Recently I flew up to Jersey, well doped for flying with a glass of wine or two at the airport Chili’s, with high hopes of a Snooki sighting upon arrival.
I know, I should be dealing with my fear of flying rather than drinking wine but that just isn’t as much fun. And luckily I was flying up at night because technically this was a work trip.
The group that went up with me was an easy going and fun. We worked hard during the day and then after work we all gathered to have a drink or two.
After a few drinks our lively group checked out the menu for dinner.
The topic of what to eat came up and, of course, that led to a discussion about proteins after it was obvious I was looking for a plant based dish.
I was promptly advised that I can NOT get all the essential amino acids from plant based sources.
I asked which ones I’m missing out on then.
No one really knew.
Not one to shy away from a good challenge, especially one dealing with food, I got right to researching. I knew you could get them all from plant based sources but I didn’t know exactly which ones.
Keep reading to see what I found….
These 9 essential amino acids are the only proteins our bodies can’t formulate on their own so we must obtain them from food sources.
(Here comes the technical info that I researched and compiled for the very noble purpose of winning the argument. Skip to the bottom if you are just here for the cake.)
Plant Based Sources of Essential Amino Acids.
Isoleucine (Ile) muscle production and recovery, formation of blood clots
Soy products such as Tofu
Low fat sesame seed flour
Leucine (Leu) tissue production and repair, produces growth hormones
Lys) needed for calcium absorption and bone development, production of antibodies
Some plant based sources. (Source)
Soybeans (particularly tofu, isolated soy protein, and defatted soybean flour)
Spirulina, and fenugreek seed
Beans and other legumes
Methionine (Met) fat digestion and prevention of plaque in arteries
Some plant based sources (Source)
(To a lesser extent grains and beans.)
Phenylalanine (Phe) brain function and mood
Threonine (Thr) protein regulation and recycling in the body
Tryptophan (Trp) – produces serotonin, regulates sleep and mood, pain management
Valine (Val) muscle growth, repair and endurance, treats brain damage from alcohol, regulates nitrogen
Histidine (His) –“ the ‘growth amino’ essential for young children. Lack of histidine is associated with impaired speech and growth.” (Source)
Some plant based sources (Source)
Now everyone is very concerned about getting all the essential amino acids in one sitting. Though it has been proven that we don’t need to do this, it’s always a good idea to eat great variety of natural foods in various combinations such as veggie, legume and grain.
How about pumpkin, chickpeas and oats to start?
Pumpkin Spice Cake
Vegan, Gluten Free
1 cup gluten free rolled oats, such as Bob’s Red Mill
1 ½ cups sucanat or brown sugar
½ tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or more if you like a lot of spice)
½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 cans (or 500g cooked) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
¼ cup canned pureed pumpkin
3 Tbsp coconut oil (melted) or oil of choice
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped dried fruit such as cranberries, dates, cherries and apricots
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Pour 1 cup gluten free rolled oats into a food processor or Vitamix. Process until well ground.
3. Add 1 ½ cups sucanat and process to fine powder; add salt through baking powder and mix well; pour into a medium bowl.
4. Add 500 g chickpeas, ¼ cup pumpkin, oil and vanilla to processor or Vitamix; process until smooth. Stir in dry ingredients; blend until well mixed. Stir in dried fruit and press into a 10 inch spring form pan sprayed with cooking spray.
5. Bake at 350F for 35 minutes; let cool 10 minutes.
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat 5.4 g
Saturated Fat 3.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.6 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 267.5 mg
Potassium 239.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 54.3 g
Dietary Fiber 4.2 g
Sugars 36.2 g
Protein 4.0 g
Vitamin A 24.6 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 12.8 %
Vitamin C 3.6 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.0 %
Calcium 2.7 %
Copper 6.7 %
Folate 8.7 %
Iron 8.1 %
Magnesium 4.8 %
Manganese 19.3 %
Niacin 2.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.2 %
Phosphorus 5.5 %
Riboflavin 1.6 %
Selenium 2.5 %
Thiamin 1.1 %
Zinc 3.9 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.