Superstar athletes are increasingly turning to vegetarian and even vegan diets to reach peak condition in pursuit of their life-long dreams. Few would equate boxing powerhouses such as former World Heavyweight Champions Mike Tyson or even our very-own David Haye with a meatless-lifestyle. But among the most famous in other sports too, legends such as tennis’ Venus Williams and Olympic Champion Carl Lewis, Formula 1’s Lewis Hamilton and Premier League star Daniel Defoe have all turned away from meat to the power of plants.

Plant proteins offer a myriad of benefits. With plant protein, you will not have to deal with the issue of excess protein that can occur with some high protein/low carbohydrate diets. These problems can include high cholesterol, impaired liver function, weight gain and digestive disorders.

Animal proteins are complete proteins but need to be broken down into amino acids and then processed by the liver. This is demanding work for your digestive system, requiring more time and energy than it takes to break down carbohydrates and fats or to utilise amino acids from ‘non-complete’ plant protein sources. Also, striving to get lean protein from animal sources is not always easy and an intake of unwanted fats and cholesterol often results.

Many plant proteins contain components that can help protect against chronic disease while promoting overall health. They are great for building muscle, burning fat and boosting heart health. Many plant proteins such as chia, hemp, flax and walnuts are high in omega 3 and can also help with skin conditions, menopausal symptoms, PMT and arthritis.

Weight Gain

Plant proteins do not have an adverse effect on your weight. In fact, plant proteins also have a high-fibre content to assist digestion and elimination. Plant-based proteins will help you boost your metabolism and help to repair and build muscle, while also helping to balance blood sugar levels. These would include legumes, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Plants provide pure lean protein which your body will be able to utilise.

Plant-Protein Powders Make Delicious Smoothies

Whey, soya and casein are the most common protein shakes, but for many, vegan proteins are their preferred choices for lean muscle, and other health benefits.

Plant-protein powders, such as pea, hemp, chia, flax, quinoa, nuts, seeds and soya are dehydrated and therefore it is important to blend for about three minutes in liquid.

You can create your own delicious smoothie drinks adding fruit, greens, peanut butter or raw cacao. One of my favourite things is to chop up banana, mix in a little lime juice and then freeze on greaseproof paper on a tray. Once frozen a few little banana pieces can be taken straight from the freezer to add flavor to your smoothie. You may like some of the delicious protein smoothies from The Beauty Chef or Rejuvenated with added super nutrition.

Spirulina, Chlorella and blends such as those found in KIKI Health Nature’s Living Superfood or Terranova’s Life Drink also contain good levels of protein that may well meet your needs, while providing a great general nutritional boost.