Lifes Abundance content relating to 'plant protein'

The Power of Protein

Omelette

You may hear the word protein and immediately think of a juicy bacon cheeseburger or a Sunday morning cheesy omelet. But, this macronutrient, famous for building muscle, comes in many shapes and sizes and has a whole lot of responsibility other than conquering cravings and “bulking” you up! 

Protein is made up of amino acids. There are more than 50 amino acids in the body, but 20 of them are responsible for protein building. There are 11 nonessential amino acids, meaning the body can create them on its own and 9 essential amino acids that the body cannot make by itself, meaning they must be ingested through foods. Most animal proteins, such as beef, eggs, chicken, fish and poultry contain all of the essential amino acids, and so they are referred to as complete proteins. Note: soybeans, hemp and quinoa are the only common plant-based foods that are complete proteins. Foods such as legumes, rice, beans and nuts do not contain all the essential amino acids and may be referred to as incomplete proteins. However, you can combine foods (think beans and rice) to get all of the essential amino acids and form complete proteins. And you don’t need to eat the incomplete proteins in the same meal! You need both essential and nonessential amino acids for your body’s cells to perform all of their functions.

Why is protein so important aside from helping us quash a burger craving? Protein is used in many bodily functions including cell maintenance and repair, blood clotting and the production of antibodies. It is the primary component of many body tissues such as skin, hair, and muscle.

Protein also provides satiety (feeling full). In other words, it is keeps us from diving into an ice cream sundae after... a bowl of pasta. One study(1) showed that people who ate 30% of their calories from protein versus 15% reduced total caloric consumption by 441 calories.

It is important to note that not all protein sources are created equal. We should aim to consume both plant and animal protein (if we’re meat eaters, of course). Animal protein should come from lean sources. It is recommended that approximately 15% of your daily calories come from this macronutrient to meet your basic needs. I believe a healthy diet may safely have as much as one-third of your daily calories from protein, and there is good reason to consume that much.

It’s easy to get into our own little adult food jags and eat the same omelet, burger or kale salad with grilled chicken again and again...and again. But, you should modify that breakfast for perhaps a protein-packed smoothie or tweak your lunch by nixing the grilled chicken for wild salmon or pork tenderloin. Switching up your protein will keep you from getting bored (and ditching your healthy ways altogether when you just can’t eat one more bite of chicken!). Also, when you eat different foods, you are consuming a wider variety of nutrients - especially if you swap out the rest of meal.

Here’s a delicious idea for a nutritious breakfast smoothie using Life’s Abundance Plant Protein powder. This 100% grain-free, plant-based protein powder is a nutrient-rich blend of clean, high quality proteins including pea, chia, pumpkin, hemp and quinoa. And at only 100 calories, it contains a whopping 14 grams of protein in every serving!

Green Smoothie

Avocado Banana Smoothie
Makes one serving with a prep time of 5 minutes.

Ingredients:
1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
1 small banana, frozen
1 tablespoon peanut butter or almond butter
1/2 small avocado
1 handful spinach, raw
1 scoop Life's Abundance Vanilla Plant Protein powder

Place ingredients into a blender and blend until you get the desired thickness.

Keri Keri Glassman MS.RD.CDN

Reference:
1 Am J Clin Nutr July 2005, Vol. 82 No. 1 41-48.

Start Your Day off Right

Meditating start your day off right

Do you ever wish you were living back in the days before our mornings started off with phone alerts and emails waiting to be answered? Yes, it’s annoying to have modern day technology interrupt what could be a pleasant start to your day, but the good news is that you have the power to create a morning ritual that is energizing and inspiring.

Rather than opening up your phone to check social media or your computer to get ahead at work, start your day off right with the following tips to guarantee a positive beginning to your day.

Practice Gratitude

My favorite daily practice that starts the day out right is being grateful. Find three things to be thankful for each and every morning before your feet hit the ground and at night before you lay your head down.

It could be for a great day at work or for your wonderful partner beside you. It could be the volunteer job you love, the yoga mat waiting for you, or the five-mile run you’re going to brave the cold for.

Choose to start your day from a place of abundance, because research shows that those who do are more optimistic, have more social connections, sleep more soundly, exercise more and are happier. They’re also less likely to be depressed, envious and greedy.

Practicing gratitude is a no-brainer!

Quit Skipping Breakfast

You may think skipping breakfast will save you time and calories later in the day, but unfortunately it does just the opposite. Studies show that eating breakfast actually reduces hunger later in the day, and gives you more energy and brain power to get through your to-do list.

Need more proof? Eating a nutritious breakfast can:

• Help you lose weight, and decrease your risk of obesity.

• Increase brain function and concentration.

• Increase metabolism by as much as 10 percent.

• Decrease stress.

• Help you stick to your diet, and prevent snacking throughout the day.

Most people claim they don’t have time to eat breakfast. So if that’s your favorite excuse, I have great news - there are plenty of quick and easy breakfast ideas to get you started on the right track - even if your only breakfast encounter has been at the drive thru.

It takes more time to wait in line at your favorite breakfast stop than it does to make my favorite protein-filled shake. Even if you need to drink it on the go, it’s the best kind of morning take-out there is.

Pineapple Smoothie

Pineapple Green Smoothie

1 1/2 cups almond or coconut milk
1 ripe banana, frozen if possible (makes it creamier)
1 large handful of fresh spinach leaves (or a scoop of Life’s Abundance Greens Blend)
1 cup of frozen or fresh pineapple
1 scoop of Life's Abundance Vanilla Plant Protein powder
Large handful of ice

Mix all ingredients in blender and drink up!

Move it

Most of us are slaves to our computers and sit for hours on end each day, which studies show can lead not only to obesity, but also depression, neck and back problems, and even a shorter life span. What?!

The good news? Researchers at the University of Bristol(1) found that employees performed significantly better in areas of productivity, energy and focus on days that they exercised. If you’re a morning person, try to work out before you get to the office so a late day meeting doesn’t force you to ditch your evening spin class.

On days when I debate with myself whether to exercise when I’d rather not, I ask myself this:

“One hour from now do I want to feel SWEATY or SORRY?”

I can honestly say that nine times out of ten it works. (I’m human; I sometimes cave.) But, when I close my eyes and ponder this question, I know that I’m never sorry for putting on my sneakers, and always sorry when I don’t; and that’s all the motivation I need to get myself moving.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Restful sleep tonight sets the stage for increased energy and productivity tomorrow. Studies have shown that decreased sleep time leads to a drop in physical and mental energy. So, go for a full eight hours if you want to nail that presentation or stay awake for your kid’s afternoon soccer match.

Your kids probably have a peaceful nighttime routine, and so should you.

• Make your bedroom sleep-friendly by eliminating noise with a sound machine or earplugs, and turn off anything that emits light.

• Keep your room cool. The temperature of your bedroom can interfere with getting quality sleep.

• This may seem obvious, but make sure your bed is comfortable.

• Take a warm bath.

• Wind down with your favorite book.

• Prepare yourself for your next day; running through your schedule, getting the kids bags packed, and anything else that would make you late in the AM.

• Incorporate relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation before you fall off to sleep. This helps to relax the nervous system and prep for ZZZZs.

If you’ve been feeling “off” and can’t figure out why, vow to implement a few of these tips into your daily routine and I promise you’ll find more focus, energy and happiness in each day!

Danielle Danielle Diamond, Field Rep Contributor

(1) International Journal of Workplace Health Management 09/2008; 1(3):176-197.