Tempeh and Noodle Salad

Complete meal in a bowl.

Spice up your salad with this simple but delicious vegan recipe.

It’s a salad, but it’s also a complete healthy entrée. Made with fresh vegetables and delicious noodles, tender and juicy tempeh has 25 to 40 grams of protein, 600 calories and a lot of flavor. What else can you ask for?

25 g/400

Protein (approx.)/calories (approx.)

40 g/600

Protein (approx.)/calories (approx.)

1 tsp 1 tsp Sesame oil
2 tsp 2 tsp Canola oil
2 tsp 2 tsp Rice vinegar
1 tsp 1 tsp Low sodium soy sauce
Dash Dash Ground white pepper
½ cup 1 cup Cooked soba (buckwheat) noodles
1 1 Carrot, grated
2 2 Green onions, chopped
1 cup 2 cups Asparagus spears, cooked, chilled and chopped into 2-inch pieces
2 oz. 4 oz. Tempeh, crumbled
½ cup ½ cup Cooked edamame (green soybeans)

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Go Meatless for Your Protein

Try plant-based proteins.

Maybe you’ve decided you want to go meatless once in a while. It could be for health reasons, environmental reasons, or maybe you want to save a little cash. Even if you’re going meatless only occasionally, your meals will be more satisfying if you get in a good dose of protein. Milk products and eggs will work, of course, but if you want to go strictly with plant proteins, you might be hard-pressed to think of anything beyond rice, beans or veggie burgers. So, here’s a rundown of a few less well-known plant proteins that you might want to try.

Types of Plant Proteins

Many people are familiar with tofu, which is basically cheese that’s made from soy milk. It’s available in textures ranging from very soft to very firm. Soft tofu works great in smoothies and shakes, while firmer tofu can be marinated and grilled for a tasty meat substitute. You can also freeze it. When you thaw it out, it releases its liquid and crumbles, so it makes a good substitute for ground meat. Calories and protein content vary: generally speaking, the firmer the tofu, the higher the protein content. Six ounces of extra-firm tofu have about 90 calories and 12 grams of protein.

There’s another tofu product you may not be familiar with—tofu skin, or yuba. Yuba forms on top of the soy milk when it’s heated in the tofu-making process, not unlike the skin that forms on top of regular milk when it’s heated in a saucepan to make cocoa. It’s usually sold dried, so it needs to be soaked in water before use. But if you can find fresh yuba, you’re in for a treat. These thin, pliable tofu sheets can be cut into thin strips and added like noodles to soups or stir-fries. Or you can use yuba in place of a tortilla to make a wrap. Three ounces of ready-to-eat yuba have about 150 calories and 21 grams of protein.

Tempeh is similar to tofu in that it is made from soy. It’s made from the whole bean, not just the soy milk, which gives it a firmer, chewier texture. The soybeans are fermented, too, which gives tempeh an earthier flavor that’s usually described as nutty, meaty and mushroomy. Another plus: the fermentation reduces a lot of the gassiness that often comes with eating soybeans. Tempeh freezes well, and you can also grate it to use in dishes that call for ground meat. Tempeh is sold refrigerated, and three ounces have about 16 grams of protein and 170 calories.

If you’ve ever eaten at an Asian restaurant and seen ‘mock duck’ on the menu, it’s usually referring to seitan, or ‘wheat meat’—so called because seitan is made of wheat gluten. Seitan is usually found in the grocery store as a refrigerated block that you can slice or dice before cooking. Seitan can be baked, steamed, fried or simmered in a soup or stew. Since it has very little flavor of its own, it picks up the taste of whatever it’s cooked with. Three ounces of seitan have 90 calories and about 18 grams of protein. It should go without saying that if you’re gluten sensitive, this would not be the protein for you.

You may be less familiar with mycoprotein, derived from a microfungus that’s cultured and grown in large vats. It’s not unlike the way yeast (also a fungus) is cultured to produce the familiar product we use for baking. The mycoprotein is then incorporated into all sorts of meat alternatives that have a texture very similar to chicken and a mild mushroom-like taste. Most offer at least 10 grams of protein per serving, but calories can range from 90 per serving to more than 200, depending on the item. If you’re vegan, read labels carefully—some mycoprotein products contain egg white as a binder.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

The Best Nutrients for Bone Health

Leafy greens promote bone strength.

Do you know the best foods to eat to create a strong structure for your body? Here are some key nutrients that help support strong bones.

Ask most people what nutrients are needed to support bone health and they’ll likely say calcium and vitamin D. And they would be right, of course. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body (most of it is socked away in our bones and teeth), and vitamin D is critically important in helping the body absorb calcium. But many other nutrients play an important role in keeping bones strong and healthy.

