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Vegan Diet and Protein Intake

6% of U.S consumers declare themselves as vegan as opposed to 1% in 2014. When looking specifically at numbers, it`s about 1.6 m people. It`s a tendency in the whole world.

There are many concerns when starting a vegan diet, it might include; 1) Not getting sufficient vitamin B12, Iron. 2) Not getting enough protein (not just for the daily activities but also in order to gain muscle mass and proper recover between practice sessions).

It`s totally viable to get enough protein from plants as protein requirements for healthy individuals range from 0.8g of protein per Kg to 2g of protein per Kg and 1.6g to 2.2g of protein per Kg for athletes, respectively. For example, a peanut butter sandwich has about 18g of protein.

It`s known that the amino acid profile of the protein counts too. We can talk specifically about lysine and leucine. These amino acids are more abundant in animal protein and help stop muscle catabolism and increase muscle anabolism. Good plant sources of these amino acids are, among other foods; Spirulina, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.

Many times the use of protein supplements can be a good choice not all 100% of plant proteins get absorbed. The ratio of protein intake varies greatly but many people prefer taking 50% of protein from foods such as beans, lentils, soy, peas, 25% from grains and 25% from nuts and seeds.

The intake of too much protein is not good because there`s only a certain amount the body can absorb (many people agree to be something between 25-30g of protein, per meal). So it`s a good idea to space your protein intake along the day.

As far as post workout, it`s advisable to ingest about 20-25g of rapid absorption protein along with a rapid absorption carbohydrate (up to 30 minutes after practice). The carbohydrate will help to make sure most of the protein ingested will be used for muscle mass gain and not to replace the energy spent during practice. Good post workout meals are: Rice protein shake with a piece of fruit and oats or a peanut butter sandwich and a piece of fruit.

Many vegan meals are rich in fiber, it`s important not to have your pre workout meal with too much fiber, it will be harder to digest. The blood flow will get more concentrated in the intestines and less in the muscles.

Special attention should be not just getting enough vitamins, minerals and protein but also enough carbohydrates and Kcal in order to better recover from training sessions.

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