Shari Duncan

Tag: Amino Acids

Quinoa (Keen-wa) The Healthy Grain with the Funny Name
Shari

by on Dec.05, 2010, under General Nutrition, High Protein dishes, Recipes

There aren’t many foods that have such high nutrition that they fall into the complete or nearly complete food categories. However, Quinoa is pretty darn close!

Although not a staple in most kitchens today – those who have discovered quinoa know how delicious it is and how good it is for them.   Quinoa is a nutrient dense,  amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked.

I finally decided to give into my curiosity and bought a box of quinoa… and am quickly discovering how really simple, delicious and versatile is.  ..

If you do not know what is so special about quinoa here are six secrets.

Easy to prepare, tasty and versatile. Quinoa is a COMPLETE FOOD!

Quinoa with Black Beans. Easy to prepare, tasty and versatile. Quinoa is a COMPLETE FOOD!

Secret 1 – Quinoa is gluten free

Quinoa is a good source of many vitamins and nutrients. Although technically a seed, quinoa ) is commonly referred to and used most often as a grain
because it is also gluten free and very non allergenic, people with restricted diets can usually eat it wit out any problems.

Secret 2 – It is a complete protein

One cup (cooked) quinoa contains eight grams of protein, nearly twice the amount found in other grains. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it provides the body all nine essential amino acids. For
vegans and vegetarians looking for alternative to tofu and soya it is ideal. It is also far more versatile in the kitchen then other vegan sources of protein.

Secret 3 – Quinoa is REALLY good for your health

It is a vegetable protein which is easy to digest. It also is a complex carbohydrate that slowly releases its goodness into the body. You do not get a rush of carbs followed by a lull. This is great for diabetics and people with kidney problems

Secret 4 – It is available in different types, colors and forms.

The most common is white quinoa. (Also, black quinoa and red quinoa). The different varieties also have different levels of oils in them making some crunchier than others. Quinoa is available in seed (grain form), flour, and flakes. It’s texture is what many love most about this grain (seed).

Secret 5 – Quinoa Can Help You Lose Weight.

Quinoa offers a lot to anyone looking to get healthy. However there are a number of great benefits for those looking to lose weight as well.

  • Because of its protein content and complex carbohydrates quinoa will have you feeling full longer and will also help prevent cravings. You do not need to eat very much to feel satisfied.
  • The amino acids and high quality protein will help you build more muscles. This in turn will have you burning more calories and it will prevent you from losing muscle tone as you lose weight

Secret 6 – It Is Very Easy To Cook

If you can boil pasta or rice then you can cook quinoa. Bring one part quinoa and two parts liquid to boil. Simmer as you would rice for about fifteen minutes or until the grains are translucent.  It has a nutty flavor that complements many other ingredients and adds wonderful texture to soups, stews, stir fry’s and salads

Quinoa is very rich in magnesium,a mineral that helps relax blood vessels, preventing the constriction and rebound dilation characteristic of migraines. Increased intake of magnesium has been shown to be related to a reduced frequency of headache episodes reported by migraine sufferers.  Low dietary levels of magnesium are also associated with increased rates of hypertension, ischemic heart disease and heart arrhythmias, and since magnesium helps to relax blood vessels, adding Quinoa to your diet offers your body protection and can improve your cardiovascular health.

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Quinoa and Black Beans (adapted from Allrecipes.com)

INGREDIENTS:

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

3/4 cup uncooked quinoa

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup frozen corn kernels

2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed

and drained

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.
2. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes,
3. Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro
Nutrition
Information

Servings Per Recipe: 10

Calories: 142

Amount Per Serving

  • Total Fat: 1.7g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 467mg
Amount Per Serving

  • Total Carbs: 25.6g
  • Dietary Fiber: 6.9g
  • Protein: 6.9g

*My customized version:

I substituted olive oil instead of vegetable oil, low sodium chicken for the vegetable broth, used 1 can black beans (instead of 2) and mixed in about ½-3/4  cup of black bean salsa in at the end.

This is satisfying enough as a meal or as a hearty side dish.  I served with Chili and Lime grilled chicken breasts.

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Considering Glutamine?…. It’s that Important !
Shari

by on Sep.22, 2010, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, Supplementation

There are no side effects. No health risks. It doesn’t make you bigger or stronger or give you energy or burn fat, yet it could be one of the most useful supplements around.

What is Glutamine?

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in our body – and highly concentrated in muscle cells. Glutamine has recently been re-classified as a conditionally essential amino acid. This means that while the body can make glutamine, there are times when the body’s need for glutamine is greater than its ability to produce glutamine.

Although the body produces glutamine, under times of stress, glutamine reserves are depleted and need to be replenished with supplementation.  Glutamine depletion caused by stress

Supplement with Glutamine if your body is under stress, which  includes stress from exercise.

