Doctors often warn vegans and vegetarians about the importance of getting enough protein, but having a good protein intake isn't as simple as eating a steak every now and then. The truth is that even the most avid meat eater can have too little protein in their diet, while some vegetable lovers may have too much! There are pros and cons to a diet that's high in vegetable protein as well as one that's high in animal protein, so here's what you need to know about both of these lifestyles.
Most muscles and organs are made up of proteins, as protein is responsible for nearly all of the processes that occur in the body. The body doesn't store protein, which is why it's so important to ensure that you're getting enough in your diet each day.
According to Mother Nature Network, protein is made up of amino acids, which our bodies break down to form new proteins. From there, protein allows us to build cell and muscle tissue in our bodies. It also helps with tissue repair in the event of an injury, keeps you feeling energized and contributes to healthy hair, skin and nails. The key difference between animal and vegetable protein is in their amino acid profiles and the rate at which our bodies can absorb amino acids and put them to use.
Because animal protein is more similar to protein found in the human body, it is used up more rapidly than those found in plants. Protein that comes from animals is considered to be more complete, because it contains all of the essential amino acids that the body needs to function effectively.
But despite these proteins' completeness and compatibility with the human body, there are risks associated with animal proteins. They can be high in cholesterol and fat – especially saturated fat – and a healthy diet shouldn't contain too much of either. Many animal proteins are also high in sodium.
Veggies are great because they're low in calories and fat, and packed with vitamins and minerals - but most don't contain nearly as much protein per serving as meats do. In addition, the proteins that they do contain are less complete than those found in animal meat, meaning that they don't contain all of the various amino acids that the body requires.
However, there are vegetable products that are high in protein and can act as a great substitute for meat in most vegan and vegetarian diets. FitDay reported that tofu and other soy-based products actually do contain all the essential amino acids, and can therefore be a protein-packed alternative to red meats. Additionally, lentils and other legumes are a well-rounded snack that's high in protein, iron and fiber. Beans and peas are both versatile vegetables that are full of protein and vitamins like folate and zinc that aid in cell growth. Artichokes are another veggie that's full of protein and fiber and low in calories, making them a great choice for those who don't get a lot of animal protein on a daily basis.
Finding a balance
Vegetarians and vegans need to ensure that they're getting a variety of different vegetable proteins in their diet, including nuts, legumes and grains but also fruits and vegetables. This ensures that your body is getting all of the various amino acids it needs to perform at its peak.
For meat eaters, it's important to strike a balance between animal and vegetable protein. It's a good idea to limit your intake of red meat, as it's higher in cholesterol and fat, and instead opt for fish or poultry. Vegetarians and meat eaters alike should also consider a protein meal replacement like VeganSmart All-in-One Nutritional Shake or a healthy protein-rich snack like pea protein powder to ensure that they're getting enough.
Going vegan can be an excellent choice because it makes you more conscious about the things you're eating. Here are some of the biggest health benefits of choosing to eat a vegan diet:
- A healthy vegan diet is typically rich in whole grains and legumes. These foods have a low glycemic index and are high in fiber, meaning they are digested slowly and thus keep blood sugar steady. This can help reduce cholesterol and, in turn, improve one's heart health.
- Vegans do not eat red meat (or any meat, of course), which the World Cancer Research Fund announced in a 2007 report is good for colon health.
- Vegans often have – but not always – less processed foods in their diets. Several studies have affirmed the unhealthy attributes of processed foods.
- Adherents to a vegan diet avoid all animal products, including meat, eggs, dairy and gelatin-based products. Thus, they are likely to eat less saturated fats and are more likely to have a lower cholesterol, meaning a vegan diet can boost your heart health and potentially help with weight issues.
- Vegan diets are often very high in fiber – beans, lentils, whole grains and various vegetables all pack in plenty of fiber, which is good for the body's digestive system.
Aside from the various health benefits that vegans acquire from their diets, veganism also has several more benefits for individuals and society as a whole:
- You'll save money, as grains, beans, soy and similar foods are fairly inexpensive compared to animal proteins.
