Peas, peas, they’re good for your heart, the more you eat the more protein you get. Right?
Well, I guess you could say that about about any vegetable. Even chomping your way through 17oz of broccoli will give you a healthy 20g of protein¹, but I’m yet to see a diet plan that recommends 8 servings of those tiny trees per day (roughly 3 whole heads).
Maybe the broccoli diet would be hit if you didn’t have to buy an extra fridge just to store your weekly shop.
When it comes to getting protein for your diet, the little green balls (instead of the little green trees) are more than worth considering.
As with most sources of protein these days, pea protein is available in powdered form. If you thought that all protein powder was man made then let me explain how this one comes to be.
First of all, take all those yellow peas you have (yes, peas can be yellow, just like tomatoes can be green and carrots can be purple. If that’s news to you I’ll give you a minute…) and grind them into a powder.
No, this doesn’t mean making mushy peas, we aren’t trying to popularise that British mush. These yellow peas are dried and then crushed (or ‘milled’, if you want a fancy word to tell your friends) into fine particles.
Now, the protein powder made from peas can also be called pea protein isolate, because it is made by isolating the protein from these ground peas.
Perhaps you could call this man made but before you put this page in the trash and move mediums for your knowledge dump, let me say that the distinction I am making here is that everything is taken from just the organic source without the need for excessive extras.
How does that make Pea Protein different?
If you’re used to chugging down protein powder after a work out like it’s going out of fashion, maybe it’s time to open your eyes to the human injustice going on behind the scenes.
Just like in the clothing world, it would be naive to assume that all big brands are 100% ethical. The problem in the protein world is not that people are being exploited elsewhere for your benefit, it’s that your health and your body are being exploited directly.
A lot of protein powders contain added sugars, artificial flavourings, thickeners and chemicals that can do more harm than good².
Are vegetable protein powders exempt from this? No, far from it in fact. However, plant-based sources of protein powder contain a lot more natural nutrients and minerals without them having to be manually added in (the man-made part) so they are often a much cleaner protein source.
They also have so great benefits when compared to other sources such as whey powders.
Protein Powder and Your Digestion
Did you know that around 75% of the world’s population is believed to be lactose intolerant?³
That’s a lot.
Like, not a small majority, that is a big majority.
Why do we still insist on pumping ourselves full of dairy products? Ultimately, like most things that are bad for society, it’s down to marketing from gigantic conglomerate corporations that has been a systemic problem for generations.
But I’ll get down off my soap box and save that rant for another day (you’ll be glad to hear).
How this relates to peas is really rather simple.
Some of the most popular forms of protein powders, such as Whey or Casein, are made from proteins found in milk. Milk also contains natural sugars in the form of lactose. If you are lactose intolerant, your small intestine can’t properly digest these sugars and this can cause you problems.⁴
These problems can range from flatulence to IBS but either way, when you consume these types of protein powders you get a side helping of health issues with your order of extra muscle.
Once again, this is where Mother Nature comes to the rescue.
Protein Powders made from plant sources naturally don’t contain any lactose so you can consume as much as you like without worrying about those digestive problems.*
*If you eat too much of anything you’ll definitely get digestive problems. Remember, I’m not even close to being a doctor.
As previously mentioned, plant-based protein powders have less need for added chemicals. While many companies make their Whey taste amazing, this is usually because they are stuffed with artificial sweeteners that both harm your body and degrade the nutritional quality of the protein.⁵
The Environmental Argument
When you look at the stats around plat-based diets it really becomes less of an argument and more of an eye-opener.
Even if you aren’t vegetarian or vegan it’s easy to understand the environmental impacts that our carnivorous society has on the globe. So, if you’re consuming a lot of protein through a powdered source, it’s easy to do your bit for the planet and get it from plant-based sources.
Why? Check this out:
Over 75% of agricultural land use is for meat and dairy livestock but this only contributes 18% of the global calories produced.
On the other hand, the 23% of land used for plant-based crops covert to over 80% of globally consumed calories.⁶
To me, these numbers are crazy and way out of proportion. When you add this to the extra health benefits (or lack of problems) I mentioned earlier, plant-based protein seems like a no-brainer. Right?
Pea-Protein Vs. Whey Protein
Still not convinced? Maybe you think these arguments are all well and good but you just can’t bear see your gains, gains, gains go down the pan.
If those biceps of yours are really the most important part of your life then let me explain how you can feel better, do better for the planet and keep up maximum ticket sales to the gun show.
Because the likes of Whey protein have been around for whey longer there have been whey more studies conducted wheying up their benefits (see what I did there?).
However, there is a mountain of evidence growing on the side of plant-based proteins that show how much of a high-quality source it can be, even when compared to the traditional ones.
For example: pea protein isolate still contains all nine essential amino acids that your body cannot create and must get from food sources (often believed to only be available through meat and fish) it’s rich in iron and doesn’t contain any of the top eight food allergens.⁷
Oh, and it is being proven time and time again to be just as effective at supporting muscle mass as Whey protein!⁸
Downsides of Pea Protein
Nutritionally speaking, there are minimal downsides to Pea Protein but here are some arguments that some protein purists might throw at you in the gym:
- As with all foods, it’s not the everyone’s taste and some people just want to feel like they are drinking sugar and rainbows with their protein. Pea protein usually has a natural taste that can be gritty in texture.
- Although it is high in iron, the human body’s uptake of this is lower from plant-based sources than animal ones (unless it is combined with Vitamin C…)
- Pea Protein is not yet considered “main-stream” so getting your hands on some might be more difficult than the usual big-brand suspects.
There are more and more products emerging that contain protein from plant-based sources and are becoming easier and more accepted in the fitness communities.
At GRIT, we consider ourselves to be one of these forerunners for improving your nutrition through natural foods that have genuine nutritional benefits without the down sides of traditional protein powder sources.
Now, this post is no exception to our knowledge-spreading ethos and we genuinely want to educate you on how to improve your life through your nutrition, so if all you gain from this post is some new knowledge then I have done my job.
But, naturally, because we have this knowledge we also apply it to our products. For example:
- Our GRIT bites are made from 100% plant-based proteins, which makes this an easily accessible source of clean protein.
- Our Rejuvenation Lemon Bites are packed with 200% of your RDI of Vitamin C, so your uptake of iron is maximised.
- They’re tasty as F**k. As our name suggests, they also have a gritty texture so if you aren’t down for that then, well, it’s your call but you’re missing out.
As I said, this isn’t a sales pitch. If our company facts haven’t put you off reading, then I hope that this has been beneficial for you in both gaining some knowledge to improve your life and potentially gaining some gains in a healthier and more ethical way.
As with all trends, things change over time and I believe that the likes of Whey and Casein have become bloated with their popularity (much like the people who consume them) and it’s time for Mother Nature to once again show why she is the OG nutritional provider.