Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mom's Always Right

I suppose it's fitting that I'm writing about my mom the week of Mother's Day. I won't get to see her on Sunday, but perhaps this post will show her that she still influences so many aspects of my life.

Awesome picture from our recent trip to Hawaii with Dad in the background, binoculars and all.

Growing up, I refused to believe the old adage that moms are always right. What teenager wants to openly confess that her mom actually knows a thing or two? Well, unfortunately for my teenage self, Mom's proving to be right well into my adult years as well.

Awhile back, Mom called to tell me she thinks we're not eating enough protein. "Why don't you throw some chicken into some of those dishes?" she asked. I rolled my eyes. While I'm not against meat, I know lots of people who avoid meat completely and do just fine.

So I set out to prove it. I started researching; my idea was to write a post about foods that are surprisingly high in protein. I was inspired by the fact that oats have six grams of protein in a half cup. I never considered oats to be a significant source of protein, but would you look at that? I knew there must be lots of other sources of protein, and I was on a mission.

But, alas, Mom is right again. My research did lead me to find lots of surprising foods that contain loads of protein (Brussels sprouts, anyone?), but it's not just about how much protein we take in. It's about the kind of protein. See, I also stumbled upon a very important fact that I had certainly learned before and forgotten: Humans need complete proteins. A complete (or whole) protein contains all nine essential amino acids we need. And where do we get those complete proteins?

You guessed it. So did Mom. Animal proteins are usually the best source of complete proteins. Foods such as eggs, meat, fish, milk, cheese, and other dairy contain complete proteins. Vegetables lack essential amino acids; in fact, according to Wikipedia, corn protein is particularly low in amino acids. (And if you look at labels on most processed foods, they're almost guaranteed to contain corn. But that's another story that you can read about in this book.)

Of course, there are non-animal sources of complete protein. According to FitSugar, you can find these complete proteins in soy, spirulina, hemp seed, amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa. You can also combine foods to create complete proteins, such as nut butter on whole wheat bread.

The truth is, complete or not, I was not getting enough protein in my diet. Considering my activity level, I should be getting around 50-70 grams per day, and I estimate that I was consuming more like 30 grams - and many were incomplete proteins. I actually don't count calories or monitor my intake of macronutrients, but neglecting my protein certainly won't help fuel all my workouts.

So Mom, you win again. I'm working to increase our lean proteins, especially chicken and fish. Tonight, however, I stuck with a veggie pasta with roasted eggplant and zucchini, marinara sauce, whole wheat pasta, and goat cheese. Delicious!

And lots of leftovers for the next few days. Scout also tried to get his complete proteins in, in the form of milk in our smoothies.

He just loves straws! It's hilarious!

Okay, I'm calling it for the night. I have a kickass workout for you that wiped me out today, but it'll have to wait for tomorrow. Momma's also right about the fact that a good night's sleep does the body good!


  1. Oh moms! Sometimes they just know too much for their own good!

  2. Momma knows best! If only my kids had this wisdom right now. Gah!