Nutrients for Great Bone Health

Bone is a living, growing tissue. It’ made up of a collagen, a protein that forms a soft framework for bone, and a mineral component called hydroxyapatite, made primarily of calcium and phosphorus which are deposited in this framework to give bones strength and hardness. In addition to protein, calcium and phosphorus, there are other nutrients that help support bone health. Here are some key bone-building nutrients and where to find them.

Calcium

Calcium makes up about 2% of your total body weight, and most of it is stored in your skeleton.
Where to find it: Milk and milk products (yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.), almonds, green leafy vegetables.

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body, and it combines with calcium to form the crystalline structure of bone.
Where to find it: Phosphorus is in many different foods, and most people get plenty in the diet. Major sources include milk, fish, poultry, meat, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium from the digestive tract.
Where to find it: Fatty fish, liver, some fortified foods. Many people don’t consume enough vitamin D, however, and may benefit from taking supplements.

Magnesium

Magnesium stimulates the production of the hormone calcitonin, which helps to move calcium from the bloodstream into the bones. It’s also needed to convert vitamin D into its active form, which, in turn, supports calcium absorption.
Where to find it: Green leafy vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

Potassium

Potassium helps to maintain calcium balance in the body, and it helps to reduce the loss of calcium in urine.
Where to find it: Melons, tomatoes, bananas, peaches, oranges, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, beans.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is necessary for the formation of collagen, the protein matrix of bone tissue.
Where to find it: Citrus fruits, broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries, kiwifruit, peppers, green leafy veggies.

Boron

Boron is a mineral that supports the body’s use of other bone-building nutrients, including magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin D.
Where to find it: Dried fruits like prunes, raisins and apricots, also peanut butter and avocados.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Want to Build Muscle? It Takes More Than Just Protein

Eat high-quality carbs to build muscles.

Protein is important for building muscle, but other nutrients play an important role as well.

If you were to ask most people what it takes to build muscle, they’d probably say that you just need to eat protein, protein and more protein. Protein is important, to be sure. After all, your muscles are made of protein, and your body requires adequate protein in the diet in order to have the building blocks it needs to build up muscle mass. But protein alone won’t do. You need to pay attention to the rest of your diet as well.

Essential Nutrients to Build Muscle

A lot of men who are trying to bulk up are also trying to lose body fat at the same time. But sometimes the approaches they use to meet those goals are at odds with each other. They’ll take in plenty of protein, which, when coupled with a strength training routine, should lead to more lean mass. But they may also cut their total calories back too far in an effort to get “shredded.”

That can be a problem. If you cut your calories too much, some of the protein that you eat is going to be burned for fuel, rather than being used to support muscle development. So, to effectively build muscle mass, you want to ensure that you have enough calories to support your activity, and the right balance of nutrients, too.

    Carbohydrates:

    Many bodybuilders see carbs as the enemy, and that can be a mistake. Yes, highly refined carbohydrates and sweets hardly do the body good. But the right carbohydrates found in whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables help to fuel activity, including working muscles. Without adequate carbohydrate to fuel your exercise, some of the protein you’re eating might get burned for fuel. So, to avoid “burning the candle at both ends,” make sure to include enough high-quality carbs in your diet.

    Fat:

    Dietary fat is sometimes underappreciated by some athletes. Like carbs, fats may have an undeserved bad reputation. Small amounts of the right kinds of fats are really important. That’s because certain fatty acids, the building blocks of dietary fats, are essential because the body can’t make them. Fatty acids are a vital structural component of every cell membrane, including muscle cells. The body relies on fat to fuel moderate intensity, longer-term exercise. That’s just the type of exercise that might be coupled with a strength-training regimen to build mass and lose body fat. Focus on the “good” sources, like nuts, seeds, fish, olive oil and avocado.

    Protein:

    Eating the right amount of protein is important for stimulating muscle development, and so is the timing of protein intake. The process of muscle protein synthesis (MPS) is stimulated by strength training activity. But it’s also stimulated when you eat protein. This is one reason that strength-training athletes should aim to spread their protein intake fairly evenly over meals and snacks throughout the day. MPS is greater under these conditions than it is under a more typical pattern in which little protein is consumed in the morning, a bit more at lunch and then a large amount at dinner. And a bedtime snack containing about 25g of protein can help to stimulate MPS during the night.

Both plant and animal sources provide the necessary building blocks for MPS. “Fast-digesting” proteins are high in the amino acid leucine, found in a range of both plant and animal proteins. This includes soy, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds and beans, all of which stimulate MPS. And more slowly digested proteins, such as egg and milk proteins, may help to prolong the MPS process.

At this point, there’s nothing to suggest that “fast” proteins are better than “slow” proteins, or vice versa. What’s more important to know is that protein needs can be met from both plant and animal sources. With careful planning and attention to total intake, even vegetarians or vegans can consume enough protein to support muscle development.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

7 Ways to Add Protein to Foods

Add protein_6.12Looking to add more protein to your diet?  Here are some simple, delicious ways to boost your protein intake.

