Vegetarian and vegan lifestyles are commonplace these days, and many people are gung-ho about the health and environmental benefits they bring.
But the question still remains: how do plant eaters get enough protein in their diets? This macronutrient is essential to healthy muscles and organs, and can’t be overlooked.
Luckily, pea protein powder has come to the rescue as a reliable source of healthy protein for vegetarians and vegans everywhere. Let’s take a closer look at this plant-based protein source and see how it can help.
Pea Protein Powder Basics
There is a surprising amount of protein in peas, despite being a small and unassuming little legume. Scientists and engineers have done a great job at grinding down peas to extract their protein essence and packaging it in a convenient powdered form.
Here is a nutritional breakdown of 20 grams of typical pea protein powder:
- 80 Calories
- 15g Protein
- 1.5g Fat
- 1g Carbs
- 1g Fiber
That’s a strong nutritional profile for any food, and great for anyone leading a low-carb lifestyle while trying to keep animal protein out of the picture.
While different pea protein powders will vary a bit from one to the next, this is what you can expect from most retail products.
If you were to try to get that amount of protein from veggies or legumes alone, you would end up overdoing it on calories and likely end up with a stomachache from eating so much food.
Pea protein allows you to get a diet with total macronutrient coverage so you build muscle, lose weight, and remain high-energy throughout the day.
With the convenience factor of powder, you can whip up a pea protein shake in no time, leaving you no excuse to dial in your diet as a vegetarian or vegan.
Advantages Over Standard Protein
It’s understood that some old-school fitness industry folks raise an eyebrow at pea protein powder, since whey, casein, and other dairy-based proteins have been the norm for so long.
But believe it or not, there are some distinct advantages that pea protein powders have over animal-product counterparts, which explains why many people are turning their opinions around.
First off, pea-based proteins tend to have a lower level of cholesterol than whey powders, which are not necessarily a heart-healthy supplement.
While cholesterol isn’t the be-all-end-all of health, it’s certainly a concern for folks at an advanced age with hypertension and high blood pressure. The ability to load up on clean protein without the cholesterol is certainly a plus for many demographics.
Next, pea protein powder is quite filling, meaning you won’t feel the need to eat a ton of food throughout the day to feel satisfied. Protein is a very satiating nutrient, and mixed with some healthy fat like coconut oil, you will be happy and full for hours at a time.
Vegans and vegetarians commonly fight the urge to munch on less-than-healthy snacks when dieting, and pea protein powder combats those cravings effectively with little effort.
Finally, pea protein is great for anyone with allergies or other dietary restrictions that prevent them from consuming dairy products. Whey is not the most organic food in the world, and can result in indigestion and discomfort.
Pea protein fixes the problem by keeping things 100% natural and clean.
The Best Way to Enjoy Pea Protein
Now that you know a few benefits of pea protein, let’s talk about recipes!
The most common way to take protein powder is in shake form, mixed with a bit of water and blended up in a bottle before chugging. While this offers a quick fix, it’s not the most elegant or delicious approach.
Luckily, you can use pea protein powder as an ingredient in several different ways to make it a more enjoyable experience. Mix it into a bowl of oatmeal or complex carbohydrate cereal for breakfast, or bake it into waffles, muffins, or homemade vegan protein bars.
You can also make healthy smoothies with plant-based milk or yogurt, including plenty of fresh fruits and veggies. A bit of natural sweetener can turn it into a delightful dessert that leaves you with no guilt whatsoever.
If you’re trying to lose weight, build muscle, or complete a 30-day challenge with a group of friends, these tasty recipes can be a real lifesaver when cravings kick in.
Stay Focused on the Fundamentals
Innovations such as pea protein powders are key to ensuring the health and fitness of people leading unique lifestyles and navigating dietary restrictions, but they aren’t an instant cure-all.
You still need to do your part in achieving optimal health by sticking with a solid routine of diet and exercise, using protein powder as a supplement rather than a crutch.
At the end of the day, pea protein is a small part of a larger health equation, and it’s your job to focus on the fundamentals of healthy living to make your goals a reality.
Always be exploring new foods and workout routines that can help simplify and accelerate your strategies, and stay determined to write your own success story!
Whether you’re a vegetarian or vegan looking to boost your protein intake, or you are a meat-eater who wants to lighten up your diet a bit, pea-based protein powder is a great option that can accelerate your path toward complete health and fitness.
Remember to dial in your exercise routine and maintain healthy habits to make the most of pea protein powder, and try a few different recipes to make it taste great.
Rejoice in the fact that high-quality veggie-based protein is here to stay, and keep your eyes open for new and exciting products to hit the market in years to come.