Supplement with Glutamine if your body is under stress, which includes stress from exercise.

can be activated by something as minor as a common cold and the level of depletion increases with the severity of the disease. Patients undergoing surgery, burn victims, those suffering acute trauma, as well as HIV and cancer patients will all find their glutamine levels severely depleted by their condition.

Stress related glutamine depletion does not only occur with illness but also occurs due to stress caused by exercise. But the need for glutamine for many critical functions such as the immune system takes precedence over the building of muscles. Without any glutamine in the muscles we cannot build muscle mass and in fact the muscles can start to breakdown.  And the more stress the body is under, the more glutamine that is pulled away from the muscles.  And working out puts a lot of stress on the muscles.  If we supplement our body with glutamine we allow our body to keep a high supply of glutamine in the muscles and stop the muscle catabolism. This means the body can use the glutamine in the muscles to synthesize protein and build muscle mass. Because there is now enough glutamine for the whole body – the other critical functions such as the immune system have enough glutamine to perform their necessary functions as well.

Studies have shown that glutamine supplementation can do the following:

  • Increase Protein synthesis (which leads to increased muscle mass)
  • Increase nitrogen retention
  • Decrease muscle breakdown
  • Decrease recovery time needed after a workout
  • Enhance immune functions

How much glutamine is needed?

The typical American diet provides 3.5 to 7 grams of glutamine daily found in animal and plant proteins. Many people choose to supplement daily due to the long growing list of benefits.

Research shows levels of supplementation from 2 to 40 grams daily. Two to three grams has been found to help symptoms of queasiness.  This two to three gram dosage used post workout builds protein, repairs and builds muscle and can induce levels of growth hormone found in the body.

High levels of glutamine supplementation have been used in hospital settings with doses of 20 grams per day to treat colitis, Crohn’s disease and diarrhea. 40 grams per day of glutamine are used with HIV, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and burn victims.

If you work out regularly or intensely,  or simply want to boost your immune system, you should consider supplementing with glutamine. In addition, if you are going through any type of stressful event or just trying to fight off the cold or flu – glutamine can be very beneficial.

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The Incredible Egg… EGGS-actly what your body needs to build muscle!
Shari

by on Aug.22, 2010, under Egg and Main Course Ideas, General Nutrition, High Protein dishes, Weight Loss

” My boy says he can eat fifty eggs, he can eat fifty eggs” – Cool Hand Luke 1967

Scientists have shown that those who start their day with poached, boiled or scrambled eggs can lose up to two-thirds more weight than others. The secret of the egg’s success lies in its ability to make us feel full for longer than many other foods.

Eggs make a valuable contribution to a healthy, balanced diet. And they are one of the most complete and versatile, not to mention abundant and inexpensive foods available.  Nutritionists recommend that an egg a day be incorporated into your daily meal planning for maximum health benefits. We all know the importance of protein in the muscle building process; without it, your muscles will simply not grow.  One egg contains 6 grams of high quality protein: so high that it is used as the standard by which other foods are measured. The whites are fat free; it is in the yolk where you find the fat and cholesterol.

..... EGGS-Actly what your Diet needs to build Muscle!

..... EGGS-Actly what your Diet needs to build Muscle!

Eggs are also a rich source of vitamins, including A, E, and K and a range of B vitamins such as B12 (energy), riboflavin and folic acid. Eggs also contain all eight essential amino acids needed for optimal muscle recovery and building valuable minerals like  calcium, zinc, and iron.    It is no wonder that eggs are included among the “superfoods” because of the way they both boost health and tackle obesity.

Eggs are far less expensive than most other animal-protein foods. Although eggs contain a significant amount of cholesterol, they need not be excluded from the diet. Most people need not be concerned about eating eggs in moderation.

As you can see, eggs contain a lot of good nutrition. One egg has about 80 calories but one egg also contains approximately five grams of fat, which is important if you are watching your fat and calorie intake. The white part of the egg contains no fat what so ever, and although all of the fat is contained in the yolk of an egg (yellow) – only a small proportion of this is saturated fat (Bad Fat) – about 1.6 grams. One egg each day is good, but eating three or four eggs every day may add too much fat.

In order to get the high quality protein and nutrients while reducing your fat intake, try using one whole egg and adding extra egg whites per serving. (I generally use one whole egg to two addition egg whites). You should also poach, hard boil or scramble your eggs, don’t fry them in butter. If you want your eggs sunny side up or over-easy, use a non-stick skillet without the extra butter or oil.

With recent egg recalls, people are concerned about safety and contamination. Always thoroughly cook your eggs to eliminate the risk of getting sick from salmonella.

