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All You Need To Know About Plant Protein – Because It Builds Muscle The Same, If Not Better, Than Meat

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Related CE Article: Plant Based Protein vs Protein From Meat. Which One Is Better For Your Body? 

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An often cited “fact” is that vegetarians and vegans will struggle to build muscle because they don’t have enough protein in their diet. Non meat eaters are often told that getting sufficient protein is impossible due to the relative lack of plant protein available. Of course this is not true at all; while it is undeniably more difficult to hit your protein targets when abstaining from meat, it is absolutely possible.

In this article we will be talking all things related to plant protein. We will explore the plant-based protein foods you can eat and the plant protein powders you can use to supplement your diet. But first we will take a look at the benefits of protein and how much protein you really should be consuming per day.

The Benefits of Protein

Why is protein such an important macro nutrient? Well it happens to be very useful for people trying to lose weight, maintain weight, or gain weight… which is basically everyone! It can increase your metabolism (due to it being hard to digest compared to carbohydrates and fats), preserve muscle while dieting, help contribute to weight loss, and aid muscle building. It also increases satiety (that feeling of being full after a meal), which helps people to avoid overeating.

Without protein, your body would not be able to maintain muscle mass. This might sound fine to some of you in theory, particularly anyone who “doesn’t want to get too bulky,” but if you desire a toned body, better overall fitness, or ease of movement in your old age, then you would want to avoid losing muscle.

For any vegan bodybuilders out there, protein is even more important. Without sufficient protein, you will never be able to build muscle. That’s because protein is essential for the repair and rebuilding of muscle fibres after a workout. There is a process called muscle protein synthesis, which uses dietary protein to build and repair muscles. If you don’t have sufficient protein, then your muscles will either stay the same or even lose size.

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Recommended Protein Intake

The amount of protein you can take per day is a long-debated issue, but suffice it to say that if you have no long term kidney problems, there is no upper limit to the amount that you can safely take. This doesn’t mean that you can eat 400g a day, it just means the range is quite large. A recent study found that natural bodybuilders benefit from anywhere between 2.3-3.1g of protein per kg of body weight. This doesn’t sound like much of a difference, but for a 100kg person, that could represent an 80g per day difference. Now, most people are not wannabe bodybuilders, so it would make sense to aim for the lower end of the scale. A target of between 1.5-2g per kg of body weight would be perfect. Let’s say you are 60kg; then your protein target would be between 90g and 120g per day.

Protein in Vegetarian & Vegan Diets

Most vegetarians and vegans do not hit their protein intake targets, but then, neither do meat eaters! It is one of the reasons why many people are overweight or not as strong as they should be. It’s hard to make generalizations about vegetarian or vegan diets because they can be so varied, but most protein tends to come from lentils, nuts, beans, or soy. Here are five of the best plant protein sources available:

· Tofu (10g of protein per 1/2 cup)
· Lentils (18g of protein per cup)
· Navy Beans (15g of protein per cup)
· Cashew Nuts (5g of protein per 1/4 cup raw nuts)
· Chia Seeds (4g of protein per 2 tbsp)

Of course, if you have been following a plant-based diet, then you are probably familiar with all five of these excellent protein sources. But what about plant protein powders? In the last few years, lots of vegan protein powders have become available, offering high quality, complete proteins coming from vegan-friendly sources.

Different Types of Plant Protein

There are a lot of plant-based protein powders out at the moment, and we are going to take a look at five of the best around. There’s soy protein, pea protein, hemp protein, rice protein, and pumpkin protein. We are going to be looking at isolate protein powders rather than concentrate, as these are superior (higher protein to calorie ratio).

