Post in collaboration with Scitec Nutrition
It seems you can’t look at any media outlet at the moment without finding an article about vegans and plant-based diets. However, with record numbers of people completing Veganuary this year (myself included) and shops increasing their vegan range to cater for the “year of the vegan”, it perhaps isn’t surprising that it’s currently dominating the media (at least, when they aren’t covering Brexit).
When I announced that I was taking part in Veganuary, a few friends gave me incredulous looks. “You?” “But you love cheese!” “You’ve eaten mealworms!” “But how will you get protein?”
Ah yes, there it is. The protein question. I have only suffered this question a couple of times, but from speaking with vegan friends, it’s a common question and one they get frequently annoyed with. The answer for me is nuts, beans, lentils, broccoli, and Brussels Sprouts. Yep, turns out that sprouts don’t need a good dollop of cheese on them to make them high protein.
Veganuary has been great for me. I’ve lost 13lb in weight, my skin is clearer, and I have more energy. Interestingly, my period pain has also greatly improved while following a plant-based diet and while I won’t describe myself as a vegan as I am sure that I will occasionally lapse (and that’s really okay), I do plan to continue to follow a plant-based diet most of the time for a while longer. I’m sure the real test though, in whether I’ve got the balance right or not, will come when I finally make my way back to running long distances.
I’ve got the approval to start exercising again. My ankle is still collapsing in on itself a lot, but hopefully it will get better with time. I took myself to Clubbercise on Monday and hope to use this as a fun way of starting to get fit again. I will continue to use MyFitnessPal to track my eating as I’ve found this a really useful tool to understand more about what I’m eating. I have to confess that for the first couple of weeks of Veganuary, I was struggling to fit the suggested 20% protein intake each day, falling short at around 11-12%. A bit of research led to me including more lentils etc in my diet – I am also on a bit of a roast Brussels Sprouts kick with garlic – yum! Those who are following plant-based diets and training vigorously may also find it beneficial to top up their usual diets with a plant-based protein supplement. After all, with a 700% rise in those adopting a vegan diet in the UK alone over the past year, it’s not surprising that brands such as Scitec are now developing specially formulated plant protein, an ideal solution for those who are looking for a whey alternative protein source to add to their diet and workout routine.
I am not a nutritionist and will always advocate the approach of eating proper food. However, it’s great to know that there are plant-based options out there for supplementing your protein intake, which may be especially useful in the early days of adopting a plant-based diet.
Do you use protein powders? Do you find them beneficial?