- You'll do your part to reduce pollution and environmental deterioration because factory farms take more energy and resources to produce animal meats and runoff can pollute local water sources.
- You'll be contributing to animal wellbeing.
While there are clearly several individual and societal benefits to eating a vegan diet, making this change can require a lot of work at first. It takes time to plan meals that meet all of our bodies' important nutritional requirements, and restricting your food sources means you'll have to get creative. Many vegans choose to supplement their diets with a nutritional shake to make sure they are getting adequate amounts of calcium, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D and Omega-3s, nutrients that are available in a vegan diet but not always in large enough amounts to meet the bodies' needs.
When talking about what a vegan can eat (answer: a lot of things), it's probably better to first talk about what they can't – or choose not to – eat. Without getting into the various moral or health reasons that people choose to eat vegan, here's some basic information on what vegans do and do not eat to help you if you're debating whether to meatless or not:
What vegans avoid
Basically, vegans do not eat any animal products, including products derived from animals. Most obviously, this means that vegans avoid eating beef, chicken, pork, fish and everything in between, as well as dairy products and eggs. However, many other foods contain animal products, though we often don't realize it. Here are some other items that people who are vegan often attempt to avoid and why:
- Honey: Bees are living things and they make it.
- White sugar: PETA asserts that it is made with bone char.
- Marshmallows and gummy bears: These sweets are made with gelatin that is derived from animals.
- Breads and baked goods made with butter, eggs, white sugar or whey – a dairy product.
- Beer: Believe it or not, some beers are filtered using egg whites, seashells or gelatin from fish bladders.
- Salad dressing: Many dressings use lecithin, a product from animals, to keep vinegar and oil from separating in the dressing.
- Additionally, many vegans avoid other animal products, including leather, wool, cosmetics and certain types of soap.
Though vegan diets are often low in cholesterol and fat and high in nutrients, it's good to keep in mind that not all certified vegan products, like certain junk foods, are healthy for you. Here is an idea of what vegans often eat to get important nutrients:
- Protein: lentils, peas, chickpeas, soy milk, almond milk, nuts and nut butter, whole grains, tofu
- Calcium: dark green vegetables, soy milk and orange juice fortified with calcium, tofu made with calcium sulfate
- Iron: dark green leafy vegetables, black and kidney beans, bulghur wheat, lentils, beet greens, black-eyed peas
- Vitamin B12: nutritional yeast
- Zinc: legumes, nuts and grains
- Vitamin D: fortified rice milk and soy milk
Though vegans are able to find some good sources for important nutrients, it takes a lot of time and effort to plan a well-rounded meal. Many vegans make sure they get enough B12 and calcium – two important ingredients that are often lacking in their diet – by finding a supplementary method like the VeganSmart All-In-One Nutritional Shake, which is gluten, dairy and soy-free and provides 20 grams of non-GMO protein per serving.
Protein is the building block of all the tissue in the body and may help to promote the growth of muscle. The right amount of protein may help curb hunger and can help you reach your fitness goals and get to the body weight you desire. However, there are more ways to consume protein than just through lean meats. Here are a few other ways to up your protein intake and get you on your way to better overall health:
Incorporating a protein powder into your diet is one of the best ways to increase the amount of protein your body is getting each day. One way of doing this is by making yourself a protein meal replacement. Naturade Total Soy is a meal replacement powder, available in chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavors, that boasts an amazing taste and contains dietary fiber and protein. According to the Food & Drug Administration, 25 grams of soy protein daily added to a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. This powder is available in a tasty shake and provides an excellent source of protein.
Another easy way to amp up your protein intake is through Naturade Pea Protein Powder. This plant-based protein is derived from yellow peas and provides you with nine essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins and help to support our bones, muscles and connective tissues.
