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Meatless Protein: Top 10 High Protein Vegan Foods For All The Vegan Gym People!

Meatless Protein: Top 10 High Protein Vegan Foods For All The Vegan Gym People!

It’s very hard to be a vegan athlete: Not only do they have to plan their meals more carefully than their meat-eating counterparts, but they are also frequently subject to intense skepticism and scrutiny from the athletic community at large. You can’t gain muscle if you don’t eat meat. There’s no way you’re getting enough protein to accommodate your workout schedule.

Do any of these statements or questions sound familiar?

If you’ve been a vegan athlete for more than, say, a week, I’m betting the answer is “yes”.

These comments are annoying and misguided. Still, they do have a small grain of truth to them: If you’re working out regularly, then it’s vital to consume plenty of protein on a regular basis. That’s because protein provides our bodies with the fuel they need to power through workouts and recover after them.

Here’s what happens if athletes (whether vegan or carnivorous) don’t consume enough protein:

Your body will break down muscle instead of building it.

When you aren’t eating enough protein, your body needs to find fuel somewhere else—and if it gets desperate enough, it will start “feeding” on your own tissues in order to do so. More specifically, the body will start to tear down muscle tissue[1] in order to obtain the amino acids that are necessary for sustaining the function of your organs. Obviously, the loss of muscle mass is the last thing any athlete wants.

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It will take longer to recover from injuries.

Our bodies require protein[2] in order to repair damaged cells, skin, and tissues. When we’re not consuming enough protein, our bodies won’t recover from injuries as quickly, and we’ll suffer from decreased immunity overall. This can be a major setback for anyone attempting to follow a rigorous training plan.

You’ll feel tired all the time.

If you’re not getting enough protein—especially as an athlete—then you’re liable to suffer from chronic fatigue[3] or a general sense of sluggishness. This can seriously impair your workout routine, because you’re less likely to show up for your workouts or power through intense workouts if you’re constantly feeling tired.

So it is true that protein should play a major role in athletes’ diets. But it certainly is not true that it’s impossible for vegans to eat a high-protein diet. We’ll prove it in the following section.

High-Protein Foods for Vegan Athletes

There is a huge variety of vegan foods that are packed with protein. Below, we’ve highlighted 10 of the best.

Chia seeds

    These teeny tiny little seeds are known as a superfood for a reason: They pack four grams of protein into just two tablespoons, and they also boast plenty of other nutrients in the form of calcium, fiber, iron, magnesium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds can be added raw to a variety of dishes, from smoothies to oatmeal or yogurt parfaits. Give them a try in this recipe for Chia Vegan Protein Muffins.

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    Edamame

      Young soybeans (aka edamame) boast 11 grams of complete protein per half cup, which makes them a stellar source of protein. They’re also a great source of other nutrients including calcium, fiber, folate, iron, and vitamin K. Make sure to steam or boil edamame prior to eating. Once you’ve done that, you can enjoy edamame on salads, in noodle dishes, or simply as a finger food. For starters? Check out this recipe for Vegan Pho with Carrots and Edamame.

      Hempseed

        While they might not have the same reputation as chia seeds, hemp seeds are just as deserving of acclaim. They boast 10 grams of prot ein per two tablespoons in addition to calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, omega-3s, and all nine essential amino acids. Like chia seeds, hempseed can be eaten raw or added to smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, and other dishes. Get hooked with this recipe for Raw Pumpkin Hemp Seed Protein Bars. Hempseed can also be enjoyed in the form of hemp milk.

        Legumes

          This is a huge category, but it deserves its own entry thanks to the sheer volume of protein-rich foods that fall under it. From lentils to black beans, chickpeas, green peas, and virtually all other beans, legumes promise anywhere from seven grams of protein (for most bean varieties) to nine grams of protein (for lentils) per cooked half cup. What’s more, they also boast plenty of fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, and other nutrients. Cooked legumes can be incorporated into a wide range of recipes; get started with this recipe for Orange-Infused Black Beans.

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          Nuts, seeds, and nut butters

            We’ve already mentioned chia and hemp seeds, but other seeds and nuts deserve mention on this list as well. From cashews to pumpkin seeds and peanut butter to pecan butter, virtually all nuts, seeds, and nut butters pack a substantial protein punch. (One serving of nuts, seeds, or nut butters can have anywhere from five to nine grams of protein.) What’s more, nuts and seeds are great sources of other nutrients such as calcium, fiber, healthy fats, iron, magnesium, selenium, and a variety of vitamins. Give them a try in this recipe for West African Spinach with Spicy Peanut Sauce.

