Quinoa for Protein
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Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Quinoa for Protein on 08/04/2010 14:27:00 MDT Print View

I hear protein is very important after excercise in order to repair muscle. Will protein help minimize sore muscles the next day? Will the benefits of protein be realized within a few days while your still on your hike?

I hear Quinoa is a great protein source. Is it a more protein-dense source than say beef or chicken? How much would i add to my dinner to boost my protein intake?

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
Re: Quinoa for Protein on 08/04/2010 15:18:54 MDT Print View

"Is it a more protein-dense source than say beef or chicken?"
The most protein-dense backpacking food I know of, other than things like protein powders, etc., is beef jerky. This site http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/snacks/5332/2 has nutritional info on a lot of different foods. Jerky is about 35% protein by weight. Cooked quinoa is about 15%. Lentils are about 9%, hard tofu without water about 12%.

Historically, there was a belief for a long time that people living typical sedentary lifestyles wouldn't get enough protein from a vegetarian diet. It turns out that the science behind that was flawed, but for decades vegetarians were worrying about things like making meals that had complementary proteins in them. Now that the scientific smoke has cleared, it's pretty clear that a vegetarian with a typical lifestyle, who eats a variety of healthy foods (i.e., who is not a bagels-and-potato-chip vegetarian) gets plenty of protein. (Vegans and children may need to be more careful.)

Backpacking is very different from a typical modern lifestyle in an industrialized country. At home, I eat vegetarian 80% of the time, and I don't worry about getting enough protein. While hiking, especially on a longer hike, I try to be a little more careful by disciplining myself to bring 50-35-15 proportions of carbs, fat, and protein. Quinoa gets 15% of its calories from protein, so even if all you ate was quinoa, you'd still just barely be getting that amount of protein. I'm just not able to put together any purely vegetarian backpacking diet that has 15% of its calories from protein.

"I hear protein is very important after excercise in order to repair muscle. Will protein help minimize sore muscles the next day? Will the benefits of protein be realized within a few days while your still on your hike?"
If your hike is only a few days long, I doubt that any of this matters. Of course people will always make various claims based on their individual, subjective impressions that eating XYZ made them feel good or bad, but I would take those with a grain of salt. If there's anyone on here who has a good knowledge of exercise physiology, they might be able to give a more definitive answer, but my impression is that repairing muscle and building new muscle mass is a slow process, so it's not even something to consider on a hike that's a few days long.

Edited by bcrowell on 08/04/2010 15:20:41 MDT.

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
No luck with Knoll Sides on 08/05/2010 00:23:37 MDT Print View

I tried a few, fetucini alfredo, mexican rice, chicken fetucini. Using about half the water recommended seemed about right when cooking fbc style. However, the noodles always came out super slimy and sticky and the rice always came out hard and over flavored. It was almost like fbc intensifies the flavors making everything seem too salty and rich. The Idahoan twice baked potatos came out right on but it was too rich to be eaten alone, i would need to combine them with sommething. getting close to my trips so i may have to give up and go with MH meals (again).

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Quinoa for Protein on 08/05/2010 08:22:03 MDT Print View

Sure...if you like Quinoa that is. I like the red version myself!

Both kinds cook up and dry easily so you can have an instant version. And yes, done that way it works nicely FBC style :-)

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Quinoa for Protein on 08/05/2010 09:54:31 MDT Print View

BTW, you can get it ready to go in instant as well:
http://outdoorherbivore.com/products/dehydrated-quinoa/

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Herbivore on 08/05/2010 10:03:08 MDT Print View

Great website, thanks Sarah. I have a Henry's nearby, I think I'll stop by there and pickup some quinoa for my cereal. Do i need to look for instant quinoa for cereal too?

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Herbivore on 08/05/2010 12:52:07 MDT Print View

http://www.quinoa.net/145/154.html
Take a look at that, then hit up your local natural food store. The quinoa flakes are instant and make a GREAT hot cereal!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Herbivore on 08/05/2010 13:22:34 MDT Print View

I've used quinoa that I have cooked and then dehydrated to make them instant for dinner meals. Now I think it might be good for breakfast, but I haven't figured out what to cook with it. Maple syrup is too heavy. F.D. fruit bits would be good. F.D. strawberries or peaches are excellent.

--B.G.--

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Quinoa for breakfast on 08/05/2010 13:52:25 MDT Print View

I thought I saw some folks adding Quinoa to their muesli, so that was my plan. But as a hot cereal I assume you could just treat it like oatmeal, dry fruit, sliced nuts, butter, brown sugar, etc.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Quinoa for breakfast on 08/05/2010 14:02:56 MDT Print View

And if one uses powdered maple syrup it is easy/tasty :)

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Quinoa for breakfast on 08/05/2010 14:50:09 MDT Print View

Somebody needs to package powdered maple syrup into little paper packets like granulated white sugar. Then I would take a dozen packets for each trip.

I might have to experiment with white sugar or brown sugar and some maple extract. Hmmm, with coffee added.

--B.G.--

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Quinoa for breakfast on 08/05/2010 17:54:19 MDT Print View

Where was I reading it that if you dry brown sugar in your dehydrator it well, gets dryer, more like regular sugar. A thought on saving weight!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Quinoa for breakfast on 08/05/2010 18:26:21 MDT Print View

Great. If I don't like the final result, I can eat it.

--B.G.--

Zachary Zrull
(zackcentury) - F

Locale: Great Lakes
Fruit and nuts, just like we were brought up on on 08/05/2010 21:46:27 MDT Print View

Calories are what's most important when backpacking, and as long as you eat enough calories so as not to lose weight, you will probably absorb enough protein. Not all protein is created equal; gelatin is pure protein, but it won't serve the purpose of rebuilding tissue all by itself. The protein quality of quinoa is most likely no better than other grains. A variety of fruit combined with a handful of brazil nuts, hazlenuts, or walnuts will actually give you all the protein you need for a day. I would imagine most of us need to eat 3000-5000 calories on the trail, so most of your diet can just be what you enjoy eating.