One way to start your morning off with a boost of protein is by eating eggs. This is a food that is so versatile and so easy to fit into your diet. You could use eggs as a main dish, make egg-based casseroles, egg salad sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs, etc. You could even make desserts made with eggs like custard, rice pudding, cream puffs and some cakes.
Nonfat cottage cheese
Nonfat cottage cheese not only has protein, it has bone-building calcium as well. This protein-packed food pairs great with fruit for added antioxidants and can be cooked into scrambled eggs, casseroles or pasta for a creamier texture.
Milk and soy milk
We all know that milk helps to build strong bones and its protein helps to rebuild muscles. Fit Day suggested drinking a glass of milk after exercise to replenish your muscles and help them to recover after a tough workout. You could also opt to pair your milk with dinner. If you find this hard to fit into your diet, try making soups and oatmeal with milk instead of water for a sneaky way to fit in some protein.
Many people in today's fast-paced world don't have enough time to plan out their meals, and their efforts to find foods that are quick and easy often mean that they end up eating something fried and greasy. Luckily, there are many delicious "superfoods" that can aid in weight loss while helping you stay healthy. Many of these foods take little (or no) time to prepare, so they're perfect for healthy eaters on the go.
Many people are surprised to learn that avocados are healthy because they're so high in fat. Luckily, it's the good kind of fat – monosaturated fat – which can actually help your body maintain lean muscle tissue.
2. Soups with broth
While a heavy chowder or bisque won't help you shed pounds, a light, broth-based soup can be a great weight loss food. They're low in calories and high in vegetable nutrients, keeping you healthy and fit while getting your body the vitamins it needs.
Blueberries are a low-calorie, antioxidant-rich snack that's delicious to boot. Plus, they're bite sized, which makes them great for travel or as a part of your lunch at the office.
Like blueberries, apples are a great superfood because they're so compact – you can throw one in your backpack, gym bag or briefcase without worrying about Tupperware or plastic bags! They're low in calories and packed with fiber, and they may even help to prevent the buildup of belly fat.
5. Hot peppers
Not for the faint of heart, hot peppers – especially chili peppers - contain compounds called capsaicinoids that give them their fiery flavor. But in addition to their spicy taste, capsaicinoids have anti-inflammatory and heart-healthy effects. If you can take the heat, give chili peppers a try.
That instant stuff won't do you too much good as it's chock full of sugar and calories, but old-fashioned, steel-cut oats are rich in nutrients and fiber that can help you lose weight.
7. Protein shakes
If you're looking for a tasty meal that's also easy to make, try a shake! Packed with protein that can keep you lean and fill you up, a protein meal replacement can be a tasty choice for breakfast or on your way to the gym.
Eating salmon is a great way to improve your heart health. The fish is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are one of the good fats that can lower cholesterol. Omega-3's are missing from many people's diets, and eating salmon can be a great way to fix that.
9. Nuts and seeds
Getting a little hungry between meals? Reach for some nuts or seeds. Raw, unsalted nuts are a healthy snack that can also be extremely satisfying and filling. You can also add a tablespoon of chopped nuts to many meals – a salad, for example – for a flavorful treat that's full of protein.
10. Green tea
It's always pleasant to unwind with a mug of tea, and green tea is well known for its antioxidant and anti-aging properties. But that's not all it has to offer – this particular type of tea contains catechins, which can boost metabolism and help you lose weight.
It's never good to start a work out on an empty stomach. With no food in your system, you'll have no energy to get you through the duration of your exercise. However, everyone works out at different times in the day. Some are early risers, while others are night owls and enjoy breaking a sweat in the later portion of the evening. The time you work out can help dictate what you should be eating before each workout.
If you're the kind of person that likes to roll out of bed and immediately slip into some running shoes, it's important you hit the kitchen first. But stray from a big meal of pancakes, sausage and eggs. Eating a full breakfast isn't ideal. Stick to a very light snack filled with protein and easily digestible carbs. Meal replacement smoothies are a great way to get some energy without being overly full. Try this protein meal adjusted from FitSugar for a delicious breakfast that won't slow you down during your workout:
Vanilla Almond Smoothie
Ingredients: 1/2 banana, 1/2 vanilla almond milk, 1/2 cup water, 1 scoop Naturade Total Soy Vanilla, ice, a dash of cinnamon and 1-2 drops of stevia.