            Nutritional yeast

              This powdery yellow substance tastes a lot like cheese, but don’t let that fool you. It’s definitely vegan. It’s also packed with protein—the deactivated yeast contains a whopping 14 grams of complete protein per ounce. It’s also a good source of fiber, and it’s sometimes fortified with other nutrients including B vitamins, copper, magnesium, and zinc. The powder can be added as-is to tofu scrambles, mashed potatoes, popcorn, and basically any other dish that might usually call for cheese. Try it out in this recipe for Vegan Alfredo.

              Quinoa

                Quinoa isn’t just packed with eight grams of protein per (cooked) cup. It’s also loaded with fiber, iron, magnesium, and manganese, all of which are important micronutrients. As an added bonus, it’s very easy to cook and makes for a versatile ingredient that works well in everything from casseroles to salads and baked goods. Give it a try in the form of Vegan Quinoa and Black Beans.

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                Rice and Beans

                  This classic combination boasts seven grams of protein per (cooked) cup. The pairing makes for an especially great way to refuel after a workout thanks to the fact that it contains both protein and carbs. And if you thought rice and beans were boring, think again—try them out in this delicious recipe for Mango Salsa Black Beans and Coconut Rice.

                  Tofu

                    The product of fermented soybeans, tofu is a classic vegetarian and vegan staple for a reason: It’s packed with 21 grams of protein per four ounces. It’s also incredibly versatile in the kitchen (and it’s cheap, to boot) Tofu is safe to consume cold, but it’ll taste much better cooked. Experiment with adding tofu to stir fries, curries, casseroles, and other dishes. Not sure where to start? Give this recipe for Spicy Thai Braised Kale and Tofu a try.

                    Vegetables

                      While many athletes choose to drink their veggies in the form of green juices, vegan athletes may want to consider also eating them whole. That’s because many cooked vegetables contain fairly impressive levels of protein. These include artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green beans, kale, and spinach, all of which contain anywhere from four to five grams of protein per cooked cup. Eat them on their own or enjoy them in a range of recipes including soups, stews, and casseroles. Try this Sautéed Kale with Tahini-Lemon Sauce as just one example.

                      The next time someone tells you that being a vegan athlete is an oxymoron, show them this list. The truth is it’s entirely possible to eat a vegan diet that’s jam-packed with protein.

                      Reference

                      More by this author

                      Kenny Kline

                      Entrepreneur

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                      Last Updated on February 20, 2019

                      13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with Them and Enjoy the Ride

                      13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with Them and Enjoy the Ride

                      Fear. I spend my life talking about fear — fighting fears, fixing fears and understanding fears. And yet I doubt I get 10 calls a year from people saying “Mandie can you help me fix my fear?”

                      Why is this so critically important to you?

                      The realization for me is that fear is not the fundamental driving force in your life it’s what regardless of whether I’m talking to a doctor, a teacher, a CEO’s, a senior citizens or teenager – every single one of those conversations has a direct correlation with your world.

                      Fear can range from the overwhelming desire to look away or stop in your tracks to literally fleeing your country and the life you knew. In this article, I will share you with 13 tips to face your fears and enjoy the ride.

                      1. Know That Fear Is Real, but Can Be Overcome

                      Right now around the world people are facing fear — real fear. Fear that I pray my children and I will never experience. Does that lessen my fears or your fears in your relativity safe 21st century life?

                      When I look at the world we all live in, I find that fear like so many other emotions can mean so many different things to so many different people:

                      • The child who has to be physically dragged to their first day of school.
                      • The man facing the judge.
                      • The woman with her hand poised over the buttons over her phone because she has to walk down a dark corridor late at night alone.
                      • The man as the surgeon says “count backwards from 10 Mr Smith.”
                      • The woman that’s told “We are sorry, we can’t help you.”
                      • The man that faces the empty circle of a gun and prays for his very existence.

                      These and a million more (Portrayed in every kind of movie, book or song you could imagine) are what make us human. We face fear and somehow move forward or are stopped in our tracks.

                      Like the rabbit in the headlights of the car that veers off through the field away from the tyres of the car or stays still praying for salvation. Like someone will save them. Sound familiar?

