Did you know that you can still perform well as an athelte eating mostly a plant based diet? Yes, it's true. Exercise fanatics or athletes tend to think they can't get enough protein to build muscle mass, so they turn to animal sources such as red meat, or they turn to processed protein powdered shakes and nutrition bars. According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, almost all Americans get too much protein. Dr. Fuhrman states that the average American consumes over 100 grams of protein, which is 50 percent more than the recommended daily allowance. Athletes do require more protein but the increased need should be proportional to the increased need for more calories that have been burned during exercise. Eating a wide range of plant based foods, such as beans, seeds, and nuts, along with green vegetables, will give you the extra protein needed to perform well. Green vegetables are almost 50 per cent protein. For example, a cup of chopped broccoli contains almost 2.6 grams of protein, which is 6 percent of a woman's daily requirement. A cup of black beans contains a whopping 39 grams! A cup of brown rice contains about 4.8 grams of protein, and just 2 ounces of sunflower seeds contain about 7.5 grams. As you can see, eating a plant based diet will not only provide you with the protein you need, but it will also provide you with a huge assortment of antioxidants to protect you against the free radicals that are generated from strenuous exercise. *
If you are looking for a great recipe to boost your immune system AND provide you with protein for muscle power, try my Mexican Bean Casserole dish! It's bee-licious, especially for those who are spicy food lovers!
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
2.5 boxes of black bean pasta penne noodles
2 cups of chopped onions
2 cups of chopped green peppers
1/4 to 1/2 cup of shredded almond cheese
1.5 Field Stone Chili pepper spiced meatless sausage chopped in bite size pieces
1 cup of organic corn
2 cups of assorted shiitake mushrooms
1 .5 cups of chopped cherry tomatoes
1 avocado sliced
Hot salsa ( optional!)
Boil the pasta noodles until al dente ( about five minutes ). Add a couple of teaspoons of olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking and place them in a non-stick baking pan. Mix in all the ingredients evenly, except the tomatoes and sliced avocado. Leave a bit of almond cheese left over to sprinkle on top of the casserole before placing it in the preheated oven of 350 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes or until it is cooked through. After the casserole is heated, add the cherry tomatoes on top, add a little sprinkled almond cheese to the top, along with the sliced avocado. Dab on the hot salsa. Enjoy!
Remember, food determines how we feel and heal!
*Source: Fuhrman, Joel, MD, Super Immunity: The Essential Guide for Boosting Your Body's Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free, HarperCollins, 2011, pp 121-122