Directions: Combine all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. This recipe makes one serving.
Some like to take their lunch break to work out at the office or head on over to the gym for a half hour or so. If you fall into this group, start by drinking plenty of water throughout the morning. This will keep you hydrated and full so that you're not tempted to eat a large lunch before working out. Keep it small and simple, like a whole-wheat bagel with jam, which is easy to digest and a great way to fuel your workout. It's best to eat 45 minutes to an hour before working out. If you exercise on a full stomach, you may feel sluggish and not get the results you're looking for.
Days can be busy, which leaves only the evening for you to get your workout in. This means you'll be breaking a sweat around dinner time. Dinner is often the largest meal, but if you're planning on exercising afterwards, make sure you don't overeat. One of the best dinners to have before a workout is brown rice with chicken. It's a simple dish that sits well in the stomach and has plenty of carbs and protein. Beans and lentils are also a good pre-workout snack and a great source of energy. Just remember to keep your portions small.
Despite doing exercises and going to the gym regularly, losing those stubborn belly fat can be an uphill task. But you have to try to lose belly fat, as how much flabby you are around your belly is likely to have a huge impact on your health. Usually, you store fats in two ways, one of which is visible, under the hips, thighs, abdomen, buttocks etc. and the other, which you cannot see, gets stored in some of the most vital organs of your body, like heart, liver, lungs, digestive tracts etc. However, the later, known as visceral fat, leads to most of the crucial diseases like heart diseases, obesity, type 2 diabetes, dementia and certain cancers like colon cancer, breast cancer etc. Hence, having a flat stomach is important not only to look chic and smart, but also to have a healthy, disease-free life.
There are a number of foods as well as supplements for weight loss that can help you to burn belly fat naturally. For men and women of all age groups, such supplements, when complemented by a healthy diet and regular exercises, can work wonders.
Let’s take a quick look at the list of fat burning foods, so that you can include some of them in your diet today!
- Apples – According to the common adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. No wonder why apple works wonders for weight loss. As researches have shown, people who made it a point to consume an apple daily lost more weight than those who didn’t. Packed with rich nutrients, as well as lots of vitamins and minerals, this fruit also contains pectin, which prevents colon cancer.
- Oatmeal – Oatmeal is a fiber rich content that stays in your stomach for a long period of time and thus cuts your craving for food, leading to weight loss. Moreover, it’s a great source of selenium and boosts the immune system in your body. Oats also absorb the LDL cholesterol, which is known to be the “bad” one and wash it out from your body.
- Almonds and other raw nuts – You might be shocked to see this in the list! But yes, while having with the skin intact, almonds act as a good food that helps in weight loss. They help to slim down your belly by keeping it absolutely full. In fact, these nuts are rich in fats, which are good for your body and attack the bad fats.
- Whole grains – Though carbohydrates and fats are completely a no-no, especially while you’re on a diet, good carbs are actually required for your health. They are rich in nutrients and the fibers keep you from getting hungry, thus leading to a lesser amount of food intake. Make sure the groceries you buy clearly say “100% whole grain” instead of just “whole grain”.
In case you think that you’re too busy to buy these foods regularly and include them in your diet, supplements for weight loss would be a smart alternative solution for you. Most of these supplements have no side effects, and work wonders to help you get rid of belly fat. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ones:
- Green coffee bean extract – Being derived from the coffee beans, which are not roasted, green coffee bean extract contains huge level of chlorogenic acid and helps improve the glucose tolerance in your body. It also reduces fat accumulation in your body and speeds up the fat burning process. Because of these salient features, it is extremely popular as a weight loss supplement.
