making exercise habitual

Making any change in your daily life is hard to get used to in the beginning because you are adding something in that you are not familiar with or accustomed to. Once something becomes a habit, you do it pretty much without even giving it a thought, but until that time, you are going to need to do things that will help you to develop the habit itself. Exercise is one of those things that is easy to want to do, but a bit harder to actually turn into something that you habitually. Once you do, though, the rewards will be wonderful. The following tips can help get you on your way.

*Determine Your Schedule-If you are trying to develop a new habit, you should first decide when you are going to fit it into your schedule. How often are you going to exercise? What days of the week? What times of the day? If you leave these things undecided, chances are good that procrastination will kill your fitness goals before you have a chance to really get going.

*Set Reminder Alarms-Once you have determined when you are going to put your newly forming habit into effect, set an alarm to go off and remind you. It is easy to forget new things as we go through the busy day. I suggest setting an alarm on your cell phone, as long as you are a person who carries it with you the majority of the time. If not, figure out some other way to be reminded.

*Get A Fitness Partner-Find a friend that wants to get in shape with you and commit to one another that you are both going to make exercise a habit in your lives. This will keep you both more motivated, increase the odds of remembering since you know that “two heads are better than one”, and it will keep it fun!

*Join A Fitness Center-Although some people can have an effective workout program on their own at home, many more do better if they have somewhere to go that surrounds them with other people who are working toward better health alongside them. The atmosphere of the gym, combined with the variety of classes and machines you can take advantage of, will keep your workouts exciting and increase the chances that you will become habitually fit.

*Start A Fitness Journal-Having something to keep track of your accomplishments is a real motivator for many people. You want to fill the pages and progress towards your goals, therefore you look forward to your next workout.

*Set Goals And Rewards-Setting fitness goals that you write in your logbook will also help keep you on track as you can see what you are working towards and how close you are getting to achieving the goal. Determining a reward system will also help you to keep going.

Making exercise habitual in your life will take a bit of time, but after a while, you will notice that your day feels somehow incomplete if you miss that workout session that is scheduled. Believe it or not, there are people who become essentially addicted to their workouts and you may just be joining their ranks before long. As you look better and feel better, you will be looking forward to those workouts that are changing your life for the better!

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Buying used gym equipment

With the fitness industry seeing a boom as people are wanting to get fit both for the enhancement of their health and their appearance, there are many individuals who are entering the market to purchase their own gym equipment for use at home. They may not want to go to the gym due to the costs, their schedules, or something else. For whatever reason, they are looking to set up something at home to get them on their way to meeting their fitness goals. For these people, finances are often an issue. One of the options that they should consider is purchasing used gym equipment to see a great savings and still get what they are looking for.
There is an abundance of this type of item for sale because many people make the decision to get into better shape, but lack the motivation and follow through to stick with it. Even if the equipment is barely used at all, the value goes down significantly the moment that it leaves the store where it was purchased and enters someone else’s home. By the time that they realize that they made either an impulse purchase or one that they simply don’t really want as much as they initially thought that they did, the savings are going to be seen by you when they are ready to “give up the dream” and resell.
Where do you find this equipment? You should begin to look several places. Newspaper classifieds will have sections for fitness equipment. There may be signs hanging on local bulletin boards, such as those found in stores, gyms, or other businesses. One of the most popular places to find things for sale is the internet. Sites such as Ebay or Craigslist are chock full of items that people have purchased and no longer want. The savings that you can find on these sites may be tremendous when compared to purchasing equipment brand new.
Not to be a naysayer, but there is also a chance that you, too will eventually be looking to resell the gym equipment that you are so intrigued by today. If you have purchased new, you will be the one experiencing the financial loss. If you buy secondhand, you may take a small loss, but you may not take one at all. Even if you do stick with your fitness plan, there may come a day that you simply want to upgrade the equipment or try something new. Regardless, you will save alot in the end by taking someone else’s equipment off their hands, rather than handing your money over to the retail establishment. In today’s tight economy, that is a very good thing.

Powerlifters diet?

Well—there is one and its called the see food diet. Powerlifters eat alot of food concerning high calories and carbohydrates. The mantra is eat big, lift big, get big. Protein is the first step in a high calorie meal plan to gain strength. Animal protein sources like meat, eggs, and dairy are ideal.  Dairy protein breaks down during digestion into amino acids and re-synthesized into protein to build new muscle cells. You could not eat too much protein as a powerlifter. The more protein the better. 2 grams of protein per body pound is the minimum for the weight you want to be.  Large gains can be made with using GOMAD. Gallon Of Milk A Day.  Whole milk is calorie dense with healthy protein rich nutrients. Using GOMAD as well as eating is good for huge gains and assuring the calories and protein you need.  High carbohydrate consumption is essential for weight gain with fiber rich vegetables the best healthy carbs. Consuming starch like potatoes and bread and pastas for weight gain. Dietary fat is critical to testosterone production in the body. Testosterone is the male hormone responsible for synthesizing protein into muscle tissue. These fats raise the good HDL cholesterol more than the bad LDL cholesterol.  In summary if you are going to powerlift and while micro nutritional management is essential it is better to just eat.  All the food you are told are bad for you usually taste better and are easy to eat. As you read this you probably think “I going to die of a heart attack on this diet”. However this eating trend is unhealthy but necessary for competition. I do not think this would be a lifetime diet. Powerlifting is usually a short span of competitions and some make it a much longer time without injuries.