Getting enough protein at meals isn’t usually difficult, especially if your meal centers around a protein-rich piece of chicken or fish.  But when your menu features items that may not be as protein-rich – like soups or pasta dishes, for example – you might want to consider some add-ins to provide a protein boost to your meal.

In order to work more protein into your day, protein-rich eggs, dairy products, protein powders, beans and tofu can all be used to add more protein to everyday dishes.  Here are some ways to use these foods to help you meet your protein goals at every meal.

7 Ways to Add More Protein To Everyday Dishes

  • Protein powder is a natural in smoothies, but you can also stir protein powder into hot cereals, scrambled eggs, cottage cheese or yogurt.  You can also “power up” your baked goods by adding protein powder to your recipes for items like bran muffins, whole grain pancakes or banana bread.  Or, try making a “protein chai” – blend vanilla protein powder into a smooth paste with a little water, then top off with hot tea and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  • Eggs are super-versatile protein boosters and a single egg, or two whites, contributes about 7 grams of protein.  Hard-boiled eggs are great to keep around to round out a snack, to chop into a tossed salad, slice onto a sandwich or as a source of protein in a vegetable curry.  You can give a protein boost to soup by slowly pouring beaten eggs into simmering broth (they’ll cook almost immediately). Or, try stirring some egg whites into oatmeal as it cooks – it will help thicken up the cereal, but won’t change the flavor.
  • Nonfat cottage cheese offers up a good boost of protein along with bone-building calcium. You can stir cottage cheese into cooked scrambled eggs, casseroles, mashed potatoes or pasta dishes; or, try whirling it in the blender with beans for a high-protein dip for raw veggies.  You can give baked goods a protein boost by sneaking some cottage cheese into your recipes for pancakes, waffles and muffins.
  • Milk and soy milk (not almond or rice milk, which have very little protein) can replace other liquids called for in recipes and boost the protein. Depending on the recipe, milk can often stand in for broth, juice or wine in lots of dishes.  Make your oatmeal with milk instead of water, and you’ll get an extra 7 to 10 grams of protein, or give soups a creamy protein boost by substituting milk for part of the broth or water.
  • Beans are a good source of protein and can be added either whole or mashed to foods like soups, stews, casseroles, pasta sauces, curries, salads or guacamole.  Hummus can be used as a spread for sandwiches or wraps to add some extra protein, or it can be thinned down with a little water and used as a salad dressing.  Mild-tasting white beans can even be added to protein shakes – their flavor is hardly noticeable, and beans add a thick, creamy texture.
  • Tofu has such a mild flavor that it can be sneaked into a lot of dishes for a protein boost. You can add it to protein shakes, or blend it until smooth and add to sauces, casseroles, eggs and pasta dishes, or use as a base for a healthy dip for veggies.  You can also cut firm tofu into cubes and add to salads, soups and stir-fries.
  • Plain, nonfat yogurt adds a tangy protein boost to protein shakes, oatmeal, soups, sauces and curries.  If you’re adding to hot foods, stir in at the last minute to prevent it from curdling.  Plain yogurt can also replace mayonnaise in tuna, chicken or egg salads.  Even salad dressing can get a protein boost from yogurt – whisk plain nonfat yogurt with salt, pepper, garlic, herbs and a drizzle of olive oil for a tangy dressing for your greens.

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

How To Make Healthy Foods Taste Great

Healthy_Foods_Taste_Great

Healthy foods shouldn’t be bland and boring! Try these tips to make healthy foods taste great!

When someone complains to me that “healthy foods don’t taste good,” it’s often because they simply don’t know how to prepare them.  I think healthy foods taste great, but that’s only because I’ve learned – admittedly, over many years – how to cook and season them in order to enhance their naturally delicious flavors.  You can make vegetables, fish, poultry, whole grains and fruits taste great.  Here’s how.

Why Don’t You Like Healthy Foods?

If you’re not used to eating healthy fruits, veggies, lean proteins and whole grains, you may feel that you simply don’t like them.  If your diet consists of a lot of processed foods that are overloaded with salt, fat and sugar, it could be that your taste buds are simply accustomed to these tastes – which, by the way, are often needed to pump up the flavor of these highly processed foods that would otherwise be pretty bland.

You may be so unaccustomed to the natural flavors in foods (and so used to the salty, fatty, sweet flavors in your daily diet) that the only way you can choke down the healthy foods is to douse them with more salt, fat and sugar.

