A Vegetarian’s Guide to Protein

Pic for Blog- Protein for VegetariansAs a vegetarian for only a year now you’d think that being asked about my diet choice has yet to get repetitive. However, I am now used to being asked about why and how I’m a vegetarian, (sometimes more than once by the same people). When I’m asked why I’m a vegetarian I simply explain how it’s a step in the right direction to make my diet full of natural, plant-based food from the earth (and perhaps avoiding meat hanging at market stands while on a trip to Cambodia was a contributing factor as well). Whatever your reason is for being a vegetarian, you’ve probably been pitched the question, that is: “but…how do you get protein?” I’ve gotten this numerous times (even got put on the spot by my biology professor during a lecture…not an ideal situation). So if you are a vegetarian, thinking about being a vegetarian, or simply want to understand the diet of a vegetarian, here is how we do it:

Quinoa: This is the first answer I spit out when given the ol’ protein question, (except of course when I was called on in the middle of lecture and was too put on the spot to give an sufficient answer.) For those of you who do not know, quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is a pseudo grain. The title “pseudo grain” is pretty misleading because technically it is a seed, so it’s also gluten free! This is an important staple to my diet because it’s one of the few plant proteins that have the 9 essential amino acids all by itself, without combining with complementary proteins. One cup of quinoa has 24 grams of protein!

  • Cook yourself a big batch in the beginning of the week and store the rest in a container to reheat throughout the week! Eat it with either veggies stirred in, avocado, eggs, or chick peas! You can also eat it like you would oatmeal, drizzle some honey on top, throw banana slices on top and sprinkle on some cinnamon!

Nuts and seeds: Almonds in particular offer the most protein compared to other tree nuts. As far as seeds go, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds offer a lot of protein as well! You can eat them alone as a snack or add them to your food! Aside from the fact that they are an easy source of protein, they are also good for our heart, support cognitive function and keeps our blood sugar in check.

Eggs: Eggs are still a part of most vegetarians’ diet. The exclusion of eggs falls under the category of Vegan rather than vegetarian. One egg has 6 grams of protein, so if you make yourself a 2 egg omelet with perhaps a side of veggies and quinoa, you’re off to a protein packed start of your day!

Soy beans: Another huge source of protein! One cup of soy beans contains 68 grams of protein, which is over the average person’s daily intake of protein. Soy beans also contain the 9 essential amino acids, so they are sufficient substitute to meat, which is why tofu is used instead of meat!

If you are a vegetarian yourself, I hope you learned something new about plant protein! If you are just curious about how vegetarians get by, I hope you learned that we don’t just live off of grilled cheese sandwiches. Even If you are a carnivore, add some of these proteins to your diet!  They are healthy and accessible!

“It’s a good day to have a good one!”

-Alena Purpero

You Got that Wintertime, Wintertime Sadness

Pic for Blog We all have a favorite season or certain time of year that makes us feel our best. For some its fall because of the cozy sweaters and warm colored leaves and for some its spring because of the vibrant flowers and newly green grass. While we all have personal preference on what kind of weather and time of year we enjoy, did you ever think that a season could be unhealthy for you? From the diagnosed disorder SAD (seasonal affective disorder) to simple wintertime blues, this cold time of year can take a toll on your mood. Therefore it is important to know how to beat the blues!

1.)    Keep yourself in a consistent rhythm!

Now that a lot of us are on winter break, we have a lot of time to lay around and watch Netflix and sleep. Nothing wrong with relaxing! We all deserve it after finals after all, but too many lazy days will put you in a slump. Creating a solid routine for yourself such as going to the gym in the morning, go to work or any commitment you have during the day, and then set tasks and chores to complete that night will help you tackle the day with a purpose. Being lazy is a nice contrast from a hectic semester, but doing nothing but laying in your bed every day will do nothing for your health or your mood.

2.)    Eat like its summer

Leave the colorless, and bland gloominess for outside and fill your plate with vibrancy! The complex carbohydrates in fresh produce will increase levels of serotonin in the brain, whereas fats and refined sugars, reduce brain-derived neurotropic factor, which is a protein that protects against being in a bad mood and even depression. So out with the pasta and holiday casseroles and in with the foods that make you feel like you’re vacationing in the Caribbean!

3.)      Expand your day

The sun may only be making an appearance til 5 or so but it doesn’t mean you need to put your day halt. Wake up early and make use of the day! Waking up in the middle of the day will allow you to be up when the sun is for only a few hours which contributes to a Vitamin D deficiency. Get up, bundle up and go for a brisk walk and soak in the sun, even in if the air is cold!

  • What is SAD?

These tips are helpful for anyone who wants to boost their mood during the winter, but being affected by the season can take more to beat the blues if you think you have Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you have signs of depression that make an appearance every year during the year but leave during the spring, it is important to see a doctor and discuss how to treat it. Ways to treat it include investing in a light box, exercise and proper diet, and investing in a negative ion generator which purifies indoor air, which can reduce SAD systems.

While we all love this time of year because of the Holidays, it is important that we know how to take care of ourselves and don’t let our mood go into a slump after the ‘holiday high’. Whether its simple wintertime blues where you can prevent getting into a potential depression or if you think you have symptoms that match up with SAD, it is important to know how to take care of yourself and keep yourself at your healthiest and happiest, year round!

“It’s a good day to have a good day!”

-Alena Purpero ♡

Operation Adopt a Family

picAs this week approaches, it only takes a concluded Thanksgiving dinner and one look at Christmas decorations at the mall while black Friday shopping to get excited for the holidays. As much as we like to let ourselves get caught up in the midst of commercialized excitement, we need to give ourselves a much needed boarderline-cheesey reality check about the true meaning of Christmas. What does this entitle? Well, I could refer you to any hallmark Christmas movie, but instead I’ll give it further explanation here. As we count our blessings and give thanks over thanksgiving dinner, it is important to acknowledge how privileged we really are. Just as we approach Christmas we need to recognize those who do not give in to the commercialized part of the holidays as we do, or focus on what they don’t have but instead focus on what they do, family.

With that cheesy, straight from A Christmas Carol Christmas message being said, I’m going to share with you a way that we can all give our self that good ‘ol “true meaning of Christmas” reminder, and that is to give!

Therefore, in honor of the Warhawk Fitness Pay it Forward Project, we are participating in Operation Adopt a Family 2014. Last year Warhwak Fitness and Aquatics adopted a local Whitewater family for the Christmas Holiday. We donated over two truckloads of goodies to a family. We hope to repeat this success with our adopted family this year! To do so we need your help!

Operation Adopt a Family 2014: This year to partake in Operation Adopt a Family 2014, put some creativity to play! Our designated family for this year will be receiving gifts for children who fall either in young kids to tween to teen age group. Think gender specific gifts or gender neutral fun games or toys for everyone to enjoy! Also, general household items that will help out the whole family are appreciated as well!

Some Ideas:

  • “Pedicure in a Jar” or “Warm and Cozy Mistle Toes”
  • A jar of goodies with pedicure supplies and warm socks, perfect for a girl of any age!
  • A basket of household items, Clorox wipes, laundry detergent, febreeze, silverware, dishware, and other necessities! Maybe throw in a couple fun things like candles or decoration!
  • As far as boy gifts go, you can’t go wrong with Legos, nerf gun, or board games!
  • General gifts: mittens, hats, blankets, pillows, jackets, or anything to keep them cozy this winter!

Get creative and have fun with it, and this time when you go black Friday shopping keep your eyes out for some good gifts and pay it forward! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

“It’s a good day to have a good day!”

-Alena Purpero