Originally Posted On 1/12/2011
What’s That About Protein?
One of the subjects that comes up frequently in the vegan, vegetarian, raw food circles and in conversations with those on the outside is protein.
How do you get your protein?
Do you get enough protein?
Is it a complete protein?
Sometimes people don’t ask questions about protein when they know you consume primarily plants. They’ll just tell you:
“You don’t get enough protein!”
“Your not getting enough of certain amino acids!”
“Your not getting a complete protein.”
In the many years that I’ve been a vegan/vegetarian/sometime raw food eater, I’ve wondered quite a bit about the subject.
I’ve heard many differing views from people in the plant based eating community.
One common view is, “If you’re eating enough calories, you’re getting enough protein.”
My personal feeling about the previous statement is there is some truth in it; In particular, if you’re eating a varied diet of plant based foods with enough calories.
Many people feel you get plenty of protein from eating just fruits and vegetables with a very small amount of fatty plant foods like nuts and seeds. I do mean a small amount according to many advocates, as they will say you don’t need more than a small handful of nuts per day at most; and even without them you’d get enough protein from the fruits and vegetables alone.
The science behind the theory is pretty good. If you look at the percentage of protein in mother’s milk, which a growing baby rapidly gains pounds and size consuming it alone, It’s not high in protein at all; only 6% of the total calories.
Whether or not a person get’s enough or optimal amounts of protein from any plant based diet is still up for debate, but it may have a lot to do with what kind of life style you lead.
Another view coming from the plant based eating circles is, “More protein than you need is not only not good, but has a negative effect on your health.” The thought is excess protein creates uric acid in the body and causes acidity which needs to be balanced out by drawing alkalizing minerals from wherever it can get them, including bones.
There may be some truth in the previous thought, as some high protein foods contain purines, which create uric acid. You can learn more about that by checking out this video here. Recent studies have shown purines from meat and fish are associated with gout, but ironically gout is not associated with eating plant based foods, in addition to milk, which contrary to popular believe doesn’t increase problems associated with uric acid.
Something important to consider is how much are you stressing your body with intense exercise, including weight training, and how much more protein do you need as a result? It may also be good to consider which proteins give the most benefit.
Most heavy trainers use some kind of protein supplement and many of them have a lot of muscle mass, which could be attributed to having more protein. Some of these trainers recommend huge amounts of protein supplementation. Studies have shown adequate protein intake helps you keep the muscle you have during weight loss and it’s also been demonstrated that more than what you need doesn’t contribute to extra gains, but the question stands, “How much is enough?”
From all of the information I have found on this subject it appears a good reccomendation would be anywhere from .8 grams per kilogram of body weight for someone who doesn’t seriously workout to 1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight for the person who is going for the big gains. It’s true some people recommend more, but I haven’t seen the evidence to support it being beneficial.
I have experimented over many years of being a vegetarian and for most of the time I wanted to gain weight and didn’t consume any protein supplements.
I have always did some kind of vigorous exercise and maintained strength, but sometimes I wondered if I could optimize my strength by consuming more protein in some form.
In the last year I have taken a protein supplement and I can’t prove it, but I think I have benefited from it some. I only use it a few times per week, on average, on the days I work out. I can’t say it’s completely related to the protein consumption, as I’ve changed a couple of other things as well, but I seem to recover quicker with less muscle soreness and I have a little more muscle mass.
When it comes to choosing any food or supplement I will only settle for the top of the top quality. I have found 2 products which are ones I can recommend with confidence for anyone wanting to experiment. These 2 companies have the highest quality standards and the ingredients in their supplements are unique. I write a little bit on the subject of protein in my new book, Sexy Fit, which you can learn more about by clicking here. The products I recommend in it are Warrior Food and Sun Warrior Protein Powder.
Just in case you think I am recommending them because I get paid for it, I want to set the record straight. I only recommend products I use. I have negotiated a a deal as an affiliate for recommending their products, but I used and liked the products before, and approached them later to see if I could promote them because I saw the value in their products.
The following is a breakdown of the ingredients of each of the products and why I think they are the very best protein supplements. In Warrior Food, by Health Force Nutritionals, the ingredients are Organic Raw Sprouted, non-GMO Brown Rice Protein, Organic Hemp Protein, Organic Actual Vanilla, Organic Nopal Cactus, and Organic Whole Leaf Stevia. In addition it contains Phycocyanin extract, from Klamath Algae, which supports kidneys; and the Enzymes protease, bromelain, papain, amylase, lipase, cellulase and alpha-galactosidase. These enzymes are all of the essentials to break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates; and then some.
The owner of the company, Jameth Sheridan, is one of the most extreme seekers of quality, in addition to one of the best health product formulators I know of. Every ingredient he uses has a specific reason and his protein powder has world wide attention. Almost all of the leading health promoters know about Warrior Food and Jameth Sheridan. Warrior Food is highly recommended for anyone who is seeking to supplement with protein and only wants to use the very best quality.
My second recommendation, but not necessarily second best, is Sun Warrior Protein. This protein powder is completely unique and is a ground breaking product. You can read their website to learn about it in depth and confirm the following. Sun Warrior protein powder has been shown to help the body assimilate more of the other nutrients a person consumes. It is also being used in helping with absorption of vitamins in people with AIDS, and is claimed to be good enough to give to a baby and the elderly because of its superior digestibility. According to the information the company puts out it has a 98.2% digestibility efficiency. Sun warrior is rich in nutrients besides protein as well, including iron and calcium. It is even compared to mother’s milk on the Sun Warrior Website. It is one of the most useable protein forms and includes all of the amino acids the body needs to get from outside sources. It is richer in almost every amino acid than eggs and whey protein and even contains more leucine than both of them, which helps the body to synthesize more protein. Sun Warrior is also considerably higher in Arginine than egg and whey. Arginine helps boost Human Growth Hormone and Nitric Oxide in the body, and has been shown to increase endurance in athletes. Nitric Oxide has a positive effect on blood flow control; and Human Growth Hormone helps muscles to grow, in addition to other benefits. The protein powder is creamy (not grainy) and tastes good. The ingredient is Bio-Fermented Raw Sprouted Whole Grain Brown Rice. That’s it for the unflavored kind. The label doesn’t say organic yet, but the ingredients are in the process of being certified, as I’ve been told by Sun Warrior, and are the highest quality. The extraction method uses only organic enzymes unlike many other methods of protein extraction. This company also has a great reputation among the health community and that reputation is expanding rapidly. They also have some other great products. As far as protein supplements go you won’t do better than Sun Warrior has to offer.
So now you know 2 of the best protein supplements available in case your interested in using one. The way I see it at this point in my life is a good protein supplement is good protein insurance. The protein supplements I recommend don’t have any of the negatives associated with some proteins and they provide all of the amino acids the body needs; just in case your short of optimal on a couple of them.
To your health and happiness.
Essential Amino Acids the body needs to receive from food or supplementation.
Non Essential Amino Acids the body can synthesize without getting from food or supplementation
Some of the non-essential amino acids are conditionally essential. Babies need to get arginine, for example as their bodies won’t synthesize it.