It could also be that you haven’t learned how to select and prepare healthy foods in order to get the most flavor.  Maybe, like many people, you equate “healthy” eating with “plain”  – so your meals consist of “plain” broiled chicken or “plain” steamed vegetables without seasoning.  I don’t know if this is some form of dietary self-sabotage (or a form of punishment!), but I can certainly see how a plain, bland diet could turn people off.  On the other hand, I truly believe that healthy foods – properly prepared – are incredibly flavorful and delicious.

There are two keys to making healthy foods taste good.  The first is to start with the best possible ingredients.  When foods are as fresh as can be, they’re at their peak of quality – which means they’re also at their peak of flavor.

The second key to making healthy foods taste good is to learn how to cook and season them.  It helps if you’re willing to be a little fearless in the kitchen.  If you’re not much of a cook, you might not trust your instincts, and worry that you’ll make a “mistake”.  But that’s part of the fun, and it’s also how you learn to enhance flavors, not to simply cover them up.

How To Make Healthy Foods Taste Delicious

How to Make Vegetables Taste Great

  • Buy in season as much as possible, or purchase frozen vegetables.
  • Season with garlic, onion, citrus, vinegar, herbs, soy sauce.
  • Sprinkle with nuts, seeds, or a little shaved parmesan cheese.
  • Saute in broth, wine or a little flavorful oil – olive, sesame or walnut.
  • Roast to mellow and concentrate the flavor.  Toss veggies with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in a single layer on a cookie sheet in a 425 degree (Gas Mark 7) oven for about 20 minutes until tender and beginning to caramelize.
  • Mix several veggies together.  Mixtures are more enticing to the eye and the palate.
  • Blanch then stir-fry.  Blanching is especially good for strong-tasting veggies like broccoli and cauliflower, and it helps to both season the veggies and take away some of the very strong flavors.  Blanch cut veggies in boiling, salted water for 60 seconds.  Drain, then stir-fry in a little oil with garlic and a drizzle of soy sauce.
  • Massage strong-tasting greens like kale or cabbage before eating them raw.  Finely slice the greens, then massage under a spray of warm water for a minute or two.  This softens the texture slightly and removes some of the ‘raw’ taste.  Rinse with cold water to refresh, then dry thoroughly and dress with a little vinaigrette.
  • Sweeten your veggies to contrast with the strong taste.  Slice a fresh apple, pear or orange into your green salad, or a few golden raisins to a broccoli stir-fry.

How to Make Fish, Poultry or Tofu Taste Great

  • Marinating your proteins before cooking boosts flavor, and also helps keep these foods moist and tender.  Acidic foods help to tenderize, so include some citrus juice, vinegar, or yogurt in your marinade.
  • Rubs are mixtures of seasonings – usually salt, pepper, herbs and spices – that are liberally “rubbed” into the surface of your protein (dry rub) or mixed into a paste with a little prepared mustard, oil, mashed garlic or yogurt (wet rub).  There are endless variations on rub mixtures – if you don’t trust your instincts to make your own, you might start with a commercial seasoning mix.  After applying the rub, place food in the refrigerator and let the rub penetrate for at least 30 minutes or up to several hours before cooking.
  • Fish and poultry tend to be dry, but poaching them in a flavorful liquid gives you a moist and flavorful result.  You can use vegetable, mushroom, fish or chicken stock and for more flavor, you can add sliced lemon, onion, garlic, fresh herbs and peppercorns to the liquid.
  • Top with something as simple as a squeeze of lemon juice and a shower of parsley, a drizzle of olive oil or a few dashes of soy sauce.  Or, top with salsa (tomato or fruit), tomato sauce, sautéed mushrooms or onions, or sliced avocado.

How to Make Whole Grains Taste Great

  • Saute first in a little oil over medium heat.  Most whole grains have a naturally nutty flavor, and when you sauté them until the just start to toast a little bit, it brings out this delicious taste.
  • Season with spices.  You can add spices while you sauté your grains – many of the flavorful and aromatic compounds in spices are fat-soluble, so this technique helps to release more flavor from the spices.  There’s no limit to what spices you can use.  Some of my favorites include ground cumin, curry powder, cinnamon, ginger or dried orange peel.
  • Add vegetables and herbs.  Cooking vegetables along with your grains helps you boost your vegetable intake and it adds lots of flavor and color to your dish.  As you sauté your grains, you can add onion, garlic, chopped broccoli, grated carrot, diced pepper, chopped tomato, or some herbs like parsley, thyme, oregano or basil.
  • Cover with a flavorful liquid.  Instead of water, cook your grains or beans with chicken, vegetable or mushroom stock, or diluted tomato juice.

How to Make Fruits Taste Great

  • Buy in season as much as possible, or purchase frozen fruits.
  • Sprinkle with sweet spices (like cinnamon, clove or nutmeg), citrus juice or a few drops of balsamic vinegar.
  • Blend fruits into your protein shakes to add delicious flavor and texture.
  • Mix different fruits into a fruit salad.  The flavors play off one another, and the beautiful colors add appeal.
  • Dip cut fruits into a mixture of plain nonfat yogurt sweetened with a little bit of pure maple syrup.

