When it comes to matters regarding health and fitness, especially those based around bodybuilding and weight lifting, what we eat can play just as vital a role as which exercises we perform, and how intensely we actually train. You can work your butt off in the gym, five or six days a week, every single month, but if your diet and nutrition isn’t on the ball, you’ll essentially be doing nothing more than simply wasting your time. Now, as you may or may not know, protein is an extremely important food source when it comes to diet and exercise, as it helps muscles to repair and recover after intense periods of exercise and activity. When we think of protein however, we tend to think of steak, chicken, fish, and eggs, and certainly not plant based nutrition. Vegans and vegetarians however, don’t eat meat and some don’t even eat eggs or dairy based products, so you may think that they’d be struggling to get their proteins and amino acids. This is simply not true however, because there are a number of plant based protein sources that are packed full of protein and other healthy and beneficial nutrients.
Lentils – Lentils are great because they’re low in fat, are high in nutrients, and are a very good source of protein as well. Many vegans and vegetarians consume lentils and regard them as one of their primary sources of protein. One cup of lentils will provide you with nearly 20 grams of protein, which is very respectable indeed. The great thing about lentils is that they can be used to bulk out stews and soups, and can be combined with other plant based protein sources to provide you with a muscle building meal.
Quinoa – This seed, which very strongly resembles a grain, is a great alternative to pasta or rice, with the added bonus of being high in protein as opposed to carbohydrates. For a delicious protein rich breakfast, simply serve cold with some almond milk or coconut milk, and a few dried berries.
Spirulina – Don’t let the fact that this food source is considered a blue-green algae, put you off, because spirulina is a protein which is bio-available, which contains all of the essential amino acids that the body requires. This food source is the highest percentage of natural protein, as it’s 60% protein. It’s typically combined with a whole variety of different foods and supplements, and tastes surprisingly nice as well.