Veganism is a growing trend with more and more people adopting the lifestyle every day. The origin of one's desire to try to eat a more plant-based diet or convert to being wholly vegan may stem from several key factors. Perhaps it's about the exploitation of animals, for personal health reasons or for the good of our planet's environment.
Certainly all of the above are valid reasons for consideration of becoming vegan. As our environmental concerns come to the forefront of global politics; there is a push to ensure we leave behind a sustainable planet for future generations. The mass production of animal products certainly places a heavy burden on our planet; with significant deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction growing as land is cleared to grow the crops required for feed.
There are several health considerations to make however before jumping into a vegan lifestyle, many of which center around the dietary implications of eliminating meat or animal products from your diet entirely. In this article we'll focus on the most challenging macro-nutrient to maintain when going vegan, protein.
Meat, dairy and eggs account for the majority of dietary protein in a typical Western diet. Vegans need to be cognizant of ensuring they are getting adequate protein from their diets to maintain lean body mass. This may require eating a significant volume of nuts/seeds, whole grains and legumes.
The average vegan consumes approximately 30% less protein that non-vegans, primarily because plant based foods are typically lower in overall protein content, and as such they would need to consume a significantly higher volume of food to attain recommended levels of protein intake.
Plant proteins also tend to be far less bioavailable than animal protein sources, and they often are deficient in various essential amino acids.
There are 9 essential amino acids (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine) with a 10th, arginine being essential for youngsters. These amino acids MUST be obtained from the diet, since the body cannot synthesize them itself from other starting materials.
Rice protein, for instance, is deficient in the amino acid Lysine. Pea protein is low in methionine and nearly all plant proteins do not contain the levels of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs: Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine) that whey protein does. BCAAs, in particular Leucine are critical for the maintenance and building of lean muscle.
If considering going vegan, one should certainly look to ensure they are supplementing their diet with a good protein supplement that is comprised of a 'blend'' of multiple plant based protein sources. Utilizing a product derived from more than a single source of plant protein can help alleviate the deficiencies that a single source like rice or soy protein may have.
Consider the following:
Lentil protein is rich in Leucine, Lysine, Phenylalanine, Threonine & Tryptophan.
Pumpkin seed protein and Quinoa are rich in Arginine.
Combining these 3 protein sources with a combination of both Pea and Rice protein yields a COMPLETE protein, that is chalk full of all 10 essential amino acids.
Plant protein technology has improved the quality, texture and taste of vegan protein supplements today compared to even just 2 years ago. A high quality blend of vegan proteins can now be enjoyed daily, without the gritty and chalky aftertaste that plagued vegan proteins in the past.
Do your research, here are 5 tips to look for when looking at a vegan protein supplement:
It is important to maintain a healthy balance of estrogen through a combination of lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet and regular exercise, and the use of natural supplements when necessary.
Here's a list of several common natural supplement ingredients that can help rebalance your hormones, and detoxify your body from exposure to environmental xenoestrogens...
Estrogen dominance refers to a condition where there's an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone levels in a woman's body. This can happen to women of any age, but it's most common in women approaching menopause or who are postmenopausal.
Our bodies are controlled by a delicate balance of hormones and estrogen and progesterone are two of the most important ones. Estrogen helps regulate the menstrual cycle and prepares the uterus for pregnancy, while progesterone maintains the uterine lining and prepares the body for pregnancy. When this balance gets disrupted, it can cause a number of symptoms that can seriously affect our daily lives.