- Green Tea – Just like green coffee, green tea, too is known to be a popular weight loss product. This product is full of antioxidants, and works as an excellent metabolism booster as well as a fat burner. Since this type of tea contains a huge level of polyphenol, which dissolves triglycerides, it helps to burn fat to a great extent. Moreover, it also contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which helps reduce the level of low density cholesterol in your body that’s largely responsible for blocking the artery walls. Thus, it plays an important role in preventing cardiovascular diseases.
- Raspberry Ketone – Largely available in red raspberries, this aromatic compound is highly recommended for weight loss. This is so because raspberry ketone is a natural phenolic compound that enhances fat loss and has a number of anti-oxidant proponents within it.
- Creatine powder – It is another well known weight loss supplement that helps increase the strength of your body as well as improves the muscle mass. You can get the best results of creatine powder when you consume it in combination with a resistance training program.
- Garcinia Cambogia extract – Due to the presence of HCA (Hydroxycitric Acid) – a natural ingredient that promotes you to burn fat faster, this extract helps you to lose weight faster, even from problem areas like your belly.
So, if you are looking for belly fat burning solutions, try these foods and natural supplements for weight loss to notice faster and effective results.
Written by James Hundson. James isa fitness expert that researchs & writes reviews on health, fitness, muscle building, exercise, weight loss, massage, yoga, diet, alternative medicine, sports, etc. If you are looking for better and easier option to lose your Weight, than Green coffee bean, Garcinia Cambogia, Raspberry ketone, Green tea are the perfect choice for you.
Whether you're a vegetarian or a meat-eater going straight to the vegan lifestyle, there are things you need to know in order to make the transition a smooth one. It's important to know what you're getting yourself into and what to expect if you're going to succeed in this diet and lifestyle choice. Here are some of the most vital things to consider before you make the jump to becoming a vegan:
What does a vegan diet include?
Vegans exclude all animal products, even dairy and eggs. This means that vegans largely rely on fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes. There are also plenty of protein powders out there like Naturade's Pea Protein powder that are vegan-friendly and allow dieters to enjoy a cool, sweet and tasty shake.
Vegan doesn't always mean healthy
Many people assume that making the switch to a vegan diet means that they will be on a strict regimen of healthy foods only, which will help them to shed the pounds. However, there are a lot of processed vegan foods out there that are filled with unhealthy ingredients. You'll be able to maintain a healthy diet as long as you stick with simple, whole foods.
Don't get down on yourself
When making this diet and lifestyle change, you can't expect to adapt easily and right away. There are going to be certain things that you'll have to get used to and plenty of bumps along the road. Sometimes, it can take as long as several years to go vegan, whether it's due to lack of knowledge or not having the right ingredients to whip up dinner. Megan Salisbury, a 33-year-old social work student in Phoenix, told the New York Times that she prefers a vegan diet but can only really manage it about 75 percent of the time. Things like limited options in the cafeteria and pricey food choices tend to hold her back.
You'll have to learn to alter cooking techniques
Vegan ingredients and cooking techniques are different than those for meals. Substitutions like oil-based spreads, chia seed eggs or nutritional yeast can deliver an unexpected nutty or cheesy flavor to the dish that you didn't expect. It takes time to learn what ingredients and substitutions work best and which should be left out.
Support is everywhere
There are so many individuals who are making the jump into veganism, and the web is filled with individuals who are willing to support you and hold your hand on this journey to a new diet and lifestyle. Thanks to everything from books, movies and online forums that share delicious vegan dishes, it's easy to find a helping hand wherever you go.
There is no better feeling than collapsing into your bed after a long morning or afternoon for a short, yet extremely satisfying cat nap. Remember the scheduled naps you used to take in kindergarten or preschool? If it were up to most of us, those naps would be implemented in offices everywhere. These naps don't just help you to feel more well rested and alert, they offer several benefits that many are unaware of. In fact, they may be more productive than we think. Even well-known men like Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Napoleon, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and George W. Bush have been known to value a solid afternoon nap. There are even different types of napping: planned, emergency and habitual napping. But whichever you choose, you're sure to feel more alert and awake when you wake up. Next time you lay down for a nap, here are all of the health benefits you're getting out of it:
Helps you stay alert
Perhaps one of the most obvious benefits of napping is that it can help keep you alert for the rest of the day. Even just 20 minutes of sleep has been shown to have a positive affect in perking up office workers. According to a NASA study, pilots who took a 40-minute nap showed much higher levels of alertness than those who didn't nap.