MY FAVORITE OMELET:

Spinach, mushrooms and cheese, crabmeat add additional nutrients and flavor to this “not just for breakfast” egg dish.

A few of my favorite things... for an amazingly healthy and tasty omelet.

A few of my favorite things... for an amazingly healthy and tasty omelet.

Prep Time: 5 minutes     Cook Time: 10 Minutes   Yield: 1 Omelette

You will need:

ü  1 whole egg plus 2 egg whites (beaten)

ü  2-3 mushrooms, diced

ü  ~1 cup fresh baby spinach, cut in pieces

ü  1 slice low fat Swiss cheese

ü  ~ 3oz imitation crab meat, flaked or chunked

ü  Salt and pepper.

ü  Cooking spray, butter flavor

  1. Spray bottom of small pan with cooking spray.  Heat on med until hot.
  2. Sauté crab meat until warmed, add mushrooms and spinach. Continue to saute just until spinach begins to wilt.
  3. Add beaten eggs, salt and pepper and sliced cheese.  Cook until eggs begin to set.  Reduce heat, (so you don’t burn your eggs). Continue to cook until eggs are firm and cheese begins to melt.
  4. Fold omelet to seal.
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Cran-Almond QUINOA Muffins. These you gotta try.
Shari

by on Jun.27, 2010, under General Nutrition, Healthy Snacks, Recipes, Whey Protein Recipes

These smell amazing while baking and have a sweet, nutty flavor.   Wholesome nutrition that taste too good to be good for you!

Curiosity finally got the better of me.  I keep hearing about how  Quinoa… (pronounced Keen-wa) is so good for you.  But I had no idea what I would do with it once I got it home… So,  I bought a box of “flakes” at the local health food store yesterday and this is what I came up with.  I replaced quinoa flakes for the oats that I normally use in my baked goods. The flax seed and almond milk and almond extract give these a  nutty flavor and the craisins and applesauce add just the right amount of sweetness.   I was pleasantly surprised!  These are great!

Mix together all dry ingredients in mixing bowl.

  • 1c Quinoa Flakes

    Almond milk, extract and craisins give these muffins a sweet nutty flavor

    Almond milk, extract and craisins give these muffins a sweet nutty flavor

  • 1 1/2c Low Carb Flour
  • 2TBS Flax Seed
  • 2 Scoops Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1 ½ TBS Splenda Brown Sugar
  • 1 ½ TBS Cinnamon
  • 1 TBS Baking Powder

In separate bowl, mix together:

  • 2 egg whites and 1 whole egg
  • 3 TBS Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 3/4c Almond Milk
  • 1 TBS Coconut Oil (melted)
  • 1 tsp Almond Extract

Add wet to dry ingredients. Mix well.  Stir in 1/3 cup of Craisins.

Bake at 350 degrees in lightly greased muffin pan for approximately 15 minutes.  Cool.  ENJOY!

Makes 12 muffins.

Quinoa flakes contain all of the nutrition of the whole Quinoa grain or seed, but cook much more quickly and are therefore easily adaptable to recipes. Quinoa is technically a “seed” and not a grain that is native to the Andes Mountain region.  It’s low in fat and sugar, no sodium or cholesterol, is iron rich and a good source of slow-burning complex carbohydrates.

What makes quinoa unique nutritionally is that it’s one of a hand-full of plant-sources that has a complete protein profile. This means that a serving of quinoa contains all 8 of the essential amino acids that your body needs. Most grains only contain some of the essential amino acids — requiring you to “mix” your proteins (for example beans with rice) to create a full protein. This is especially good news to vegetarians.  They are also gluten free.

A serving of quinoa flakes adds significant nutrition to your breakfast.  They are a terrific alternative to oats.  Substitute for flour in breads, muffins, pancakes and cookies for heartier and healthier baked recipes.

Organic Quinoa Flakes.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1/2 cup (42 g)

Nutrient Amount %DV

Calories 159      Calories from Fat 0      Total Fat 2.5 g 3.8%      Saturated Fat 0.3 g 1.3%

Monounsaturated Fat 0.7 g      Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g      Cholesterol 0 mg 0%

Sodium 9 mg 0.4%      Total Carbohydrate 29.5 g 9.8%      Dietary Fiber 3 g 12.3%

Sugars 1 g      Protein 5.7 g 11.4%      Vitamin A 0%      Vitamin E 6.8%      Vitamin C 0%

Calcium 2.6%      Iron 21.9%      Magnesium 22.4%      Phosphorus 17.5%

Potassium 9%      Zinc 9%

  • Quinoa flakes are best stored in a sealed container in a cool, dry place. They have a shelf-life of 2 years from processing date
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PROTEIN POWDERS – Deciphering all those Labels
Shari

by on Mar.20, 2010, under General Nutrition, Natural Bodybuilding, Supplementation

The need for adequate protein in the human body is second only to the need for water …

and is one of three macronutrients used by the body for energy.

