When it comes to fitness nutrition, there’s a popular notion that if you are not eating lean meats, you can’t build that dream body. Counterargument: it has given rise to whole crop of instagram vegan fitness heroes who have all the cuts despite a completely vegan nutrition plan. We have one such guest writer today who gives all of us the low down on meat alternatives & green protein options.
Chris is the founder of Uber Fit, a London based personal training company. He designs bespoke training sessions, run one – one and group based classes and offers nutritional advice. On top of training people he loves taking his kettlebell to the local parks for a swing.
Besides being a Trainer, he’s also a White Water Kayak Coach. Traveling the world coaching kayaking is where his love for the environment stems from (and watching a pig get killed on a rafting trip in Nepal was what turnedhim into a veggie!). In his words – « I believe we have a lovely planet so lets all stop screwing it up and preserve it! »
Why you need to consider green protein options?
Protein is a key component of the food groups or macronutrients and one we need to be consuming everyday if we want to live a full healthy life. Its also key to repairing and growing our muscles which is essential if we are aiming for that lean look and for anyone aspiring to pack on some muscle a la Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Depending on the task at hand we should be aiming to consume around 0.8g of protein per 1kg of lean body mass, or around 1.8g if we want to be packing on the muscle.
As Chris says, « aside from watching a pig ‘Percy’ get slaughtered (Never name them if you want to keep eating meat!) i’m also rather conscious of the environment and how we can affect the world we live in. » Even Arnold Schwarzenegger recently came out and told us all to consume less meat in order to save our environment:
Besides animal cruelty, the negative impact on the planet is another reason to rethink meat consumption as we discussed in our article on contamination pollutant free food shopping.
- In US Tyson Foods, one of the largest producers of meat in the world, is responsible for dumping more toxic pollution by volume into U.S. waters than oil and gas companies like Exxon and Dow Chemical (Source).
- An estimated 30 percent of the earth’s ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, which also estimates that livestock production generates nearly a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases — more than transportation.
- A study by the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan estimated that 2.2 pounds of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days.
Green or more sustainable sources of protein have been particular on topic recently, the Cowspiracy movie ramming home the travesty that is mass farming, a fantastic film if you’ve not already watched it. It contains some frightening statistics: Animal agriculture is responsible for 91% of the Amazons deforestation and some brighter ones: A plant based diet cuts your carbon footprint by 50% (source). Recently even Tyson foods announced its investment in protein alternatives.
Over to Chris now!
To help you all along the way, get a little more green, lower your impact and as a bonus get healthier here is a countdown of my top 5 meat alternatives: plant-based sources of protein. I’ve included the amount of protein per 100g and the Co2 impact per Kilo (Use Beefs 27.0 as a guide).
No 5: Nutz! Co2: 2.0 Protein 20g
Great if you are not allergic to them, have them as a snack, wack some butter on whatever you fancy for a snack.
All kinds are great, although to lower you impact even more try to find ones local to you, a Brazil nut that is not from Brazil would be better.
No: 4: Greens Co2: 2.0 Protein: 3g
Not a fantastic source or what most people think of as a protein source, but they do contain some and have so many other health benefits. All and any of the green veggies are great, spinach in particular but your Mother and Popeye already told you that!
Low Co2 emissions but pretty low in the protein stakes. Think of this source as an added boost. With each meal I try to add in a handfull of spinach or other greens mainly for their other health and nutritional benefits and know that i’m getting that little extra protein.
No: 3: Beans and more beans! Co2: 2.0 Protein: 20g
I love homemade baked beans for breakfast, black beans in a burrito, kidney beans in a chile, all varieties and lots of them! You’ll get around 20g per 100g which is a solid amount and can combine them into any dish! Refry them if you like, curry them, mash them, do whatever you gotta do but eat em!
No 2: Seitan: Co2: 0.5 Protein: 75g
What?! 75g! Thats top of the protein league! But you’ll have to go to specialty shops to pick it up (most easter/asian supermarkets will carry it) and its made from wheat gluten which might be a big ol no no for some folks, which is why it only makes number 2 on my list.
If you can find it and are not gluten intolerant then do indulge. Its great as a meat substitute and can be used in loads of oriental dishes. A more meaty texture than tofu too.
No: 1: Lentils Co2: 0.9 Protein: 20g
Okay, perhaps I lied a little. I do eat a fair amount of Lentils. Perhaps once a week or so. They are just made for curries which I love! And perfect for blitzing up to make ‘burgers’ or if you fancy a twist on a falafal recipe. Sprouted ones are great added to salads.
They come in various guises, (all will make you fart of course) and pack in about 25g of protein per 100g which is tough to beat! And such low Co2. The king of green protein!
So those were Chris’ TOP 5 green protein options. Change your diet and help change the world around you! Drop us an email if you have more questions for Chris!
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