickle your sweet tooth with its natural sugars. It is full of antioxidants that help remove free radicals from the body that are produced during natural processes, such as metabolism. Watermelon must be a part of your diet this summer. 

  1. Cucumber:

Loaded with fibre and contains a high amount of water, eating cucumber in summer will help you keep constipation at bay, which is often a major cause of water-loss in the body. The water content of cucumber is nearly 95%, so it will not only keep your body cool but will also keep you hydrated. 

  1. Pomegranate:

Intake of pomegranate in the summers is highly recommended. They have sun protective compounds that protect the skin from sunburn and reduce the signs of skin damage. The oil from pomegranate seeds contain the antioxidant ellagic acid that helps inhibit skin tumors, not only protecting you from skin damage but also skin cancer.

Vegetables:

Summers can be an uncomfortable time. Therefore, it is really important to keep your diet on point. Including food items that are rich in water content and other essential elements becomes necessary. Here are a few veggies that you can include in your diet. 

  1. Tomatoes:

Lycopene, the pigment that makes tomatoes red can protect you from the sun, hence it is recommended to include tomatoes in your diet in summers. Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K, and are considered to be a superfood when it comes to sun protection.

  1. Carrots:

Carrots are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, minerals and fiber making it a super healthy food item. The beta-carotene in carrots reduce reactions of sunburn protecting your skin. 

  1. Radish:

Radish is a great source of vitamin C that helps lower the body heat. Apart from being water-rich, radish also has anti-inflammatory properties that effectively fight heat stress and fatigue.

How To Survive An Indian Wedding On Keto

We don’t know about you, but food is perhaps the sole reason we attend weddings. On getting there, almost everyone makes a beeline towards the aromas wafting from the various counters lined with everything delicious… but what about that keto diet you’ve been on for a while now?

Following any kind of diet takes a lot of will power and we have all been tempted to indulge in a cheat-day at some point or other. The keto diet includes cutting down on your daily carbohydrate intake. This diet focuses on losing weight and is high-fat. It includes consuming fewer calories from carbohydrates and more from fats and protein. In absence of carbs, the body burns and breaks down the stored fats for energy; this is called ketosis.

For the diet to work, your body needs to stay in ketosis and consuming carbs can have the opposite effect. The whole process of maintaining your keto diet becomes more difficult when it’s the wedding season with its never-ending buffet spreads. To make your job easier, here’s a list of 5 Indian dishes that you can indulge in at a wedding on a keto diet.

1. Palak Paneer: Paneer is your best friend during the keto diet. According to studies [1], 100 grams of paneer contains only 3.4 grams of carbohydrate which is ideal for your keto diet. Whereas, palak contains only 3.6 grams of carbohydrate per 100 grams. Therefore, a combination of palak and paneer cannot go wrong while you are trying to maintain your keto diet. Paneer bhurji and paneer tikka are also keto-friendly options.

2. Chicken Tikka: Now you can have your favorite chicken dish while on a keto diet! Chicken is a great source of protein for your body and is a keto-friendly option. Chicken with added vegetables can turn out to be a delicious ketogenic meal. However, remember to avoid the gravy or sauce.

3. Egg Curry: Apart from being one of the most versatile foods, eggs are also keto-friendly. One large egg contains less than 1 gram of carbs and fewer than 6 grams of protein, making eggs an ideal food for a ketogenic lifestyle [2]. Scrambled or in a curry, you don’t need to think twice before indulging in eggs.

4. Mutton Seekh Kebab: Since the ketogenic diet is all about high fat and low carb, fatty meat such as lamb, bacon, and pork belly are good food options. Usually marinated with curd and tandoori masala, mutton seekh kebabs are a regular at weddings and can be eaten on a ketogenic diet.

5. Baingan Ka Bharta: 100 grams of baingan or brinjal has just 6 grams of carbs, which is lesser than the carb content of many other vegetables. Baingan can be prepared in different ways, but smoked baingan with veggies and seasoning can take the cake away!

Without proper planning, the expansive buffet spreads can take a massive toll on your diet. To keep your food intake in check, it is advisable to indulge in a nutritious high-fiber meal before the event. This helps you stay fuller and prevents you from overeating. Make sure to plan your meals ahead and save your calories for the wedding buffet. Drinking water before the event will also help curb your hunger.

There are certain obvious keto non-friendly dishes that you should avoid at all costs. Steer clear from breads such as naan and kulcha as they are high in carbs and full of gluten. Rice and starchy vegetables such as potatoes and corn should also be avoided. It is a good idea to give the appetizers a miss as they usually tend to be deep-fried and full of carbs; chomp on some salad instead. Portion control can also work wonders for you at a wedding or any other social gathering.

If you’re a drinker, go for pure spirits such as vodka, tequila, and gin, as opposed to sugary drinks like Jagermeister and wine. For mixers, opt for something diet or just go with the plain old soda. Also, what’s a big fat Indian wedding without some latke-jhatke! Burn those extra calories on the dance floor and don’t forget to have fun.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4008736/
  2. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/111/2