What tricks do you have for making healthy foods taste good?  Share them below!

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

10 Healthy Breakfast Ideas to jump start your day

A balanced breakfast should
include protein.

Choosing the right foods for breakfast can help boost energy and curb hunger.

Eating a healthy breakfast really can set the stage for healthier eating all day long. The right foods in the morning can provide you with the energy you need to power through until lunch. And with a healthy breakfast in your system, you’re less likely to experience mid-morning cravings for unhealthy foods. Eating the right foods can help keep you satisfied and energized until your next meal or snack.

What Is a Good Breakfast?

The foods you eat for breakfast can affect how you feel and perform throughout your morning. There are several things that a good breakfast can do for you.

A healthy breakfast can…
  • Keep you fueled up until your next meal or snack. A well balanced breakfast should provide you with staying power. Foods with protein help to satisfy hunger, and high fiber foods help to fill you up.
  • Supply your body and brain with energy. In the morning, your body’s gas tank is running close to empty. When you eat the right foods for breakfast, you’re providing your muscles and brain with the fuel they need for optimal performance.
  • Help avoid blood sugar swings and reduce cravings. A balanced meal that contains both protein and healthy carbohydrates can provide sustained energy throughout your system, and help prevent wild swings in your blood sugar that trigger cravings for sweets or other unhealthy foods. (This applies as long as you don’t have any medical issues regarding your body’s ability to regulate your blood sugar.)
  • Help you make better food choices throughout the day. Breakfast skippers often experience food cravings for sweets and fats that can persist throughout the day. When breakfast is eaten, the cravings for sweets drop dramatically. If the breakfast is high in protein, it tends to also reduce cravings for salty, fatty foods. So, the right foods in the morning can help reduce cravings for unhealthy foods later in the day, and steer you towards healthier choices.
  • Provide enough protein to help support muscle health. Eating enough protein in the morning not only helps satisfy hunger, it can also help maintain muscle health. For many people, typical daily meals tend to provide little protein at breakfast, a bit more at lunch, and a much larger amount at dinner. This is a pattern that may not provide the best conditions for building and repairing muscle tissue. Muscle protein synthesis can improve when protein intake is more evenly distributed throughout the day.

10 Healthy Breakfast Ideas

A balanced breakfast should provide you with a decent amount of protein (20-30 grams is a good target). This helps satisfy hunger and supports muscle health, and along with some healthy carbohydrates can provide sustained energy and fiber. Carbohydrates should include, at the very least, some fruits or vegetables. If your calorie budget allows, add some whole grains as well.

With these simple guidelines, it’s easy to put together a healthy, well-balanced breakfast. Here are 10 healthy breakfast suggestions:

    1. Cook some fresh or frozen spinach in the microwave, top with scrambled eggs or egg whites and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, fresh fruit on the side
    2. Protein shake made with protein powder, low-fat milk or soy milk and fruit
    3. Plain nonfat or low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese topped with fresh fruit and cinnamon, or chopped raw vegetables and some fresh black pepper
    4. Rolled oats prepared with milk or soy milk; stir in protein powder and fruit after cooking
    5. Corn tortillas, heated and spread with black beans; top with grated low-fat cheese and salsa; fresh fruit
    6. Whole grain toast spread with avocado and topped with slices of turkey breast; fresh fruit
    7. Scramble extra-firm tofu, drained, crumbled in a little olive oil with fresh vegetables and herbs; fresh fruit
    8. Whole grain crackers spread with nonfat ricotta cheese and topped with sliced berries
    9. Salmon patty on a toasted whole-grain English muffin; fresh fruit
    10. Leftovers: whole grains, protein and veggies make a great breakfast

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

What is protein, and why you need to eat it

What is protein? Healthy Eating Advice from HerbalifeProtein. Let’s discuss what is is, why it’s important and where you can find it! You may know what foods contain protein, but have you ever wondered what protein actually is – and why you need to eat it every day? 

Protein is, of course, a vital component of a healthy diet.  Most of us have known this since we were kids – probably from being told that protein would make us “big and strong”.  And, while there’s some debate as to who actually created the word “protein” (it first appeared in the scientific literature in 1838), there’s no disagreement that it was derived from the Greek word “protos” – meaning “first rank or position” – in recognition of how important protein is to life.   

What Are Proteins Made Of?

The proteins you eat (and the proteins in your body) are all made up of small units, called amino acids. You often hear amino acids described as “building blocks” because these small individual units are assembled in various ways to build proteins.

