Supplying your body with proteins

To build muscles for your yoga-with-weights workouts, you need protein and the amino acids from which protein is made. Like bricks to a house, proteins are your body's basic building materials. Your body uses protein to build new cells and tissue and to create hormones, enzymes, and antibodies. When you eat protein, your body breaks it down into amino acids.

The best suppliers of protein are animal sources. Milk, eggs, chicken, beef, and fish are called complete proteins because they supply all the essential amino acids. Fruits and vegetables are called incomplete proteins because they don't supply all the essential amino acids.

Your protein needs are different from the person working out next to you in the gym; some people even have trouble absorbing proteins. If your digestive system can't absorb protein, the undigested protein simply passes through your digestive tract without being absorbed and used by your body. Protein sources that are high in fiber, for example, are harder to digest. Make sure you can absorb the protein from food and that the protein meal contains all the essential amino acids.

How much protein is enough? How does a vegetarian combine foods to get enough protein? How much is too much? Take subjects of concern up with a physician or a qualified nutritionist. He or she can help you figure how much protein you need, given your body's needs and your lifestyle.

Tasty cooking with monounsaturated fat

If you're looking for a good source of monounsaturated fat and don't want to give up a tasty diet, include olive oil in your diet. It's great for salads and works well in cooking. You shouldn't heat olive oil too high, however, and you should refrigerate it.

Many farmer's markets specialize in fresh oils; often, you can sample the oils before buying.

You can find a wide selection of flavors ranging from bitter to buttery to almost lemony. Cold-pressed, first-run, extra virgin olive oil is the best because it's unrefined. Try to buy the oil in small amounts, store it in dark or opaque bottles, and consume it while it's fresh — oils exposed to light may become rancid in no time.

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