                      Fear is huge. Fear is everywhere and yet fear can be overcome, controlled and can even be a power for good.

                      2. Accept Your Fear

                      Firstly if you aren’t facing the barrel of the gun, atrocities that make the news or impeding death, that’s a good start. However it doesn’t mean your fear is any less real.

                      We are quick to say “I can’t moan, my life is not as bad as X.” While in theory, that’s honorable your appreciation of Mr. or Mrs. X’s horrific life won’t change anything directly. So accept your fear is relative to you.

                      And here’s what can be done.

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                      3. Get Some Perspective

                      I found myself asking anyone that would answer “what is your worst fear”. The answer that intrigued me the most came from my daughter (15 years old and she usually has a copy of Fight the Fear – my book – in her school bag so she can help someone else be as positive and confident as her. No matter what life throws up.)

                      And her fear, surprised me — heights. I pointed out that we live in a sprawling bungalow (one storey) and the highest she goes is two storeys’ at school! She laughed but added, fear isn’t like that Mum. I know it’s not a real fear, but it’s like when you stand on a chair and feel unsafe.

                      That girl will go far. Because she truly gets fear.

                      We know something is scary and yet we still do it. Why? Because we have a perspective to the fear. When you lose perspective, it can feel too big, and too scary.

                      So look around you to get some perspective on your fear:

                      • Are you really at risk?
                      • Will this kill you?
                      • Which leads us on to..
                      • If the worse was to happen what would it be?

                      4. Hold a Hand

                      As a coach, it is my job to holds someone’s metaphorical hand and help them face a fear.

                      Like the child petrified of the thunder storm or the teen that can’t get back in a car again after failing their test, your job as a parent is to reassure, encourage, enable and motivate someone to face something that ideally they never would choose to again.

                      We know many of our fears aren’t real. However, it is only when someone guides us with love, respect, lack of judgement and safety are we able to get through fear. And trust me, you can get through your fears. I’ve seen it so many times.

                      Ask yourself:

                      • If the worse were to happen, what would that be?
                      • Could that really happen?
                      • If the worse did happen, how would you recover?
                      • If the worse were to happen, what would you need to do next?

                      By seeing fear as not the end destination but part of being human, you can see through it’s wily evil ways and move forward.

                      5. Know Whose Hand You Hold Either Physically or Emotionally

                      This helps with fears for the rest of your life.

                      Think of someone you can always rely on (and ideally you won’t just answer yourself because that adds a lot of pressure to your existence!) And you will find that you’ve already found a way to get through fear.

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                      The beauty of this is that it means that fear becomes part of life not something to be feared and shied away from.

                      It means you know you can turn to your friend, partner, colleague, parent, sibling and say “Right I need to deal with this, and I’m going to need you to help me.”

                      For one moment, think about it from the other person’s view point. When we get to help other people we feel valued, loved, respected and lots of other positive emotions and we get a good dose of positive chemicals setting off in our bodies too.

                      Your fear, and your determination to fight it, helped someone else too. Now that’s cool right?

                      6. Understand That There Are Some Things Fear Will Never Touch

                      I like to find role models in life — people who have faced heroism, history changing moments, war, atrocities, miracles, life saving inventions.

                      Not everyone was looking for greatness, however they all found it. And one of my favourite books to date is written about Alistair Urquhart, the forgotten highlander. If this doesn’t get turned into a film in the future, then no man’s story is likely to.

                      Alistair went through the most horrific experiences in the 2nd world war. If you think of one of the awful things that happened back then in our world, Alistair went through at least 3 of them! Asked afterwards how did you cope? He talked about how whatever they did to his body, no matter how they starved, tortured, threatened or mocked him, they couldn’t have his mind. In his mind he was free.

                      Of all the people’s voices I’ve heard in my head over the years, this is one of those statements that reminds me anything is possible if you have faith and hope.

                      Look for the things in life that fear can’t touch. They will create confidence and faith for the future, whatever you face. And they will give you a sense of why being you is awesome.

                      Of all the billions of people on this planet, no one will have an answer identical to yours!

                      7. Process Your Fears to Carry on with Life

                      Being brave is not about sticking your chest out and smiling regardless of what hell you endure. It is about finding a way to emotionally process your fears to be able to keep going.