I like to think of amino acids in the same way as letters of the alphabet.  We use just 26 letters to make up all of the words that we write and speak.  Some words are short, some are long – but we create millions of words from just 26 letters.  And, the final sequence of the letters is what gives each word its sound, and its meaning.

Similarly, there are 20 amino acids that can be strung together to make proteins – the ones you eat, and the ones that are made by your body.  And just as we don’t use all 26 letters to make every word, most proteins don’t contain all 20 amino acids, either.

But – just as letters are strung together to make words – amino acids can be strung together in different sequences and in different lengths (from just a few amino acids to several thousand) to make different proteins.  And, the sequence of amino acids gives each protein its “meaning” – because the final structure of the amino acid chain determines specifically what that protein is, and what it does.

The Proteins You Eat

Maybe you never thought about it, but not all food proteins are the same.  The sequence of amino acids that creates the white of an egg is much different from the arrangement of amino acids that creates the protein in a glass of milk.

When you eat foods that provide protein, then, it should make sense that different foods contain different proteins (and usually more than one) – even though they’re all made up of amino acids.

For example, when you eat milk or yogurt, you’re eating proteins called casein and whey.  When you eat meat or fish or poultry, you would be eating – among others – proteins called collagen and myosin.  Beans have proteins called legumins, and eggs contain a number of different proteins, including one called avidin and one called ovalbumin.

Each of these proteins is unique because each is made up of a unique sequence of amino acids.  And once the proteins are digested and absorbed, their amino acids can then be used as building blocks for the proteins within your body.

The Proteins Your Body Makes

As protein foods travel through the digestive tract, they’re ultimately broken back down into their individual amino acids, which are absorbed into the bloodstream.  Your body can then use these building blocks to manufacture some 50,000 different body proteins – each of which has a specific structure (and function) based upon its arrangement of amino acids.

As long as your body has all the necessary “raw materials” in the form of the amino acid building blocks, it can manufacture these important body proteins – from the enzymes that speed up chemical reactions in the body, to hormones that act as chemical messengers.  (Other proteins support your immune function, or transport nutrients in your body – and of course, you have proteins that provide structure to your bones, skin, hair, nails and muscle, too).

Once the amino acids enter your bloodstream, there’s no way to tell whether they were derived from a bowl of lentils or a steak;  they all end up as an amino acid “pool” in your body’s tissues and fluids – a pool that can be tapped into as needed.  To ensure a steady supply, though, it’s important to consume adequate protein every day.

You Need Protein Daily

Eating the right amount – and the right types – of protein every day is important for a couple of reasons.  For one thing, if you consistently had a shortage of protein in your diet, your body would have no choice but to start breaking down proteins within your body to provide the amino acids needed to produce the most vital body proteins.

While this process of building up and breaking down happens in your body all the time, the system only works as long as there are adequate amino acids coming from the diet to keep the two processes in balance.

Complete and Incomplete Proteins

The types of protein you eat matter, too.  Of the 20 amino acids that your body uses to manufacture body proteins, nine of them are called “essential” – they have to come from your diet because your body cannot make them (although it can manufacture the remaining 11 amino acids).

Proteins that come from animal sources – meats, fish, poultry, eggs, milk and milk products – contain all of the essential amino acids, so they’re referred to as “complete” proteins.

Plant proteins are found in foods like beans, lentils, nuts and whole grains and – with the exception of soybeans (and protein foods derived from soy such as tofu, tempeh, soy milk or soy protein powders) – plant proteins are lacking one or more essential amino acids, so they’re considered “incomplete”.  Strict vegetarians work around this by consuming a wide variety of foods to ensure that they get their full complement of essential amino acids in their diet.

More protein questions answered:

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Vegetarian? How to plan a healthy vegetarian diet

Vegetarian? How to plan a healthy vegetarian diet | Herbalife Nutrition AdviceA well-planned vegetarian diet can meet all your nutritional needs, but there’s more to being vegetarian than simply eliminating animal foods from your diet.

Planning a vegetarian diet isn’t really that much different from planning a diet that includes animal foods. Like any other well-balanced plan, a healthy vegetarian diet includes plenty of veggies, along with fruits and whole grains – the main difference is that vegetarians get their protein from plant-based sources rather than animals. And as long as it’s well thought-out, a vegetarian diet can easily provide what your body needs. Let’s explore the options.

Different types of vegetarian diets

Generally speaking, a vegetarian diet excludes animal flesh – so vegetarians as a whole don’t eat meat, fish or poultry. In its strictest form, the vegan diet, even animal products – like milk, eggs or honey – are also excluded. But there are plenty of variations on the vegetarian theme. There are lacto-vegetarians who eat dairy products (but no eggs), ovo-vegetarians who do just the opposite (eggs, no dairy) and the pescetarians who eat a plant-based diet – but they also eat fish.

