I’m blogging from Phoenix again as I will be spending the rest of the week working from here.  My aunt just told me what the meal plan is for the rest of the week, and y’all have reason to be excited because we are going to be making some really delicious yet really simple Indian foods. 🙂 

When I arrived here today, everyone was getting ready for dinner.  I had a really late lunch (4:30 pm), so I wasn’t  hungry for a big dinner, but I took a few pictures anyways.

Sweet, juicy mangos! I made a little room for this treat!
Rotli - Indian flatbread (relative of naan)
Cabbage and potato shak (veggies with different spices)

My plan is to make Indian food at least twice a week once I move into my apartment in Boston.  I want to take some of the traditional dishes I grew up eating and add a little twist…don’t worry, I will take you all on this journey with me!

Complete Proteins

Back in August 2010, I made the decision to become a vegetarian (for good).  I have gone between eating white meat and being a vegetarian quite a few times in my life, but I know in my heart (cheesy but true) that this time the switch is permanent.  I was kind of leaning towards vegetarianism at the time, but after watching “Food, Inc.”, I broke down (literally in tears) and made the decision to become a veggie from now until the end of time. 🙂  And honestly, I haven’t looked back since!

Anyways, I knew when I made the decision that I would have to reexamine my diet to ensure that I was getting adequate amounts of protein and iron in my body.  What I didn’t consider was the kinds of protein I was consuming.  It’s been awhile since I’ve studied biology!!  See, animal proteins are good sources of complete proteins (eggs, meat, poultry, cheese, and fish) – they contain all 9 essential amino acids.  On the other hand, legumes, nuts, and seeds contain mostly incomplete proteins as they are missing one or more essential amino acids.  Essential amino acids are important because they can’t be manufactured by your body but are still needed to perform all bodily functions.  So, what can us non meat eaters do?  Well, we are not helpless…we can combine certain foods to create complete proteins.

Examples:

  • Combine grains and legumes: Peanut butter on whole wheat bread
  • Combine grains and nuts/seeds: Whole wheat bun with sesame seeds
  • Combine legumes and nuts/seeds: Hummus (chickpeas and sesame paste)

More examples:

  • Oatmeal with milk
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Salad with beans and a hard-cooked egg
  • Yogurt and granola
  • Bean and cheese burrito

Also, it’s important to know that these foods contain 8 of the 9 essential amino acids:

  • Fruits: Bananas, dates, tomatoes
  • Nuts: Almonds, coconuts, filberts, sunflower seeds, walnuts, brazil nuts, pecans
  • Vegetables: Alfalfa sprouts, bean sprouts, carrots, eggplants, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, corn, okra, squash

Finally, it’s important to note that not every food or meal you eat has to have most of the essential amino acids.  It’s important to maintain a well-balanced diet, so that in totality, all of your meals combined give your body the nutrients it needs.  As long as you have different complementary proteins present in your diet, you are on the right path! 

My high school biology teacher would be so proud of me!!

By Parita

0 thoughts on “Complete Proteins”
  1. yogurt and granola. the dreeeaam team! I love, love granola in my yogurt and always miss it if I’m all out.

    I also always put milk in my oats. I like the creamier texture!

  2. thanks so much for this, i REALLY need to work on my protein intake. i’m probably getting enough for the average person, but not for someone who runs 4 days a week. (and my quads are feeling it. oops.) hope you’re having a great time in Phoenix! 🙂

  3. I am a 90% vegetarian, I love my seafood which prevents me from being a complete vegetarian. Have fun eating all the home cooked Indian food. I miss my mum’s food so much. Shaak, are your parents from Gujarat?

  4. There is no such thing as boring Indian food!! My husband and I are obsessed with Indian food…his favorite dish being Saag…mine being whatever is in front of me 🙂

    You are so beautiful by the way!!

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