Go Beyond Tofu With These Plant-Based Proteins – Triathlete

Want to eat less meat? Join the crowd. While chicken and all-American hamburgers remain a staple in many diets, plant-based proteins are growing in popularity with increased demand. This protein blessing now gives you more options than ever to get enough of this all-important macronutrient.

As an athlete, you’ll probably be worried about getting enough protein – which is a good thing because it’s a vital nutrient for building muscle and recovery, not to mention maintaining strong bones and connective tissue. And despite what you might think, research shows that as long as you’re getting enough total protein, getting most of it from plants isn’t a concern when it comes to improving lean body mass and increasing muscle strength in response to training.

Getting more protein from plant sources can also be a recipe for longevity. A recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine It was found that replacing some animal proteins, such as meat and eggs, with vegetable proteins in the diet may reduce the overall risk of premature death and death from cardiovascular disease. The results showed that for every 3% of a person’s daily calories that came from plant protein rather than animal protein, there was a 10% lower risk of premature death. Similarly, an analysis of data from more than 30 studies published in BMJ Eating protein in general and plant protein specifically has been linked to a reduced risk of all-cause mortality. Note that using only a whole plant was not required to increase the shelf life in these investigations which is a good thing as the majority of athletes are not ready to go vegan.

These findings make sense when you consider that complete plant proteins provide nutritional benefits such as dietary fiber and various antioxidants not found in animal sources. Eating more plants like legumes can also be a way to boost the microbiome, which plays a role in digestive, brain and immune health. And it could be a way to cut some of the saturated fats out of your diet, which is still a heart-healthy step.

So, even if you’re not cutting meat away from your diet, these plant-based proteins can be an excellent way to support your athletic endeavours. Moreover, they can be easily added to the foods you already eat.

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Add crunch to your salad with soybeans

Soy nuts are not nuts but instead are ripe, crunchy soybeans that have been soaked, dried, and baked or roasted. Not to be confused with the edamame you get at sushi restaurants.

Not only does each ¼ cup crunchy bite provide 10 grams of complete protein, meaning it contains a complete arsenal of all essential amino acids, soy nuts are also a source of a wide range of micronutrients including magnesium, phosphorous and calcium. Since they are less dense than nuts like almonds and cashews, soybeans provide more protein for fewer calories, especially if they are dry roasted.. You can find them in most bulk food stores.

In addition to a healthier salad crunch than toast, soybeans can be used in trail mix or enjoyed as a protein-rich snack.

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Use freekeh in any cereal dish

Quinoa isn’t the only grain that’s proficient in protein. Freekeh is popular in Middle Eastern cooking, a type of wheat that is harvested while still green or “young” and then roasted, dried and rubbed resulting in a whole grain with a smoky, nutty flavour. When serving, it contains twice as much protein and fiber as quinoa—about 5 grams of each in a 1/4 cup dry serving size. The duo of carbohydrates and protein in Freekeh makes the ancient grain a great addition to your post-workout meal to kick-start muscle recovery. As a bonus, freekeh provides a dose of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that play a role in promoting eye health and improving brain function.

One caveat: Since freekeh belongs to the wheat family, those who need to follow a gluten-free diet, including people with celiac disease, cannot include grains in their diets.

Use cooked freekeh as a standalone side dish or make it the backbone of salads, soups, cereal bowls, and veggie burgers. It’s also a great alternative to rice in burritos.

While freekeh may not be as common as rice, couscous, or quinoa in supermarkets, you can generally find it in natural foods stores, Middle Eastern grocery stores, or online at Bob’s Red Mill.

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Mix pea protein into your post-workout smoothie

Whey definitely doesn’t dominate the roost when it comes to muscle building protein powder. The rising tide of plant-based protein powders only coincides with the rise in popularity of eating vegan with pea protein emerging as a more popular choice. It is a solid choice for protein-hungry athletes.

In a double-blind randomized controlled study published in Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, participants enrolled in a 12-week resistance training program received either 25 grams of pea protein, 25 grams of whey protein, or a placebo. The results showed a significantly greater effect on muscle thickness in the pea protein group compared to the placebo group, with no clinical difference in strength between the pea and whey treatment. It is not surprising when you consider the results of this report comparing different plant protein isolates which found that pea protein, which is made from green or yellow peas and not the low-protein giant green variety, has the highest content of essential amino acids as the percentage of total protein, It almost rivals whey protein in this respect.

With so many options on the market, don’t be afraid to judge the taste and texture. And don’t forget that you can use pea protein powder in more ways than smoothies. Stir in oatmeal for a much-needed breakfast protein boost, mix an unflavored powder into dips or put it into pancakes and baked goods in place of some flour.

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Eat chickpea pasta on pasta night

Almost every athlete loves pasta. And now you can make your favorite pasta shape work even harder for your muscles by embracing those made with legumes instead of wheat flour. 2 ounces of chickpea-based pasta provides about 13 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber — twice the amount of protein and three times the amount of fiber found in regular pasta. This, in turn, can set you up to reduce post-meal hunger pangs and improve blood sugar levels so you feel less lethargic after a pasta feast. Also, you can get more of the vital micronutrients like magnesium, iron and potassium found in beans and lentils. Talk about upgrading nutrition. This 2021 systematic review showed that a higher intake of pulses, which includes chickpeas, is associated with improved blood lipids and blood pressure numbers, reduced inflammation and even healthier body composition.

Not only is it nutritious and gluten-free — it’s also increasingly delicious with a texture that won’t leave your Italian grandmother swooning. But there are some important things to keep in mind when preparing any legume pasta. In particular, they can go from fully cooked to moist in a matter of moments, so tasting is often close to the recommended cooking time. The pasta also foams like crazy in the boiling water, so remove it with the spoon as needed. Unlike pasta made from wheat, legumes should be rinsed with cold water after draining. One of the best brands out there is Chickapea.

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stir in some seitan

seitan (pronounced You said thatIt is a chewy meat substitute produced from high-protein vital wheat gluten and made from wheat flour. It’s been used in Asian cooking for much longer than bleeder veggie burgers have.

Sure, if you’re gluten-free, you shouldn’t eat it because it’s literally made from it. But if you’re not a gluten fanatic, it’s a surprisingly great vegetarian option for those who don’t have an appetite for the more processed mock meats hitting the market. Not only is it so high in protein — 18 grams per 2-ounce serving — plus it’s low in fat, it has a nice, mild taste and chewy, beef-like texture that tofu just can’t achieve.

You can find seitan in most health foods and some grocery stores (or online), where you can buy regular or seasoned options cut into small pieces or ground. Since they’re already cooked, you can lightly brown them in a skillet to brown and reheat them and then use them in French fries, tacos, stews, sandwiches, pasta sauces, salads, and pasta bowls. It absorbs flavors well, so any marinades or meat sauces can also be used on seitan.

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