The Protein Issue

When my husband and I decided to join the local gym recently we had very different views on what we wanted to get out of it.  His ultimate goal was to grow muscle quickly and bulk up; He went all out, going every night, pushing some heavy weights, eating loads more and introducing 2 protein shakes to his daily menu.  Me on the other hand, as much as I’d love to see the results quickly, can only commit to 2 nights a week, and my plan is to eat less, trim down, and concentrate more on a cardio workout as opposed to weight training.  Also I would never dream of drinking a protein shake full of nasty fillers and mixed with milk.

Why is protein so important when weight training?

Just about every part of our body is made up of protein, including our hair, skin, organs and muscles. 

When doing intense exercise you create small tears in your muscle fibres. This is healthy because when they repair they come back stronger, harder, leaner and healthier.  Protein is essential to help grow and repair these muscle that is why body builders require more protein than the average person. 

An average person needs around 50grams of protein a day

To give you an idea of where you might be getting your protein from here are some popular vegan and non-vegan foods.

1 cup cooked Quinoa = 8 grams

1 cup boiled Soya beans (Edamame) = 28g

1 cup cooked Lentils or other beans  = 15-18g

30g nuts = 7-8g

Nut butter 1tbsp – 3.5-4g

1 cup Brown rice = 5g

½ cup sprouted beans = 5g

100g Green veg = 3g

1 cup Oats = 6g

100g Beef = 18g

28g, a Slice of cheese = 7g protein

100g Chicken = 31g

1 tbsp spirulina/wheatgrass powder = 4/5g

When you are doing intense training it is said that you probably need double the average protein so around 100g of protein a day.

And so the debate began…

He drank his shake regularly and admittedly bulked up pretty quickly within a month he was noticeably bigger.  Me on the other hand started to notice a difference after 2 months. 

However the protein shake my husband was taking aside from providing him with 32g or protein per shake was also causing him all sorts of bowel problems.  I wont go into detail but let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. 

The shake was full of sugar, sweeteners, E number and all sorts of other stuff.

It was very much a case of continue with the shake and experience some serious health issues a few years down the line or help him find an alternative that is 1000 times healthier, delivers the same amount of protein and has no side effects.

With hubby as my Guinea pig I was excited to get to work researching protein dense foods that are healthy, tasty and easy to find. 

This was my first non-vegan friendly protein shake tweaked from a recipe of Mr Jamie Oliver himself:

Quantity              Description                         Protein

1                           Banana                                1.3g

150g                     Natural Greek Yogurt          15g

2 tbsp                   Peanut Butter                       4g

1 tbsp                   Chia Seeds                          2.5g

1 tbsp                   Hulled Hemp seeds             5.3g

100ml                   Full Fat milk                         3g

Total                                                                  31.1g

Whilst this was all good and dandy, hubbie was a little lazy at first with making it, so we decided he should make double which will give him enough shake for before and after a workout.  It tasted good and wasn’t too hard to put together either.

For a while I let him get on with it, anything had to be better than the powdered stuff he was drinking before.  But the little raw food chef inside of me couldn’t help but think there had to be a raw and better alternative. 

So I made it my mission to produce a rawfood protein shake that was both tasty, nutritious and matched the protein of his powder mix and protein recipe above.


This is what I got:

Quantity              Description                         Protein

2                           Banana                                 2.6g

2 tbsp                   Chia Seeds                          5g

2 tbsp                   Hemp Seeds                        10.6g

2 tbsp                   *Almond Butter                      7g

28g                       Hulled Pistachio Nuts          6g

1tsp                      Cinnamon for taste              0.1g

Total                                                                  31.2g

With this raw vegan protein shake my hubbie is not only getting his desired protein fill but he is also getting large amounts of omega 3 and 6 fats from the chia seeds and hemp seeds and fibre, vitamin E and antioxidants from the pistachios and almond butter, not to mention a large list of vitamins and minerals from all the ingredients listed.

If you are concerned about the amount of fat in this shake you can replace 1 tbsp of chia seeds and 1 tbsp hemp seeds with 2 tbsp spirulina which will give you even more of a healthy dose of nutrients because spirulina is absolutely bursting with goodness.

So there you have it one super healthy, protein loaded smoothie, suitable for all to boost protein intake before and after a workout.

*Please note that all nut butters have roughly the same amount of protein so even though peanut butter has been around the longest and is probably the cheapest don’t be afraid to try different nut butters such as almond, hazelnut or cashew and whatever you choose make sure that it is a pure nut butter without any un-needed additives.

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