Pea Protein

 

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One of the biggest problems I’ve run into recently has been determining the reliability of sources of information. I have a lot of questions, and there isn’t one particular person I can go to for answers, so that leaves me with the internet. There’s so much out there though that it’s hard to narrow down things sometimes. It’s especially difficult to find information that is actually accurate.

For example, I have always been told that vegetable protein sources are not complete proteins. Being in Australia, I’ve had to look for different supplements than what I’m used to using, mainly due to availability. I’ve recently been introduced to yellow pea protein. I had never heard of this type of protein before so I was curious if it would be enough to use as a supplement and whether or not I needed other things in my diet to make up for what this protein lacks, if anything.

Okay, first off – a complete protein is a protein that contains all nine essential amino acids. Amino acids are quite literally the building blocks of life, and we need them to make our own protein so our bodies can break down food, grow, repair body tissue, and perform many other functions. They’re also used as a source of energy. Our bodies don’t make these amino acids on their own so we have to get them through the foods we eat. Without these, muscle loss results and there are problems with repair.

So how much protein do you really need, anyway? That’s dependent on several factors. There’s a nice handy website available for calculating how much you need a day according to your age, height, weight, and activity level.

For example, I am a 26 year old active female who is 5’ 6” and weighs 135lbs. My recommended daily amount of protein, specifically, is 49g. (If you want to know how it’s mathematically calculated, it’s 0.36g x weight in lbs.) This is important to help figure out how much supplementation might be needed to add to your normal diet.

Will increased protein intake help to increase muscle? According to a Harvard Health website, “The potential benefits of higher protein intake, include preserving muscle strength despite aging and maintaining a lean, fat-burning physique”. However, this research is ongoing and it’s important to take into consideration what else is being consumed along with the protein (such as fat, carbs, etc). More isn’t always better, but whatever your body doesn’t use will be flushed out anyway.

It’s very important to note that all proteins are not created equal. They’re all digested differently and some are absorbed faster than others. (For a good explanation of the different types of protein, check this out.) There’s also the whole food allergen aspect to take into account as well. You really have to find out what works best for you and your body. In my opinion, if I’m going to take the time and money to consume a supplement, I want to make sure what I’m putting into my body will be as useful as possible. This is why it’s important to read the labels and do product research, but more on that later.

Typically, vegetable proteins are missing one or two amino acids, so they can’t be considered complete. There are some vegetable proteins that are complete, such as soy, but to get the same amount of protein per serving, you’d have to consume more (raw foods, not powdered supplements) of these. Soy is also very heavily processed and can mimic the activity of estrogen in the body.

Animal proteins are complete, which may be why they are more popular. There is also more research to support milk-based protein. Unfortunately, some people are sensitive to lactose and milk protein might not be the best choice for them. Lactose allergies can produce bloating and discomfort, along with other GI issues. One of the proteins I recently tried was milk based and was so heavy after a workout that it was hard to finish, so I started to look for something else.

So back to the yellow pea protein..
The benefits to pea protein are that it is gluten and cholesterol free, vegan, easily digestible, and does not produce food allergy symptoms; it’s actually considered hypoallergenic. The cons are that it is an incomplete protein, so it should be used in conjunction with another protein source.

I’ve been drinking Raw C. These 330mL dairy free drinks yield 20g of protein a piece, which seemed pretty perfect for me. It’s also premixed and convenient. So far, I like them a lot. It’s mixed with coconut water and cacao so it reminds me a bit of chocolate milk, but it has a bit of a bitter after-taste. It’s a bit too soon to know what kind of results I will get from this supplement, but I really love that I don’t feel too full/sick after drinking them. Either way, I can’t wait to see what happens after two and a half months of solid cross fit training.

I definitely suggest trying pea protein to see if it works for you, even if it’s just to complement your current regimen.