Getting enough protein on a vegetarian diet

One of the biggest dietary challenges – especially for strict vegans – is getting adequate protein from plant sources. Proteins are made up of small units called amino acids, which your body uses to manufacture body proteins like hormones, enzymes and muscle tissue. Your body can make some amino acids, but others are called essential – because your body can’t make them, so they have to come from the diet.

All animal products – from meat, poultry and fish to milk and eggs – are called complete proteins because they contain all the essential amino acids, and in the right proportions. The challenge for vegetarians is that – with the exception of soybeans – most plant foods lack one or more essential amino acid, so they’re considered incomplete.

Fortunately, there’s a fairly easy work-around – and that’s to combine plant sources in such a way as to provide all the building blocks that the body needs. The essential amino acid that is lacking in beans, peas or lentils, for example, is abundant in grains – and, conveniently, what grains lack, beans can provide. So, when you pair black beans with rice, or a bowl of lentil soup with whole grain bread, you can provide your body with all the essential amino acids it needs.

One of the most common mistakes that many of my clients make when they decide to “veg out” is to simply eat everything that used to be on their plates – minus the ‘flesh’. That might be okay if you’re already eating plenty of plant foods and are getting adequate protein from plant sources. But I see lots of people who start out with a pretty bad diet, but don’t do anything other than to cut out all the animal foods. In the end, they just wind up with the poorly-balanced diet they started with – only now they’re not getting enough protein, either. In short, they’re paying too much attention to what they’re cutting out and not enough attention than what they needed to add in. A diet made up of little more than pancakes and French fries might qualify as vegetarian…but it’s hardly healthy.

Planning a vegetarian diet

A healthy diet – vegetarian or not – consists of a balance of important food groups – fruits, vegetables, proteins and grains. Here are a few basics to get you started:

Have a fruit or veggie at every meal and snack

That’s good advice for everyone. I generally recommend that people strive for at least 3 fruits a day, and then two servings of vegetables at lunch and another two servings at dinner. As calories allow, you can increase these numbers.

Whole grains contribute to protein needs

Whole grains provide some (although not all) essential amino acids, which makes them an important component of a vegetarian plan. The amount you need to eat each day will depend on your calorie and protein needs, but you’ll need a minimum of two daily servings.

Beans, peas and lentils help complete your protein needs

The amino acids found in beans, peas and lentils (and products made from them like tofu, tempeh or protein powders made with soy or pea protein) complement those found in grain foods, which is why these foods are so important. You don’t necessarily have to eat beans and grains at the same meal, but you should make a point to have some of each throughout the day. Again, the amount you need will depend on your calorie and protein needs, but as with any other plan, you should aim to have some protein at each meal and snack to meet needs and help with hunger control.

Dairy and eggs are great protein sources for lacto-ovos

It’s somewhat easier to meet protein needs if you’re vegetarian (not vegan) and include dairy products and eggs in diet. These foods provide high quality protein at a relatively low calorie cost.

Protein powders can help meet protein targets

Protein powders made from plant proteins – like soy, or rice and pea – are great for vegetarians and vegans alike, since they help boost your protein intake at a relatively low calorie cost. They’re easy to add to foods like protein shakes, cooked oatmeal and even soups to boost protein– and, you can tailor the amount you use to your individual needs.

Protein content in vegetarian foods

Note: Pay attention to the calorie cost of some of these foods. Nut butters, for example, do provide some protein, but the calorie cost is relatively high. Also, I included rice, hemp and almond milk on the list because many people use them as alternatives to dairy milk, but notice that they are quite low in protein. Also, I’ve included information on eggs, egg whites and milk-based products for the lacto-ovo vegetarians.

Food

Serving Size

Protein (grams)