                      I have a tool kit of things I can rely on – tools, strategies, techniques. They include people to hug or talk to, music. hobbies, walks on the beach and even my favourite food. It sounds mad but at the times where I have questioned “how will I get through this?” I’ve found immense joy in doing the most unlikely of thing that makes me smile.

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                      It may be a short lived moment of happiness. However, it reminded that nothing stays the same and I can find away.

                      One client told me that it was crazy when it felt like their world was falling around their ears to run a bath to the brim (you don’t waste water) get the best bath oils, light too many candles, lock the door and drink a glass of bubbly (champagne is only for special occasions.)

                      Did that moment fix the disaster that my clients life felt? No, however it gave them a moment of calm and the brain is far quicker to find solutions, resolve and motivation to keep going when you do that.

                      It may feel like madness to do something you love, however it can be a powerful way to help you find solutions to the fears you face in life.

                      8. Assume the Worse

                      If you read the statement from the client above. Notice how they assumed it was wrong to fill the bath up to the top? How bubbly is only for special occasions?

                      Think how naughty they felt to be doing something that was not allowed?

                      • Think about what age it may have made them feel?
                      • Think about how they feel about champagne?
                      • What special moments it’s been a part of in their lives?

                      And you can see how the assumptions they made about their “right” to have these things was not healthy.

                      When I drag the assumptions out of people’s words for them to see, they are often struck by how negative the words make them feel.

                      Don’t assume your words aren’t impacting on you. You can go through fear and actually enjoy the ride when you take the time to understand how you are letting words get to you.

                      9. Take a Fear That Feels Insurmountable Right Now.

                      If you were to repeat it to me out loud, what would you say?

                      Would you have blame on yourself in there? Would you assume others can do it and it’s just you? Would you feel small, unsuccessful, useless, unworthy?

                      Usually, when you do this exercise, you are able to spot the untruths that run wild in your head convincing you that you are doomed. And rarely when we are faced with our assumptions is there is a lot of evidence to them.

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                      10. You Are Not Defined by Your Fear

                      One fear does not define your life – be mindful of that. It is likely to lead you to thinking of all the times you’ve succeeded and bring a moment of calm, confidence and faith back to you.

                      11. Go with Fear

                      When you learn to go with fear, you could find yourself actually having fun, no seriously – having fun.

                      I have a few amazing clients I’m working with right now who would describe themselves as life long worriers, or pessimists. In the past that has served them well, enabling them to keep safe, steer clear of risks and even develop strategies in the event of disasters. However, now they find it’s becoming hard to break the cycle and they really want to because it’s holding them back.

                      Notice how they’ve found their hidden fears and want to face them?

                      One client said “I knew this was going to be tough, and I knew I couldn’t fight it alone and I knew you would be the one to help me.” Before I sat an incredibly successful, confident, capable business owner with a family and a social life to die for.

                      However, I’ve learned that the most successful looking lives can hide things that impact on life, success, love, happiness and business.

                      We didn’t start with the fear that they felt was holding them back, we broke the fear down, and found lots of little obstacles that had been deemed as “life” and “unchangeable” and “that’s just the way it is” by developing awareness to the little steps on the road to their obstacles to happiness and success they were able to tackle them in a different way.

                      12. Discover Great Skills in Your Scary Moments

                      And in that clients words “I came here to work with you to grow my company, and my own personal skills. I didn’t expect to get the children to be cleaning up after themselves and my partner being more attentive! It all feels a little magic.”

                      The moral is that out of the scariest of moments, we can find great skills we didn’t know we had. Find better, healthier, happier ways to live and find ways to enjoy life more. (And have a bit of magic!)

                      What a great place to be in ready for the next fear that thinks it’s going to get in the way of you, right?

                      13. Own Your Fear

                      Think back over these tips and come up with at least one example for each one. Write them down. Put them on your phone. Turn them into a piece of art. Turn them into a poem. Frame them. Go for a fast walk across the fields, beach, down town and repeat these things in your head to the sound of your feet on the ground.

                      We rarely take the time to appreciate how far we have come, how much we can achieve or what we are capable of – by really owning the tips in this article you will have given your brain a big fat dose of “Damn right I can do this!” and the motivation and accountability to say “Let’s find a way” through any fear.

                      You can’t help but feel good when you see that can you? And fear doesn’t stand a chance, does it?

                      More Resources About Fighting Fear

                      Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

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