  1. Soy Protein – Soy is a great source of protein, but tends to be quite high in fat and
    carbohydrates, meaning it can be quite difficult to increase protein without increasing everything else as well. Soy protein powder is made by isolating the protein and removing as much of the fat and carbs as possible. You end up with around 22g of protein per serving, with less than 1g of fat and around 2g of carbohydrates. Soy is often criticized in bodybuilding circles because some believe it increases estrogen in men, but if you are eating a diet high in cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, sprouts, etc.), this should not be an issue.
  2. Pea Protein – A great alternative to whey protein, pea protein can contain up to 28g of protein per serving. It tends to work in a similar way to casein protein, being a slow digesting protein. This can increase satiety (feeling full after a meal) and is perfect for anyone on a diet.
  3. Hemp Protein – This form of protein comes from hemp seeds and is a very easily digested form of protein, similar to whey. Excellent for anyone who finds it difficult to digest certain foods, hemp protein powder is also high in fibre. Hemp protein tends to be a little lower in protein than soy or pea, with an average of 14-18g of protein per serving.
  4. Rice Protein – Rice protein powder comes from brown rice, and it is much higher in protein than help protein, managing to hit 24-30g of protein per serving.
  5. Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder – Probably the least known protein powder on this list, pumpkin protein is a really nice tasting and easily mixed protein powder. It has a wide range of benefits, and a decent protein to calorie ratio. It is around 63% protein, and is also high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, too.

The Bottom Line

This article has given you five high protein plant-based foods, and five plant-based protein powders. Adding these to a calorie controlled diet will help you to lose weight, build muscle, or just maintain your size in a healthy and sustainable way. Good luck with getting lean and big and let us know if you had awesome results using plant-based protein!

Demmy is a fitness buff who believes in paying it forward by always aiming to inspire other towards achieving their own health and fitness goals.

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We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

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Awareness

Boy or Girl – Baby Gender Selection Issues

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Some parents have the possibility to opt for gender selection; however, being able to decide whether to have a baby boy or girl is a controversial issue.

Many couples expecting a baby do not think it’s a big issue whether they have a boy or a girl; however there are several medical, social, and personal reasons that could influence parents to recur to some form of gender selection.

Like many other controversial practices, the legality of gender selection, also known as sex selection, varies from country to country.

The Legality of Baby Gender Selection

The United States has perhaps some of the most relaxed laws regarding baby gender selection in the world. Most European countries and Australia, on the other hand, have bans on sex selection and only allow it for medical reasons. For example, if a parent is a carrier of a mutation or gene with more chances of manifesting itself in a certain gender, baby gender selection is valid. However, if parents simply wish to balance the ratio of boys and girls in their family, they are not allowed to recur to sex selection.

This has generated a form of medical tourism in which couples from countries where gender selection is illegal, like the UK, travel to the US in order to be able to choose whether to have a baby boy or girl.

On the other hand, sex selection is illegal in the two most populated countries on Earth, China and India. In these countries, baby gender selection has been performed clandestinely for many years and for reasons other than family balancing or avoiding genetic diseases. In these societies, having a baby boy is preferred mainly for cultural and economic reasons. Parents believe that boys have better chances of earning income and eventually support them when they reach an old age.

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Methods of Baby Gender Selection

There are two major types of gender selection methods: the first one is called sperm sorting, and involves separating X-chromosome sperm from Y-chromosome sperm by flow cytometry, a purification technique in which chromosomes are suspended in a stream of sperm and identified by an electronic detector before being separated. Intra-uterine insemination or in-vitro fertilization can then be performed with the enriched sperm. The success rates for this method vary from 80% to 93%.

The other method, called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, consists in generating several embryos through in-vitro fertilization, which are then genetically tested to determine a baby’s gender. The chosen embryos can then be implanted. This method has a success rate of almost 100%; however, it can be quite expensive, costing up to $15,000.

Issues Regarding Baby Gender Selection

While there are few objections against baby gender selection when it is performed for medical reasons, it has become a highly controversial issue when it is used for balancing the number of boys or girls in families. Some people raise the obvious ethical question of whether people who opt for gender selection are “playing God” by manipulating whether to have a baby boy or girl. Others believe that new parents will raise a baby more appropriately if he or she belongs to their preferred gender.

Gender Imbalance Caused by Baby Gender Selection

Gender selection has caused demographic concern in China and India since it has contributed to generate a gender imbalance in the populations of those countries. In some regions of China, for example, the sex ratio for newborns is 118:100, boys to girls. This phenomenon has in turn been associated with social problems such as an increase in violence and prostitution.