Calories

Eggs and Dairy
Cottage Cheese, nonfat 1 cup (225g) 28 160
Eggs, whole 1 egg 6 85
Eggs, whole + whites 1 whole + 4 whites 20 155
Egg, whites only 7 whites 25 120
Milk, nonfat 1 cup (250ml) 10 (varies) 90
Milk, lowfat 1 cup (250ml) 9 (varies) 105
Mozzarella Cheese, part skim 1 ounce (30g) 7 70
Ricotta Cheese, lowfat ½ cup (125g) 10 120
Yogurt, plain, regular style 1 cup (240g) 14 140
Yogurt, plain, Greek style 1 cup (240g) 22 140
Non-Dairy Milks
Almond Milk 1 cup (250ml) 1 60
Hemp Milk, unsweetened 1 cup (250ml) 3 70
Rice Milk 1 cup (250ml) 1 120
Soy Milk 1 cup (250ml) 6-8 (varies) 90
Beans, Peas, Lentils, Tofu
Black Beans, cooked 1 cup (175g) 16 220
Edamame soybeans ½ cup (85g) 11 125
Hummus 4 Tablespoons (60g) 5 100
Kidney Beans, cooked 1 cup (175g) 13 210
Lentils, cooked 1 cup (175g) 18 230
Nut butter (peanut, almond) 2 Tablespoons 7 200
Pinto Beans, cooked 1 cup (175g) 15 245
Split Peas, cooked 1 cup (175g) 16 230
Tofu, firm 5 ounces (150g) 14 120
Tempeh 3 ounces (100g) 18 170
Grains and Grain Products
Bread, 100% whole grain 1 slice 3-5 100
Brown Rice, cooked 1 cup (200g) 6 220
Buckwheat, cooked 1 cup (200g) 6 150
Millet, cooked 1 cup (200g) 6 200
Oatmeal, cooked in water 1 cup (200g) 3 100
Quinoa, cooked 1 cup (200g) 8 220
Seitan (gluten, or “wheat meat”) 3 ounces/100g 24 130
Protein Powders      
Herbalife Personalized Protein Powder (Soy/Whey Blend) 4 Tablespoons (24g) 20 80
Whey protein, unflavored 1 ounce (30g) 20 110
Hemp protein, unflavored 1 ounce (30g) 13 110
Egg white protein powder, unflavored 23 105

 Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

How to eat less overall … by eating more protein

From Herbalife's Discover Good Fitness & Nutrition Blog

How to eat less overall ... by eating more protein | Herbalife | DiscoverGoodNutrition.comAnother reason to eat protein at breakfast. Protein helps keep you full and satisfied until lunch – and a new study suggests it might even help curb snacking at night.

If you keep up with the latest in dietary advice, you can probably list a few reasons why protein is such an important nutrient.  It’s necessary, of course, to help you build and maintain your muscle mass, and it’s also known to be a much better at filling you up than either fat or carbohydrate – which is why we suggest that people aim to have a good source of protein at each meal or snack.  The idea is simply this:  high carb meals don’t stay with you, while higher protein meals can help control hunger from one meal to the next.  But here’s something else… a recent study by Heather Leidy1 suggests that a high protein breakfast not only helps control your appetite until the next meal, it might reduce unhealthy snacking in the evening.

Recognizing that adolescents are notorious breakfast-skippers – and that breakfast skipping is associated with weight gain – researchers at the University of Missouri studied the effects of different breakfast meals in 20 overweight teenaged girls (who typically ate breakfast no more than twice a week).

The girls were asked to do the following – in no particular order.  One week, they skipped breakfast each day, one week they had a high protein breakfast every day (35 grams of protein) and one week they had a lower protein breakfast every day (13 grams of protein).  What the researchers wanted to know was how the different meals (or no meal) affected their appetite, hunger levels between meals, food cravings and evening snacking.

To measure all these things, the girls completed questionnaires about their level of hunger and satisfaction during the day, and they had brain scans done just before dinner.  The scans allowed the researchers to see how certain areas of the brain – in particular, those that are involved in food cravings – responded when the girls were shown pictures of appealing foods.  Then, the girls went home with a cooler full of goodies – a huge assortment of salty snacks, candy, ice cream, fruit, pizza, macaroni and cheese – and told they could eat as much as they wanted during the evening.

When all was said and done, the high protein breakfast had several advantages over the low protein one (and certainly, over no breakfast at all).  For one thing, the girls said the high protein breakfast was more filling – no surprise there.  But during the week they ate the high protein breakfast, their brain activity was different, too  – there was less “activity” in the areas of the brain responsible for food cravings – and the girls ate less high-fat, high-sugar foods after dinner.

This is an interesting twist on the protein story – suggesting that a high protein breakfast not only helps keep you full until lunch, but may even help curb your intake over the course of the day.   Getting in 35 grams of protein at one time – as they did in the study – might be a bit of a challenge, but you can get close – 25 grams is actually fairly easy to do.

Want to up your protein at breakfast?

Here are some meals to try – all of which will give you about 25 grams of protein.

  • A protein shake with nonfat milk.  A portion of milk provides about 10 grams of protein, and you can adjust the protein powder in your shake to boost the protein up
  • A portion of plain nonfat cottage cheese with fruit and a handful of almonds
  • An omelet made with 2 whole eggs or 4 egg whites, filled with veggies and an ounce of low fat mozzarella cheese
  • Cook rolled oats in nonfat milk then top then stir in protein powder after it’s cooked.  Top with a dab of almond butter
  • Spread some nonfat cream cheese on 100% whole grain toast and top with 3 ounces smoked salmon

Of course, this is only one recent study, and its conclusions are not yet the state of the science on this topic, but there is good support in the scientific literature for the general proposition that protein intake under the right circumstances produce feelings of satiety.

1Leidy et al.  Am J Clin Nutr 2013;97:677-88.

Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife. Herbalife markets protein-based food products.