Today's #FitnessFriday post is by the awesome Michael Gales at Everlast. I came across his post and have had so many chats with friends, clients and my instructors on the ability to succeed with building muscle and training well while living a vegan lifestyle. Michael explains it so well, so I've asked my awesome team at Everlast Nutrition if I could share some of his expertise and they agreed.
A Friendly Reminder: All products purchased through Everlast Nutrition can be bought at a discount with added gifts when using the promo code NOSHEVERLAST upon check out.
Historically, plant-based proteins were deemed not as effective for muscle building as their animal counterparts, due to their amino acid profile. For years, soy seemed to be the only alternative to animal-based whey protein. The problem with soy, however, was that it also had the reputation of boosting estrogen levels, so many people were reluctant to touch it.
Vegan protein has evolved significantly in recent years, as more and more people look to alternatives for whey and soy. Not only are plant-based proteins as effective as their animal counterparts, but here are 6 other reasons to go green for muscle building:
1. Complete Amino Acid Profile
Believe it or not, there are vegan proteins with complete amino acid profiles, high in both BCAAs and glutamine. In fact, all-natural rice and pea protein blends now rival the traditional sources of whey and egg. The goal of any quality protein supplement is to deliver proper nutrition, in order for its users to increase lean muscle mass and strength. The new vegan blends have high bioavailability, which increases post-workout recovery. The protein is quickly digested and delivered to the muscles to reduce the catabolic effect of training. Not to mention, the new vegan blends are now quite effective at helping with lean muscle mass growth.
2. No Lactose
Lactose is not only a problem for lactose intolerant people, but for everyone else as well. Proteins with higher levels of lactose can cause bloating, gas and flatulence. Thankfully, vegan proteins are lactose-free, so they’re easily digested (without causing any stomach issues). Believe me, no one wants to be trapped in an elevator next to the guy who just had 2 scoops of low quality protein.
3. No Ethical Issues
Many people prefer to avoid animal-based proteins, foods and other products for ethical, religious or dietary reasons. Luckily, there’s vegan proteins, which are plant based and don’t violate these people’s beliefs or principles.
4. Free of Hormones
In recent years, health-conscious people have clamored for a protein that’s just as effective as animal protein, but is free from all the chemicals that are fed to livestock. Chemicals are typically not present in whey protein, but many people don’t want to take any chances. Many gym-goers also avoid soy out of fear that soy protein will affect their estrogen levels. The new vegan protein mixture of rice and peas eliminates those concerns and also rivals the muscle-building effects of whey.
It’s not just what the new vegan blends have; it’s also what they don’t have that makes them so attractive. They’re not only free of dairy products, but they also have no gluten, simple sugar or cholesterol. The new premium vegan protein blends are also sweetened naturally with stevia, as opposed to aspartame. All of these qualities make the vegan blend a good option for those with allergies or high cholesterol.
6. Better Tasting
A big factor for any protein supplement is taste. You can have the most effective protein mix in the world, but if it makes you gag, there’s no way you’ll keep drinking it. Yeah, I’m talking about you, vegetarian protein sources. For years, the taste and consistency were, to put it politely, lacking. The new premium vegan blends are much better, with a smooth consistency and pleasant taste. In fact, in a blind taste test, you’d be hard pressed to pick out the vegan drink.