It seems like a logical solution for governments around the globe to legalize baby gender selection but to analyze the personal reasons why each couple intends to select a baby boy or girl. Gender selection for medical reasons should even be encouraged, since it could prevent serious genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease, and Haemophilia A. Balancing the gender ratio of a family should be accepted if by doing this, a healthy family environment is created. On the other hand, China and India have shown that baby gender selection as a result of a bias towards a particular gender can not only create a gender imbalance in the population, but contribute to social problems as well.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

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Awareness

Organic Certification: What the USDA Organic Label Means

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Organic and natural labels mean different things, and various types of labels tells you what percentage of ingredients are actually organic. We'll explore what to look for.

  • Reflect On:

    Do you sometimes buy products thinking they are organic or fully natural based on their wording? Have you later found out that those products aren't natural or organic at all? Read labels more closely at grocery stores to be aware.

Don’t get conned by fraudulent claims of “natural” or “organic.” Learn what to look for, and why it’s important, to ensure you’re getting the quality you are paying for.

The industrial age of the 20th century brought about changing agricultural practices that have generated increasing alarm about the effects of these practices on the environment and health. The use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, irradiated and genetically altered food and fiber products has created a groundswell of rightful concern. It has led to the growing demand for non-toxic, organic products that many are willing to pay a higher price for to ensure the healthful purity of food and clothing provided for their families.

With such profit opportunities, it’s little wonder that the lucrative organic product market has suffered abuse with so-called “organic” labels being fraudulently placed on products that have not earned the right. As a result of pressure from farming and consumer groups, legislation for the standardization of organic certification was introduced in the 1980s. It has been updated to include more vigorous enforcement and control methods since, with the current standards established in 2002 by the USDA.

The Standards of USDA Organic Certification

Specific standards must be met in order to legally claim a product as USDA certified organic. Organic producers must utilize methods that conserve water, maximize soil health, and reduce air pollution. The specific standards to earn USDA organic certification include:

Free of synthetic chemicals such as insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers, hormones, antibiotics, and additives

Free from irradiation and genetically modified organisms

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Agricultural products grown on land that has been free of prohibited substances for a period of three years

Animals used for meat, eggs, milk or other animal products must be exclusively fed foods that are organically grown, may not be given antibiotics or hormones, and must have access to outdoors.

Clean and sanitized harvesting and processing equipment throughout the process from harvest to finished, packaged product

Detailed chain-of-handling records from the field through final sales

Physical separation of certified organic products from non-organic products throughout the process of production

Regular on-site inspections from USDA-approved inspectors to ensure compliance

Understanding the Certified Organic Label

Once the rigorous process of certification has been completed, organic producers may place the USDA certified organic seal on their products. Currently, there are four levels of certified organic products, with a specific definition of the percentage of organic ingredients the final products contains. They are as follows:

• 100% organic: all production methods and ingredients are USDA certified organic.

• Organic: at least 95% of the production methods and ingredients are USDA certified organic with remaining ingredients included on the National List of allowed ingredients.

• Made With Organic Ingredients: at least 70% of the ingredients are USDA certified organic with remaining ingredients included on the National List of allowed ingredients.

• No organic wording or seal: less than 70% of the ingredients are USDA certified organic and no claims may be made on the front or back of the product.

Manufacturers or producers who knowingly label a product “organic” when it does not meet the USDA standards are subject to fines up to $11,000 per violation.

Why Organic Certification is Important

When you see the official USDA organic certification seal on food, clothing, and bedding products, you can be assured that these products have met the meticulous standards required and are free of chemicals, toxins, antibiotics, and hormones. When you see the USDA certified organic label, you will understand the value of the higher priced organic products as compared to non-organically produced products.

With the current stringent organic certification requirements enforced by regular inspections from USDA accredited agents, the USDA certified organic label has great meaning and importance to the consumer. Look for the label to know that you are getting the quality you are paying for.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

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Awareness

WHO Finds Global Lack Of Inactivity Rising Especially In Wealthier Countries — What You Can Do

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Inactivity is on the rise and it's the cause of a wide range of health concerns. Our population is only becoming more inactive, not less, and it's time to change that.

