An email I often get is based around guys trying vegan or vegetarian and wondering if they need to supplement with a protein powder.
And I just received another this morning, so I thought I’d go ahead and share a few thoughts on this topic.
A lot of guys aren’t sure they are getting enough protein when they try a vegan or vegetarian diet.
It’s completely understandable.
So, here are my thoughts.
Before I get going…
I’m not currently 100% vegan, but I would say I’m still about 75-80% vegan.
A couple of years back I went for about 18 months as a 100% vegan, and I must say I felt fantastic.
There were a few issues why I didn’t keep going, and I’ll get into those another time. I don’t want this post to be too long.
Do Vegans need to take protein powder?
Obviously, there is never one size fits all. You need to look carefully at your own situation. And make smart decisions based off of that. But here are a few situations to think about.
I would say, if you plan your diet correctly, the food you eat as a vegan can definitely meet your daily protein requirements…
Even if you are a 150kg powerlifter!
But if you’re new to the vegan way of eating, you might not be able to plan your diet correctly at first. Or you’re not 100% sure.
So, if that sounds like your situation, why not add a vegan protein powder into your diet?
Protein powder prices have come right down compared to when I was younger, so it’s rarely a price factor holding guys back.
I would say though, there have been studies done on vegetarians and vegans regarding their protein consumption, and usually, they are taking enough.
But it’s hard to say how vigorous the study participants were exercising…
So again, I think it’s better to err on the side of caution, and supplement your training with a protein powder…even just once per day.
So, why all the confusion about vegans and protein?
What a lot of people don’t realize is that most plant foods, like grains, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds have a lot of protein.
In my daily power shakes, I always put sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, and chia seeds to ramp up my protein intake.
If you want to supplement with a vegan protein powder, then why not?
In my opinion, it’s better to have slightly more protein, than being deficient.
You definitely, don’t want to put all that hard work into your training, ripping your muscle fibres, but to then not feed your muscles enough protein.
Vegan protein powders are often made from brown rice protein or a combination of rice, pea and hemp protein to boost the protein value.
Another consideration is that vegans might need a little more protein than meat-eaters to account for the different amino acid mixes in plant foods and because some plant proteins are digested less efficiently than animal proteins.
If you’re following the high-intensity GTW workouts, then you will need between about 1.5 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
If you are doing less intense training, then perhaps 1.2 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is sufficient.
If you choose almond or rice milk in your power shakes, remember it’s much lower in protein than soy milk. I usually advise my clients to add half a scoop of vegan protein powder.
It’s also important to meet your daily calorie requirements. If your calorie intake is too low, some of the protein in your diet will be used for energy purposes rather than to make important proteins in your body.
If you are trying to lose weight, add a few extra protein-rich foods to your diet each day. Or add a scoop of vegan protein powder to your power shake.
Plus, I would be very careful about just restricting your intake of food when training hard.
I recommend intermittent fasting over reducing your food intake for losing weight every day of the week.
Plus, fasting does more than helping us burn calories and lose weight.
The latest research has found that fasting improves metabolism, lowering blood sugar and reduces inflammation. This improves a range of health issues from arthritic pain to asthma. Plus, fasting also helps clear out toxins and damaged cells, lowering the risk of cancer and enhances brain functions.
I’ve been on a regular intermittent fasting lifestyle for about two years now, and I’m loving it.
I feel much more alive. I enjoy my food much more. I’ve cut my body fat percentage. Cut my belly fat by THREE belt notches. And I still drink a little beer every night.
That’s another win-win.
Gym time guys…
Leave a comment below or email me if you have a question.
Keep training hard (mentally & physically),
Greg ‘Take No Prisoners’ Noland
CEO & Founder
Grey Top Warriors
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