September WOD Box

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I wanted to start with a review of a subscription box I just got in the mail the other day. Now, I’m a really big fan of monthly boxes. I love mail and it’s always fun to get cool new products to be able to try. I found this subscription from an ad on Facebook actually and it’s right up my alley since I belong to a crossfit gym. This was my second month with The WOD Box, and while August’s box didn’t impress me, September’s definitely came through.

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Here’s a list of the products:

  • Cellucor: Alpha Amino in Watermelon, and Cor Performance Whey Protein in S’mores.
  • Shoot N’ Shake scoop funnels
  • Energice in Blue Raspberry
  • Health Warrior Chia Bar in Chocolate Peanut Butter
  • EnduraCool Towel from Mission Athlete Care

Let’s start with the Cellucor products. I’m already a fan of this brand because I used to use C4 as a preworkout supplement. I got to try the protein this morning, and it wasn’t half bad! This product boasts that it’s a fast digesting whey protein that tastes delicious and mixes instantly. It has 25g of protein per scoop at only 130 calories, up to 5.5g of naturally occuring BCAAs and also includes digestive enzymes. The flavor was actually pretty awesome and was a very welcomed change to my usual chocolate or strawberry. It was very sweet, but I still think it tasted great. Now I drink protein mainly to supplement my intake because I’m awful at consuming a regular diet of protein with every meal and I always mix mine with milk because I think water with protein is gross. However from that standpoint, I could definitely see myself purchasing this product in the future. I’d have to use it for several days to be able to tell you what this does from an ‘athletic perspective’, but this is just a quick review.

The Alpha Amino is a sports drink powder with 14 aminos that help with recovery and endurance and are sugar and stimulant free. A single scoop has zero calories and no sugar. It has an “Alpha-BCAA Matrix”, an “Alpha-Amino Complex”, and an “Alpha Hydration Formula”. I’m not a fan of watermelon, but I tried it. This is definitely a powder you should probably use with a blender bottle. It does not mix easily and I was left with a bunch of sediment at the top, no matter how much I shook it. Tastes exactly like a watermelon Jolly Rancher, so at least it’s easy to stomach. It has a bit of a weird aftertaste though. I’d be curious to see how the other flavors taste in comparison to this one. I’m not sure if I would buy more of this though.

The scoop funnels are kind of crap. I used them with the Alpha Aminos just to try it. The idea is there. It’s a scoop that also functions as a funnel. So once you have your power in it, you pull a little trigger-like plastic piece up, and it releases the powder into the bottle. So like I said, concept is there but this company failed to pull it off. First of all, there are small spaces between the piece of plastic that acts as the little door, so there is potentially for spillage already. Second of all, you still have to tap the funnel on the waterbottle several times to get it to drop. Sometimes you might get a clean pour, other times you might not. Good idea, but I definitely wouldn’t buy this product or recommend it to anyone until they worked out the kinks.

Energice is a pretty awesome idea. Vitamin popsicle! It’s packed with electrolytes like potassium and sodium along with vitamins B3, B5, B6, and B12. Only 40 cals and 9g of sugar. Popsicles are a weakness of mine, so any type that’s even slightly healthier is great. I could definitely see myself buying a huge box of these. The flavor was great too.

The Health Warrior Chia Bar is awesome. I was already familiar with this product because I purchased them a lot from Target. I love them. They taste good and they’re gluten free and vegan. Lots of tiny little chia seeds. They’re a great snack. Highly recommend!

Last but not least would be the Enduracool Microfiber towel. If you wet it down, it will stay 30 degrees below body temperature. I have yet to use it myself but it’s definitely going in my gym bag. It’s a nice size without being too big and the material is really soft. I have a microfiber bath towel for when I’m doing military training, and this is kind of the same thing. Very absorbent, and I’m really excited to use it. This product also has pretty decent reviews on Amazon and retails for about $12.

So, as you can see I easily got my $20 worth from the box this month. I’ll be ordering again in October and I hope The WOD Box continues to send out awesome products to try. If you’re interested in getting a subscription yourself or just want more information, you can check it out here at: http://thewodbox.com/.