Nutrition Myths: Why Almond Milk, Quinoa and Chia seeds Suck...
Everyone goes nuts about so called "superfoods" - most of which is misguided. In this post I want to challenge some of the common beliefs surrounding 3 popular foods.
I have a massive issue with quinoa It's touted as this incredible superfood - and it's really not. BUT, JEN, IT'S PACKED FULL OF PROTEIN! No it's not. Read the damn lable. It has 3g of protein per 100g . That's exactly the same as rice. RICE! "But, Jen, quinoa has COMPLETE protein, rice is missing 2 essential amino acids" Yeah I know. But no-one cares. Firstly, if you mix rice with lentils, which have 7g of protein per 100g, and happen to have the 2 essential amino acids that is missing in rice, you'll have a complete protein, and you'll have FIVE GRAMS OF IT. That's more than quinoa. But in any case, this kind of food-combining is so outdated. We know that it doesn't matter if you get ALL your essential amino acids in each meal, as long as you get them throughout the day. Even if you're vegan you don't need to combine incomplete proteins like this, let alone if you eat meat, fish and dairy! In any case, it's a carb. It has some protein in it, but it's a totally negligible amount. And it tastes like shit, let's face it. Finally, it's flown from Bolivia. Bloody BOLIVIA! To Israel! And every other damn place on the planet to ensure that middle class people and vegans get their superfoods (the same ones that are uber vocal about climate change). Heaven forbid they'll have to eat something that's locally grown. In fact it's now become so expensive in Bolivia that the locals can't afford it and have to eat rice that's shipped in from China. Please, for the love of God and this beautiful earth, just eat some locally grown potatoes.
2. ALMOND MILK
Ok so next on the chopping block is almond milk....
Almond milk is the biggest con there is! It's a clever marketing ploy that feeds off the hysteria around dairy. (Which is completely unfounded) Let's look at the ingredients in a standard almond milk:
Calcium (tricalcium phosphate (of which 0.1% calcuim... this is hilarious!)
Vitamins, and of course...
A shit ton of water
It's got 1g of protein per 100g Now of course, you can buy more "natural" versions with fewer ingredients, no sugar, etc. BUT my point is, It's so diluted down that it's little more than flavoured water. EXPENSIVE flavoured water that makes the healthy and wealthy middle class feel superior about their eating habits. It's hailed as this superfood, but actually has ZERO nutritional value. There's literally NOTHING in it that provides ANY health benefits. (Apart from the artificial vitamins and minerals that have been added.)
I get that you need a liquid to add to your smoothie in the morning But how about water? 100 ml of juice? Or good old fashioned milk? Like, from a cow... And then munch on a handful of almonds - you'll actually be consuming some fibre, naturally occuring vitamins and minerals, protein, fat - just as nature intended! Oh yeah, and it tastes like SHIT!
3. CHIA SEEDS This rant is going to be a little different to the others Because I don't actually have a problem with CHIA SEEDS themselves They are fine. They contain good fats, fibre, lots of lovely vitamins and minerals and a LITTLE bit of protein. What I have a problem with is when people say tHeY aRe PaCkEd FuLL oF PrOtEiN You are encouraged to put them in your smoothies and told that this will get you a "punch of protein". Erm, no.
I feel like people need a basic tutorial in reading the lables of stuff... or doing a simple google search of nutritional information. 100g of chia seeds contains 17g of protein. That might SOUND like a lot BUT IT ALSO CONTAINS 486 CALORIES That's VERY calorie dense for that amount of protein. And exactly how much of this stuff are you putting in your smoothie? 100g? Cos that must be like drinking sand! You're probably putting a teaspoon in. Ok, for the sake of argument, let's say you're using 1 TABLEspoon. That's 70 calories, 40 of which are from fat... and THREE GRAMS of protein... that's not going to get you very far towards your protein goals for the day! Bottom line. Chia seeds are great, BUT that's because ALL seeds (and nuts) are great. You should try to include a portion of any seed or nut in your day... and variety is the name of the game here. But it is NOT a rich source of protein. Add some milk, yoghurt or protein powder to your smoothie for that. (Waiting for the backlash from the anti-dairy committee) And it's definitely NOT a SUPERFOOD (cos there is NO SUCH THING) Just don't soak it in almond milk and honey overnight and call it "pudding", K... unless you like eating foods with the texture of frog spawn.
Other things that are not PACKED with protein: peas, chickpeas, lentils, and quinoa (but we knew that already) In fact, bread has more protein than all these things gram for gram... BREAD! Peanuts and peanut butter have a fair amount of protein per 100g, BUT also have over 550 calories per 100g! For 20-26g of protein that's a hell of a lot!