In my previous article on veganism I touched on the importance of food combining for vegans and vegetarians who don’t eat protein and need to get their important essential amino acids that we usually find in animal products. Combining certain foods together makes a full protein and is important to a healthy diet as a vegan.
In this article I will explore more about food combining to give you suggestions and tools on how to go about improving your health through mindful eating choices.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Protein is necessary to keep your muscles, bones, skin, hormones and immune system working well. Most amino acids are synthesized in the body but some of them we can only get from the foods that we eat. These are what we call essential amino acids. There are 9 types of essential amino acids. They are found in both animal sources and plant based foods. Animal source protein like meat, poultry, fish, dairy and eggs are considered complete proteins because you get high enough levels of the 9 amino acids.
The plant based proteins like legumes, nuts, seeds and soy are high in some of the amino acids but lack in others. Therefore, it is necessary to understand how to combine the foods to get all 9 amino in each meal.
Here are some ideas for combining foods:
- Soups or stews that include legumes and grains
- Beans and whole grain rice or other ancient grains
- Lentils with whole grain rice or other ancient grains
- Yogurt with seeds or almonds
- Salads with beans and nuts or seeds
- Whole grains with nuts
- Nut butter on whole grain bread
- beans with nuts
- hummus (chick peas) with whole grains
Getting Iron and Vitamins from food combining
- Vitamin C with dark leafy green vegetables helps absorb the iron in the vegetables
- Dark leafy greens with nuts or olive oil helps absorb the vitamins in the vegetables
- Eating beans with lemon juice or any other vegetable rich in vitamin C like bell peppers or tomatoes to absorb the iron.
- Eating nuts with your fruit snack can give you a good boost of Iron
- Fruit goes well with a green salad have you ever tried that?
- Tumeric is a super food but it needs to be consumed with either black pepper or oil like olive oil to be able to benefit from its healing properties.Check out my article on turmeric for more details.
Getting enough Vitamin B12 and Omega 3 on a plant based diet
- Nutritional yeast is fortified with Vitamin B12 so add it to your savory foods.
- Add ground flax seeds to your dishes to get added additional omega 3
Ancient grains to combine with your foods
- amaranth etc.
Did you know that Quina is considered a complete protein?
You don’t have to combine foods at every meal but I do think it is a best practice. What is most important is by the end of the day you have had a combination of all these different foods.