Food combining for “perfect proteins”
Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: Do you have any information on what kinds of vegetables need to be eaten together to make a complete protein? Do they need to be eaten at the same time, or just within the same day, so many hours of each other, etc.
Answer: This is an excerpt from Ch. 6 of my e-book 12 Steps to Whole Foods:
Most of the main dishes in this chapter are high in protein because I have designed the recipes to contain both a whole grain and a legume. Together, their amino acids complete each other to make a “perfect protein.” Recipes in this chapter that contain a grain/legume combination are identified with an asterisk (*), showing that they qualify as a “perfect protein.” I include the “perfect protein” designations not because I think such food combining is necessary, but because others do and feel better knowing they have it in their main dish.
No wonder indigenous people used legumes and grains together for thousands of years—millions of people on this planet have subsisted primarily on the combination of beans and rice. At dinner, everyone wants energy-sustaining food, and that’s a good way to get it. However, don’t obsess about the “perfect protein,” feeling that the only true meal must qualify under this banner. Many experts, including Dr. Robert O. Young, say that if you eat green food, your body has all the amino acids in a free-floating pool to assemble proteins, so you don’t have to eat all of them simultaneously to get enough protein. The amino acids you eat are used over a 24-hour period, so you needn’t make rocket science of your eating habits. Just eat lots of plant foods, especially greens.
Because of the way amino acids in plant foods combine, the amount of protein in a legume or grain doesn’t give the whole picture. Trust your body to manufacture enough protein, even if your food isn’t “quality” protein. “Quality” only means that it matches human flesh closely, as animal protein does. The building blocks of proteins are amino acids, and your body can assemble proteins when you give it all the amino acids found in dishes made of a variety of five natural, whole food categories: grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. If you are imagining these foods being a limited menu, think again: you have a huge variety of highly sustaining foods to choose from!