You are working out and trying to eat better,  & you recognize that protein is necessary if you are serious about achieving results. Sometimes it’s tough to get enough protein each day from whole food sources though. But  increasing your daily protein intake while on a resistance training program will help to increase lean muscle mass.  Protein foods are also  thermogenic which means it takes more energy to digest protein. Our bodies must work 30% harder  digesting protein foods then to digest and process carbs and fats.

There are so many protein powder supplements available and choosing the right one can be confusing at best.  All proteins are not created equal. Hopefully this will provide a little insight to help you determine which form (or combination) of protein supplements will best meet your specific needs

The most common types of protein powders used are:

  • Casein
  • Egg
  • Soy
  • Whey

WHEY Protein:

Whey comes in three popular forms: Whey Protein Isolate, Whey protein Concentrate, and Hydrolyzed Whey. Whey is derived from milk and is the most commonly used protein supplement. It contains nonessential and essential amino acids, as well as branch chain amino acids (BCAA). Whey is easily absorbed by your muscles and is extremely safe to use. Whey protein is not appropriate for those who have a milk allergy or who cannot tolerate lactose.

Fast digesting proteins, such as whey act quickly to help regulate bodily nitrogen levels and are recommended as a post-workout protein source.

Concentrate Versus Isolate:

Whey concentrate is whey in its natural form while isolate protein goes through an additional filtration process to produce a finer powder that allows for quicker digestion. Most whey products found on supplement shelves are made up of whey concentrate, mixed with a small portion of whey isolate.  Generally isolates are 90%+ pure protein.  Whey concentrates contain 70-8o% protein.  Comparing the two, whey protein isolate is more expensive than whey protein concentrate because of its higher quality and BV (biological value). Whey protein isolate contains more protein and less fat and lactose per serving.

Whey protein isolate is the highest yield of protein currently available that comes from milk. Because of its chemical properties it is the easiest to absorb into your system. With its high concentration, it appears that an isolate protein would be the obvious choice over a concentrate. But the isolate is more expensive and ts extra concentration may not justify its extra cost. This is an individual decision.

Regardless of what type of whey you select, whey in all forms is quickly digested and therefore the best time to capitalize on wheys quick absorption is to consume it is during or immediately after training.

Hydrolyzed Whey (also called peptides), are powerful proteins that are more quickly absorbed than any other form.

Assorted fast, slow, and timed released blended proteins available in many flavors.

Assorted fast, slow, and timed released blended proteins available in many flavors.

These proteins are potentially the most anabolic for short-term protein synthesis. Supplement with hydrolyzed whey 15 minutes prior to a workout, during a workout and/or immediately after a workout.

CASEIN Protein:

Casein makes up 80% of total milk protein and is slowly digested. It has a “thick” taste compared to whey and is considered an efficient source by those trying to build muscle.  A slow digesting protein provides a long term stream of protein and amino acids, meant to assist in keeping a positive nitrogen balance for longer periods of times. A slow digesting protein is a great choice for in between meals or before bedtime.

SOY Protein:

Soy protein is derived from soy flour. Of all the vegetable proteins, soy is the most complete protein. Similar to whey protein, soy protein has two types, the concentrate and the isolate, with the isolate being the purer, more expensive form. It is a fast digesting protein that has an average amino acid profile. Because of this, it is not the most desirable protein source for those looking to build muscle. Soy protein is ideal for those who have dairy allergies.

EGG Albumin:

Really is the Incredible Edible..and most complete protein source

The "Incredible Edible"..really is a most complete protein source

Egg protein is made from the egg white. It is considered the most perfect source of protein because it is complete in essential amino acids, branch chain amino acids and glutamic acid. The body completely and easily absorbs it, and it is fat free.  Because of its characteristics, egg protein is used as the standard against which all other proteins are measured. It is popular in bodybuilding circles because of a higher essential to non-essential amino acid ratio, and because egg whites contain less cholesterol then egg yolks. Eggs are often considered the king of natural food proteins because of their high essential amino acids levels. Egg protein is the best alternative for those that are lactose intolerant.

Protein Blends:

Protein blends combine several types of proteins such as whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, egg protein, casein protein, and soy protein. When choosing a blend, you receive the full spectrum of proteins with the varying rates of absorption from the different types of protein, which make them a good all around choice for most individuals.

Using a blend creates an anabolic effect from the whey and an anti-catabolic environment from the casein. The best time to consume this type of “timed release” or “sustained release” protein is outside of the six hour post workout window.

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