In my last post, I explained the reasons why exercise is sooo important for the human body.
But just to catch you up if you missed it, in brief summary: it’s because your bodies were designed to move.
So all kudos to those who embrace the concept, and indeed those who make it into something of an art form.
But there’s one aspect of this level of focus which is not good. Seriously harmful to health, in fact. And in a bit, I’ll be listing the SIX easy ways you can avoid and replace it, yet still gain all the muscle you want.
But first, here’s what I’m talking about:
PROTEIN POWDERS CONTAINING CASEIN. And any ready-made drink versions of the same.
Now, just to explain, whey and casein are the two principal proteins found in anything of dairy origin. One does not “contain” the other, as they are separate entities, but more often than not, most protein shakes and drinks have been formulated to contain both.
Take it from me: casein is BAD news. Alternatively, take it from T.Colin Campbell, the originator and author of The China Study.
What’s wrong with casein?
As you may well have seen a while back, I wrote two posts on dairy and why it should be given a wide berth at all costs.
But just to put you immediately in the picture, in The China Study – the largest study ever done into the links between lifestyle and disease, casein was found WITHOUT DOUBT to be the biggest trigger of cancer in the human diet.
So if you think about the dairy that people inadvertently consume daily through common foods like sandwiches, biscuits, certain breads, and of course tea and coffee, all a protein shake is doing – if it contains casein – is overloading that already-existent burden.
How to build more muscle without animal protein
I realise and appreciate that the bombshell above may strike fear into the hearts of anyone who is trying to bulk up and maximise their muscle mass.
But there is a BETTER way. Seriously.
FACT: In the year that he became vegan, Olympian Carl Lewis won more medals than he had done in his career to date.
FACT: It is easier for the body to build lean muscle mass from plant-based protein than from animal products like meat a dairy.
Because plants are so much easier and quicker for the body to break down, meaning that less stress is put on the body, and also, that you absorb more of that protein.
Remember, meat takes THREE WHOLE DAYS for the body to break down. And by the time that happens, a lot of that protein will not be assimilated. Plus, it will have started to putrefy inside you.
And anyway, there is damn nigh on as much protein in plants. The only difference is that you ABSORB MORE from plants, so you are, in effect, getting more.
LOOK at these two lists and compare.
NUTRIENT PLANT-BASED FOODS VERSUS ANIMAL-BASED FOODS
Cholesterol (mg) Nil (plant) versus 137 (animal)
Fat (g) 4 (plant) versus 36 (animal)
Protein (g) 33 (plant) versus 34 (animal)
Beta-carotene 29,919 (plant) versus 17 (animal)
Dietary fibre (g) 31 (plant) versus Nil (animal)
Vitamin C (mg) 293 (plant) versus 4 (animal)
Folate (mcg) 1168 (plant) versus 19 (animal)
Vitamin E (mg_ATE) 11 (plant) versus 0.5 (animal)
Iron (mg) 20 (plant) versus 2 (animal)
Magnesium (mg) 548 (plant) versus 51 (animal)
Calcium 545 (plant) versus 252 (animal)
PLANT SOURCES USED per 500 calories of energy: Equal parts of tomatoes, spinach, lima beans, peas, potatoes
ANIMAL SOURCES USED per 500 calories of energy: Equal parts of beef, pork, chicken and whole milk
SOURCE: Chart 11.2 in “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell , Chapter 11, “Eating Right: Eight Principles of Food and Health,” p.230
Get it? I hope so.
How do I increase my plant-based protein intake?
1. Sun Warrior protein powder
And breathe! See – told ya! This is at least as good as any animal-based protein powder on the market, if not better, Buy it and/or find out more here, and choose from either vanilla, plain or chocolate. Just to give you an idea, here’s the nutritional information and amino acid profile the vanilla flavour.
2. Green smoothies
You will know by now that I am a juicing fan, rather than a smoothie drinker, but let’s assume that you are dipping your toe in the water of all of this and don’t want to invest in a decent juicer just yet. Try and keep the fruit content low (1 piece of fruit to three veg, or preferably none at all), and plenty of greens like kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, cucumber and celery. Use this to replace your post-workout protein shake.
3. Green juice
Well, it had to be in here, didn’t it? Aside from hot water and lemon, this is the first thing I “consume” every day. But the main difference between a smoothie and a juice is that by juicing, you remove all the insoluble fibre, meaning the liquid goes straight from your stomach into your bloodstream, giving your digestive system a break while you still gain all the nutritional benefits. Try this recipe.
Better still, why not start off with this in the morning, then enjoy a green smoothie after your workout? By working out without anything new in your digestive tract, you are encouraging your body to burn more fat, rather than turning to what you have just consumed. Win, win!
You probably already know I hate the taste of this stuff. And I still hold my nose every day as it trickles down. But it’s worth it. In my view, it’s the ultimate superfood on the planet and contains every amino acid in existence. I have 3 fluid ounces a day, but if you’re starting out, I’d recommend 1 fluid ounce daily to begin, then build up to 2 after a week or so.
REMEMBER: You need a juicer capable of juicing wheatgrass; generally, the ones you buy on the high street will NOT be up to the job. You’ll either get a poor yield, or you will break your juicer. I recommend the Omega. Or, if you’ve just won the Lottery, a Norwalk.
Take BEFORE your green juice, on an empty stomach for maximum results.
And here’s how to grow it.
5. Jar-grown sprouts
This is RIDICULOUSLY easily, effortless and quick, even on the tiniest of kitchen worktops, all thanks to the simple container I use, called the Easy Sprouter (quick-to-follow visual demo included in this link)
Within 2-3 days, with only one rinse a day, your sprouts will be ready to add to salads, enjoy as a nibble on their own, or as a garnish for cooked meals. My particular favourites are fenugreek and lentils. But there are many more here.
Try to have 3-6 tablespoons a day of any combination, added to whatever meals you are eating – just don’t cook them!
6. Raw green salads