Unfortunately for the vegetarian on a long hike, vitamins D and B12, as well as cholesterol will be scarce. If you can tolerate fish or egg, dried versions of either will be good sources of protein, too.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Quinoa for Protein on 08/06/2010 09:14:23 MDT Print View

In addition to protein, nuts are also an excellent source of healthy (monounsaturated) fat and therefore calories. Nuts and dried fruit are my "lunch"--which I nibble at all day rather than having a meal at noon.

While vitamin B12 can be an issue for vegans, I very much doubt that vitamin D will be an issue when you're spending all day outdoors!

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
Re: Fruit and nuts, just like we were brought up on on 08/06/2010 09:52:00 MDT Print View

Zachary Zrull wrote: "Calories are what's most important when backpacking, and as long as you eat enough calories so as not to lose weight, you will probably absorb enough protein."
I would like to believe this was true, because it would allow me to increase the energy density of my food, and it would also allow me to eat vegetarian while backpacking. I'm sure it doesn't matter on a 3-day hike, but on a long trip, I'd really worry about not getting enough protein to build muscle and repair injuries. My mostly vegetarian diet at home includes high-protein foods like eggs and tofu, which aren't practical for me to eat on the trail.

"A variety of fruit combined with a handful of brazil nuts, hazlenuts, or walnuts will actually give you all the protein you need for a day."
Hazelnuts, for example, get 8% of their calories from protein. So even if my diet was nothing but hazelnuts, I'd still only be getting about half the amount of protein I want. The other problem with eating this many nuts is that you'll end up with a diet that's extremely high in fat, with not enough carbs in it.

"Unfortunately for the vegetarian on a long hike, vitamins D and B12, as well as cholesterol will be scarce."
A multivitamin takes care of that.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Quinoa for Protein on 08/06/2010 12:48:45 MDT Print View

Quinoa if I remember right is actually a complete protein. That is why it is so revered by some.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Fruit and nuts, just like we were brought up on on 08/06/2010 19:11:52 MDT Print View

"I would like to believe this was true, because it would allow me to increase the energy density of my food, and it would also allow me to eat vegetarian while backpacking. I'm sure it doesn't matter on a 3-day hike, but on a long trip, I'd really worry about not getting enough protein to build muscle and repair injuries. My mostly vegetarian diet at home includes high-protein foods like eggs and tofu, which aren't practical for me to eat on the trail."

Have you looked into soy protein and whey protein? Both contain readily available, high quality protein and blend well with powdered milk to add to your breakfast. You could just combine them with granola in the same bag, if you eat granola. They can also be added to soups and thicker textured items like mashed potatoes. Then, protein requirements satisfied, you can go about densifying you calorie content by adding fats from many different sources-pure oils, nuts, high cacao chocolate to mention a few.

Kate Magill
(lapedestrienne) - F
Re: Fruit and nuts, just like we were brought up on on 08/10/2010 10:11:30 MDT Print View

Quinoa is a seed, not a grain, so the protein quality is actually quite different that that of, say, oatmeal, in terms of amino acid profile. I blend quick oats and quinoa flakes as a base for muesli, because it provides a better spectrum of aminos than oats alone.

The difficulty of vegan/vegetarian backpacking makes itself quite clear on extended trips, as Ben notes. Your body *will* absorb enough protein, but it will absorb it from your muscles, tendons, ligaments. The same with B12--the body stores some in the liver, but once it depletes that source, you'll become vitamin deficient, and a b12 deficiency can lead to depression, difficulty sleeping, low energy, etc.

As for a handful of nuts providing adequate protein for the day: 1 oz of almonds, eg, contains about 8 g of protein. A moderately active 120 lb person needs roughly 50 g of protein a day, but under physically demanding conditions should probably be aiming for 80-85 grams/day. I love almonds, but that's a lot of almonds (a bag of whole raw almonds from the baking section of the supermarkets is usually 10 or 12 oz and costs 4 or 5 bucks).

Protein intake will vary widely form person to person, according to metabolism, body type, etc, but those are the numbers I use for myself.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Fruit and nuts, just like we were brought up on- and perhaps soy/whey protein? on 08/10/2010 16:49:51 MDT Print View

"As for a handful of nuts providing adequate protein for the day: 1 oz of almonds, eg, contains about 8 g of protein. A moderately active 120 lb person needs roughly 50 g of protein a day, but under physically demanding conditions should probably be aiming for 80-85 grams/day. I love almonds, but that's a lot of almonds (a bag of whole raw almonds from the baking section of the supermarkets is usually 10 or 12 oz and costs 4 or 5 bucks)."

Again, if it's high quality protein in a concentrated form that you are looking for, you really should investigate soy and whey protein. They are the 2 top rated sources of protein in terms of digestability and suitability of their amino acid profiles for human requirements. The protein content of commercial preparations varies from 50-90% by weight, at least the ones I am familiar with, which far exceeds Ben's 15% requirement. An ounce of 90% soy protein stirred into your granola, oatmeal, etc in the morning and an ounce stirred into a soup or stew in the evening would give you ~50 grams of high quality protein, allowing you to devote the rest of your diet to more fully flavored foods higher in either fat or carbs, according to your preferences, with protein a secondary consideration. You should still be able to add 25-30 grams of protein in this way from nuts, grains, powdered milk, etc, and have a solid vegetarian diet in the bargain.

Edited by ouzel on 08/10/2010 17:19:12 MDT.