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    Written by the Iron Vegan Education Team

    ‘Tis the season for fa-la-la-la long errand lists, no matter what your holiday traditions. Between the shopping, cooking, and cleaning, it’s likely your eating habits run the gamut from frequently over-indulging in food and drink to forgetting to eat altogether. Neither option is particularly good for your energy or mood at a time when you need both to be at their peak.

    Feed your Energy

    The key to sustainable energy is to maintain balanced blood glucose by reducing your intake of refined carbs and bumping up healthy fats and protein all while maintaining a scheduled eating pattern. Focus your intake on complex carbohydrates from fruits, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and veggie trays. If the dip sitting alongside the veggies happens to be guacamole, take a generous scoop. Guacamole is an excellent source of essential fats that fuel your metabolism and help you to feel full longer, so you don’t over-fill your plate. Include healthy fats from avocado, nuts and seeds or fish with every meal and snack.

    Mood Food

    Try getting enough protein. Proteins are constructed with amino acids, and several of these are critical in maintaining healthy mood.1 The neurotransmitter dopamine (pleasure and reward) is made from the amino acid tyrosine, while serotonin (feel good) requires the amino acid tryptophan.1 Research has shown deficiency in either of these neurotransmitters is associated with low mood.1 Because protein takes longer to digest, it also helps to slow digestion so you can avoid the energy roller coaster.

    Part of the explanation for protein’s dietary shortfall might be the common perception that meat is the only source (and, really, how much more turkey can you eat right now?). It’s important to know that plant-based foods can be a major source of protein for many.  Grain-like seeds such as amaranth and quinoa provide all nine essential amino acids.2 Other plant foods may be deficient in an amino acid but combine with other foods over the day to provide all the necessary protein building blocks. For instance, combining beans and rice in a meal can provide you with the essential amino acids in one meal.

    Super Sprouts

    While raw plant foods are good, sprouting and fermenting grains amplifies the benefits. Sprouting grains make it richer in antioxidants, vitamins, certain minerals, and even amino acids.3,4Fermentation breaks down the anti-nutrients, making the amino acids more bioavailable and easier to absorb.5,6 Compared to raw, for example, fermented grains have between 3 to 10 times more lysine – an important amino acid – than unfermented grains.7

    Gift yourself: Iron Vegan Sprouted Protein8

    Of course, sprouting your own plant foods takes time, which is in short supply right now.  For a simple solution to boost protein intake, start your day with a delicious drink made with Iron Vegan Sprouted Protein. Each serving provides all nine essential amino acids in 22 grams of plant-based protein derived from organic, non-GMO sprouted brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet, and pumpkin seeds. Iron Vegan Sprouted Protein fuels your lifestyle so you can keep going longer, which makes it a perfect addition to your holiday routine that you’ll want to continue long after the decorations go back in storage. Try delicious chocolate, vanilla, salted caramel, and an unflavoured version you can add it to your morning smoothie.

     

    References:

    1. Posted July 9, 2019. (2019, July 9). The connection between protein and your mental health. Mental Health Connecticut. Retrieved October 13, 2021, from https://www.mhconn.org/nutrition/protein-and-mental-health/.
    2. The rise in plant based proteins. Quinoa is trending https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2018/12/14/Mapping-out-the-rise-of-plant-based-protein-drinks-and-powders
    3. Benincasa, P., Falcinelli, B., Lutts, S., Stagnari, F., & Galieni, A. (2019). Sprouted Grains: A Comprehensive Review. Nutrients11(2), 421. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11020421   slide 31
    4. Fouad, A. & Ali, Rehab. (2015). Effect of germination time on proximate analysis, bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity of lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) sprouts. Acta Scientiarum Polonorum Technologia Alimentaria. 14. 233-246. 10.17306/J.AFS.2015.3.25.
    5. Nkhata, S. G., Ayua, E., Kamau, E. H., & Shingiro, J. B. (2018). Fermentation and germination improve nutritional value of cereals and legumes through activation of endogenous enzymes. Food science & nutrition6(8), 2446–2458. https://doi.org/10.1002/fsn3.846
    6. Asres, D. T., Nana, A., & Nega, G. (2018). Complementary feeding and effect of spontaneous fermentation on anti-nutritional factors of selected cereal-based complementary foods. BMC pediatrics18(1), 394. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12887-018-1369-3
    7. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, FERMENTED CEREALS. A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE http://www.fao.org/docrep/x2184e/x2184e06.htm
    8. Sprouted protein. Iron Vegan. (n.d.). Retrieved October 26, 2021, from https://www.ironvegan.ca/collections/products/products/sprouted-protein.