Do you have a lot of things you need to get done by the end of the day but don't feel you can quite tackle them? Lay down and take a nap. While this may feel slightly counterproductive, trust us, you're doing yourself a favor. A short power nap can be the perfect pick-me-up, maybe even proving to be more effective than your average cup of coffee.
A nap is quite relaxing and can take your mind off of any stressful occurrences that may be happening during your day. By relieving stress, you can help boost your body's immune system and feel more ready to tackle whatever the day brings. In other words, think of your nap as a little mini-vacation. You may not be on a beach, but you'll certainly be relaxed.
Improves memory and learning
While a longer nap may leave you more groggy than you intended, your brain may be benefiting from it. Brain activity remains higher in nappers all day when compared to people who don't take a moment to catch some zzz's. A 90-minute nap could help mental fatigue vanish.
Tips for getting the best nap:
- Keep the nap around 20 to 30 minutes, which provides you with the best benefits for improved alertness and performance without leaving you groggy and even more tired than you were.
- Find a restful place with little noise and light. Also make sure the temperature in the room is comfortable to help you fall asleep.
- Choose the proper time – if it's too late in the day, you may not be able to fall asleep at bedtime, but if it's too early, your body may not be prepared for more sleep.
Without stress we wouldn't know relaxation. In fact, sometimes just a little bit of stress can be a good thing – it keeps us aware of what's going on. However, too much stress can lead to health problems, including throwing the immune system out of whack. And frankly, being stressed out isn't a feeling many chase after. Thankfully, there are plenty of healthy ways to naturally bring down your stress levels to feel more relaxed and at ease.
When you break a sweat, your body releases feel-good endorphins, also known as the body's natural pain killers, which help to boost your mood and calm you down. Exercise also reduces levels of the body's stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol.
The best part about meditation is that it can be done virtually anywhere – at work, the gym, at the store or at home. It only takes about 15 to 30 minutes per day, making it easy to ward off stress even on a busy schedule. Find a quiet place and let your thoughts run free, just focusing on breathing in and out.
Filling up on junk food can actually tend to make people depressed. Calorie-packed foods momentarily relieve the stress, but too much can contribute to an unhealthy weight and only leave us coming back for more shortly after. Eating healthy, however, can help you to manage stress. Fruits, veggies, antioxidants and vitamins fuel the body to keep it strong for the entire day, helping you to maintain both physical and mental health.
Much of the stress we experience during the day comes from our phones and computers. Set aside some time each day to disconnect from all of your electronics. By doing so, you can block some of the causes of stress and allow you to really take in the moment.
Listen to music
Pop in some headphones and let the music do the rest. This is an effective way to reduce stress by lowering heart rate and blood pressure. According to Greatist.com, music may also help to calm down those who are visiting the dentist or the doctor.
Laugh it off
You know that euphoric feeling when you laugh really, really hard at something? Well, not only is that feeling unbeatable, it may help lower your stress levels. Laughter increases blood flow and even boosts the immune system by increasing levels of interferon gamma-1b, a key compound in the fight against infection. According to a study in the American Journal of the Medical Sciences, mirthful laughter has been linked to lower blood levels of cortisol – the stress hormone. So if you're stressed, take a moment and watch that funny YouTube video or talk to a friend who can always get a laugh out of you.
Get lost in a book
Next time you find yourself a little worse for wear, crack open a book. Even just six minutes of reading is enough to bring down those stress levels. Have a book with you if you have some down time at work or on your commute home for a bit of relaxation.