  • Reflect On:

    There are many factors of our modern world that make us less active. Our jobs, driving rather than walking/biking, too much screen time. What can you do differently to bring more activity into your life? What story stops you from starting?

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than a quarter of the entire population on this planet are not getting enough physical exercise, this number has barely improved since 2001. There are many factors that contribute to this, but just how much damage are we doing by failing to be active?

The lack of physical exercise raises the risk of many health problems, such as heart disease, type-2 diabetes and various types of cancers.

Interestingly, according to their study published in The Lancet Global Health, higher income countries, such as the UK, were among the least active population. Women were also found to be more sedentary throughout the world, excluding two regions in Asia.

The study looked at self-reported data on activity levels from 358 population based surveys covering 168 countries and included 1.9 million people.

The populations of higher income countries, which include the UK and USA showed an increase in the proportion of inactive people and had actually risen from 32% in 2001 to 37% in 2016, in the lower income countries it remained at 16%.

Those who were classified as inactive did less than 150 minutes of moderate exercise and around 75 minutes of intense activity per week.

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It was found that women were less active than men overall, except for in South and Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and higher-income Western countries. The authors believe that this was caused by a few different factors including extra childcare duties and cultural perspectives that may have made it more difficult for them to exercise.

Why More Inactivity In Wealthier Countries?

According to the researchers, in the wealthier countries, many of the jobs have transitioned to more office or desk jobs, meaning a more sedentary type of lifestyle. On top of that much of the population of these countries drive automobiles or take public transit to and from work which in many cases accounts for a lot of their time.

In the lower income countries, many of the jobs require the people to be more active, are physically demanding and people often have to walk to and from their jobs.

The WHO has had a goal to reduce the global levels of inactivity by 10% by 2025, the authors of the study feel that at the rate we are currently going, this target will be missed.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Regina Guthold said, “Unlike other major global health risks, levels of insufficient physical activity are not falling worldwide, on average, and over a quarter of all adults are not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity for good health.”

Regions with increasing levels of insufficient physical activity are a major concern for public health and the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.”

Co-author, Dr. Fiona Bull added, “Addressing these inequalities in physical activity levels between men and women will be critical to achieving global activity targets and will require interventions to promote and improve women’s access to opportunities that are safe, affordable and culturally acceptable.”

According to the WHO,

Exercise guidelines for 19- to 64-year-olds

How much?

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week
  • strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles
  • break up long periods of sitting with light activity

What is moderate aerobic activity?

  • Walking fast, water aerobics, riding a bike on level ground or with a few hills, doubles tennis, pushing a lawn mower, hiking, skateboarding, rollerblading, volleyball, basketball

What counts as vigorous activity?

  • Jogging or running, swimming fast, riding a bike fast or on hills, singles tennis, football, rugby, skipping rope, hockey, aerobics, gymnastics, martial arts

What activities strengthen muscles?

  • lifting weights, working with resistance bands, doing exercises that use your own body weight, such as push-ups and sit-ups, heavy gardening, such as digging and shovelling, yoga

What activities are both aerobic and muscle-strengthening?

  • circuit training, aerobics, running, football, rugby, netball, hockey

Final Thoughts

I was surprised to see that the WHO didn’t touch on inactivity due to too much screen time — watching television, Netflix, Facebook scrolling, messaging, texting, browsing etc. Certainly, the increase in screen time plays a roll with the amount of inactivity, especially in the higher income countries. If you are someone who spends too much time staring at a screen, then it is important to consider the above information. Can you limit your screen time and replace it with something active? Or would you consider jumping rope, or rebounding while watching the television? Our health is our greatest wealth and having awareness about an issue is the first way to create change and take responsibility for our lives.

Could you walk or bike to work instead of drive? What about trying a new sport? Could you commit to adding a few hours each week of physical activity? These small decisions could have a profound impact on your health, longevity and overall well-being.

Much Love

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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