Mia Moore's Blog

Mia, Founder of, Graciously Green, draws on her health education from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition's (IIN) cutting-edge Health Coach training Programme, as well as her in-depth chef studies in raw and plant-based foods, to provide plant-based cooking, health coaching and education, both in person and online. She also studied toxins in-depth and now leads raw food cleanses and liver detoxes. Graciously Green is sponsored by Hong Kong’s organic vegetable delivery service, Eat FRESH (www.eatfresh.com.hk)


the protein myth busted!
March 19, 2013

Even if you’re not vegan, or even vegetarian, it’s still useful to know how you can get protein from food-sources other than animals. With all of these recent scares about horse-meat in burgers, not to mention the frightening stories we hear, and see, about the inhumane treatment of animals in tiny cages, pens and goodness knows what else - shudder - everyone is beginning to think more about where their food comes from.
Of course, protein is a very important component of our diet, without protein our muscles get weak.
Here’s a bit of science to put my “Top 8” into context. Protein is just lots of amino acids (organic compounds) stacked-together. Humans can produce half of the amino acids we need for muscle repair and cell development. The others (“essential” amino acids) come from the food we eat. If we don’t get enough of just one of these essential amino acids, our muscles become depleted.
However, before you freak out and try to pack in as much protein as possible after your next workout, we honestly don’t need as much as you might think. In fact, eating too much protein can actually be detrimental to health because it will create an acidic environment in your body - we want to aim to be more alkaline - acidic conditions cause disease.

Roughly, we need about 30% of our diet to be made-up of protein. But not all protein sources are created equally; you see, our body utilizes protein in an amino-acid format in our body, so when we eat chicken for example (free-range, cage-free, organic and antibiotic-free if you do), the meat  “protein” must be broken down into an absorbable form of the amino acids before our body can use it to repair tissues and build muscles. On the other hand, something like hemp-seeds are already in an amino-acid form, and so the body can fully utilize all of the ready-made nutrients, without needing to work very hard to get to the good bits.
So, if you’re thinking about ways to increase your protein intake in a way which is easy to absorb, as well as kinder to your body, animals and even the environment (animal farming is a massive contributor to environmental green-house gasses), here are my Top 8 Green Protein Sources:

1. Hemp seeds – hits in at the top spot because it contains all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids that our bodies needs. It’s a perfect supplement. No other source provides such a complete protein in a form that is so very easily digested and absorbed by the body. 
2. Chia seeds – chia seeds were a staple food of the Aztecs - they ate them on their long-treks as it sustained them and gave endurance. Chia seeds have 19 amino acids, with all of the essential amino acids except one. Soak in a nut milk for extra protein and a delish breakfast or snack.
3. Goji berries – yes, berries can be a protein source. This superfood berry, which is native to Asia, also called “wolfberry” and often used in Chinese medicines, contains 8 of the essential amino acids, and 18 in total. Sprinkle over cereal or throw in a smoothie for a protein-booster.
4. Quinoa – one of my faves, this grain-like seed can contain up to 11 grams of protein per cup. If you spout it and eat raw, it can actually retain more protein than if eaten cooked. Can be eaten as cereal or as a rice replacement. Oh, and it’s low GI so much better for blood-sugar levels than a white rice.
5. Dark-leafy greens – by including leafy greens in every meal, you’ll be sure to up your protein intake. 100 calories of Kale, for example, can contain up to 11 grams of protein, not to mention all of those great vitamins and minerals you’ll be taking in.
6. Beans / Legumes – remember to soak them before eating to aid digestion - beans are an excellent source of protein. 1 cup of lentils contains up to 18 grams of protein. Try adding to salads or on top of a slice of sprouted whole-grain bread for a super healthy snack.
7. Nuts – whether you eat them as is in a trail-mix, or as a raw nut-butter in smoothies or spread over anything from apples to crackers, nuts are full of fibre, good fats and protein.
8. Vegan protein powders – rather then focus on what’s wrong with whey and soy protein, instead I'll focus on the many benefits of organic vegan plant-based protein powders such as Vega or SunwarriorWe all live in a busy world and sometimes we need a helping hand with convenient protein-boosts. Raw, organic plant-based proteins are far more nutritionally dense and alkalizing than the animal-product counterparts, not to mention you’re not taking in pesticides, synthetic materials and toxins by the dozen as you would be with other powders.
One last special mention goes to Spirulina, and it gets a special place because I do get that this bright green algae is not for everyone, but it grows on you and it is super-rich in protein in the form of the easily absorbable essential amino acids. Take it in your smoothies or salads - just make sure you check your teeth before you smile in public…green smiles are not the best look!
If you want to know more about how I (Mia – Holistic Health Coach, Yoga Teacher and Raw Food Chef) can support you on your journey to health and happiness, contact me now for a free 50-minute consultation here or at mia@graciouslygreen.com.
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