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As saying goes, a healthy body starts with sound nutrition. And for many fitness success is 20% exercise and 80% nutrition.

That’s why when our Personal Training Clients asks us how to find an effective vegetarian protein, we often start by educating them about what a protein is.

By giving them this foundation they then can figure things out for themselves (when meal-planning and eating out).

In short, proteins are utilized by the body for a variety of critical functions (including immune system support), and they are the structural components of muscle and other tissues.

An adequate amount of protein in your diet is crucial for the growth and repair of your
body’s cells and the normal functioning of muscles.

Proteins are built out of amino acids. You  can think of amino acids as the building blocks of protein (just like lego).

Most foods have a varying amino acid profile. And your goal is to eat the right combinations of amino acids, so your digestive system can effectively assimilate them and use them to build, repair and healthily maintain your body.

There are essential amino acids, meaning your body does not naturally produce them, and non-essential amino acids, one’s which your body can make.

High-quality protein sources include the right combination of essential and non essential amino acids.

And the good news is you don’t have to eat only high-quality protein foods, because you can combine two or more lower-quality protein sources to yield a higher quality one.

For example, you will want to combine a grain with a legume ie. pumpernickel bread with cashews, because on their own they are weak sources of protein, but together make a highly effective one.

Another combination example can be adding peas to rice, because doing this will complete the amino acid structure. And if it’s more convenient you can also include a pea protein enriched smoothy to your meal whenever you eat rice or grains.

Here are some examples of higher-quality protein foods:

  • Tofu
  • Lentils
  • Soybeans
  • Edamame
  • Quinoa
  • Chickpeas
  • Soy Milk
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Baked Beans
  • Soy Protein Isolate
  • Whey Protein Isolate
  • Eggs
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Pistachios
  • Chia Seeds
  • Black-Eyed Peas
  • Ezekiel Bread

Examples of alternative sources of protein foods:

  • Rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Amaranth
  • Almonds
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Peanut & Almond Butter
  • Pita Bread
  • Hummus

In addition to exercise, we are equally passionate about educating our Personal Training clients about nutrition and lifestyle habits.

If you found this information to be helpful, and would like to learn more, then feel free to reach us for a complimentary consultation and free first workout.

Additional Resources

https://www.vrg.org/

https://veganhealth.org/

https://vegweb.com/

https://vegetarian-nutrition.info/

Sources Used:

Mariotti, F., & Gardner, C. D. (2019). Dietary protein and amino acids in vegetarian diets—A review. Nutrients, 11(11), 2661.

Marsh, K. A., Munn, E. A., & Baines, S. K. (2013). Protein and vegetarian diets. Med J Aust, 199(4 Suppl), S7-S10.

Melina, V., Craig, W., & Levin, S. (2016). Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: vegetarian diets. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 116(12), 1970-1980.