Alternative Protein


I want to address the often confusing topic of protein requirements for healthy, active lifestyles.

In recent years there has been a shift from the often unconscious eating of animal protein, to an alternative way of finding a replacement for our needs. The modern day American diet high in beef protein, which due to it’s high levels of saturated fat can be a significant factor in contributing to increased blood levels of unhealthful ‘LDL’. Many folk including myself have included more and more vegan ‘vegetarian’ foods into their diet, plant based proteins such as tempeh or tofu. The plant based proteins are incomplete proteins, meaning that they do not contain all the essential amino acids required to build and repair muscle tissue in the body.

Protein when ingested are broken down into amino acids, which then become the building blocks of skeletal muscle. Plant proteins have varying amino acid profiles. To give you an example legumes are high in Lysine (one of the essential amino acids), while grains are low, however, by combining legumes and grains you get all the essential amino acids.

As follows:

  • Grains and legumes combinations
  • Blacks beans and rice
  • Multi- grain bread and peanut/almond or cashew butter.
  • Nuts and seeds plus legumes;
  • Hummus (chickpea and tahini)
  • Lentils and almonds.

If training intensely while deciding to go the route of eating less animal proteins, such as beef, chicken, pork etc, it maybe beneficial to include egg whites in your daily diet, known as (ova-lacto vegetarian), as this will ensure that you are getting complete proteins to repair your body from intense workouts.Soy is also a complete protein with all the essential amino acids. In the long-term this will aid in the prevention of injuries.

Most of these amino acids are essential and the body cannot store them, so they need to be included in our daily diet. Be sure to include foods such as nuts, seeds, pulses, soy and protein powder supplements in your diet, as this will give you the balance that your body needs.


Proteins are necessary to sustain life, repair body tissues and promote cell renewal, pre- curse hormones, enzymes and blood cells. It is one of the most vital substances in the body second only to water, totaling about one fifth of a person’s body weight. Protein deficiency can result in weakness, fatigue and lowered immune function.

Many vegetarians assume that because they consume a higher carbohydrate content, that their diet will be balanced enough for optimum health. This often leaves them short of sufficient protein for adequate energy for workouts, or for the repair needed after.

Many folk look down upon vegetable sourced protein viewing it as inferior to animal based proteins. However along with supplying the body with a valuable source of protein, plant foods also contain micronutrients, phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber that you will not find in animal proteins.

It is also much lower in saturated fats and less perishable. Many people make vegetable protein their main source, and remain in optimum health. I would recommend supplementing with a high quality egg white protein powder, and in addition loading up on essential and BCAA amino acids to boost and ensure that you have enough protein for your fit lifestyle requirements. Enjoy the variety even if you are not vegetarian.

If you are in the Los Angeles area and you would like a complimentary one-on-one assessment with Personal Trainer in L.A. Nicholas Barrett, please don't hesitate to get in touch! Personal trainer Los Angeles. Los Angeles personal trainer. Personal trainer marina del rey.

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