Do Steroids Cause Prostate Cancer?

I am sharing this written by Paul Johnson
This is a very common question among bodybuilders thinking of doing steroids. It  also is a concern for middle aged men thinking of trying testosterone supplementation (Hormone replacement therapy). You may have read about some links between prostate cancer and steroids/HRT therapy. Is it really fact or is it just based on far reaching assumptions?
Steroids and prostate growth (BPH)
Before we discuss steroids and it’s role on prostate cancer, first we must discuss steroids’ possible actions on prostate growth (BPH). The prostate first grows during puberty. Then around 25, the prostate starts to grow again in a 2nd phase. The 2nd phase eventually may lead to prostate enlargement years down the road. Half the men in their 60′s will have significant prostate enlargement.
Steroids(including normal testosterone in the body) stimulate the androgen receptors in the prostate. Excessive levels of androgenic steroids (such as through steroid use) causes prostate growth/enlargement called BPH (Benign prostate hyperplasia) in a short period of time. Once excessive system levels of androgenic steroids drops, than the prostate will start to shrink back again. It may not shrink completely back to it’s former size however.
In non-steroid users, testosterone mainly causes it once it converts to DHT. DHT is much more androgenic(binds to the receptors stronger) than testosterone. The drug finasteride is prescribed to help alleviate prostate growth. It works by blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT. Steroid users will often use finasteride, in order to block the effects of hair loss and prostate growth while on cycle.
BPH caused by Testosterone or Estrogen?
In non-steroid users, older men are afflicted with BPH. This seems backwards, since BPH is supposed to be correlated with high androgens right? We know that older men have lower testosterone(and DHT) levels, so how is this possible?
Well there is 3 basic theories on what causes BPH for non-steroid users. No one yet seems to know for certain which theory is correct.
Theory 1 – Excessive estrogen levels. Older men have a higher estrogen and lower testosterone levels. According to research, the use of anti-estrogens are well documented to help shrink the prostate. The famous steroid research chemist Patrick Arnold, has claimed that there is more evidence pointing to a high estrogen to low testosterone being the cause of BPH.
Theory 2 – Despite the lowering testosterone levels( and hence DHT) levels in older men, research suggests men still probably accumulate high levels of DHT in the prostate. This would explain why people why older men can still get BPH despite declining levels of testosterone and DHT in the body. Another fact to help support this theory, is that Men who don’t produce DHT naturally due to genetic defect, also don’t develop BPH.
Theory 3 – Genetic Programmed growth. The fact that prostate cells awaken again in the mid 20′s to re-grow suggests that maybe BPH growth is programmed genetically. By the time men are in their 90′s, 90% will suffer from BPH.
Other interesting study results: In one study, when estrogen and dht were both reduced with hormonal blockers, the prostate gland actually increased in size. This is startling since if one of these hormones is to play a role in BPH, why when reducing both, did it cause prostate growth?
What causes prostate cancer?
First we must realize BPH and prostate cancer are not the same thing. BPH is a condition of excessive growth of the prostate. They do not know currently, if BPH is a pre-cursor condition to prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is actually a very common occurence in men, much more than the public is aware. It is said that most men would die of prostate cancer, if they didn’t die of something before that. Prostate cancer is usually very slow growing. Many elderly men live decades with prostate cancer and may not even know they have it.
The truth is, no one really knows what leads exactly to prostate cancer. There is a lot of conflicting data. In fact, if you look at many studies out there, most don’t even show a link between prostate cancer and higher testosterone levels. Yet, many doctors seem to believe it does. Some recent studies have shown that there was no increased risk of prostate cancer based on testosterone levels. Many doctors who put middle aged men on testosterone replacement therapy, have not seen a higher incidence of prostate cancer developing. Doctors are also usually worried about BPH from testosterone, but men have actually had a reduction in their BPH from using testosterone hormone replacement therapy to treat low testosterone.
The fear of prostate cancer by doctors, is one reason why doctors are often hesitant to do HRT(hormone replacement therapy). HRT therapy is for older men and others deficient in testosterone, to bring them up to healthy levels. The January 2004 New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) wrote that testosterone does not cause prostate cancer, but they need to be monitored, since it may stimulate hidden prostate cancer. What do they mean by hidden prostate cancers? Apparently in about half the men over age 50, they may have prostate cancer, but it is asymptomatic. In other words, it is not growing and causing harm. If they were to supplement with testosterone, according to them, it may possibly stimulate these harbored cancer cells into a aggressive form of prostate cancer. That is why doctors will check for PSA(prostae specific antigen), BPH, and have more frequent prostate exams when starting HRT therapy. PSA is a very accurate marker of existing cancer and when it goes back to zero it means the person has been cured. Testosterone therapy could “awaken” these sleeper cancer cells. This is what they theorize, yet there is no scientific research to show that this is really what happens.
What we do know, is that there is many factors that might increase the risk of prostate cancer.
1) Increased ejaculation in your 20′s. This may sound awkward, but there were some studies that recently came out with this result. They found that those who ejaculated a lot more frequently in their 20′s, had less likely occurence of prostate cancer. The prostate gland is known to hold a much higher concentration of the bodies’ toxins. The researchers believed that ejaculation may lead to “cleansing” the prostate from carcinogens (cancer causing toxins).
2) Genetics & Heredity – Prostate cancer also seems to run at a higher rate in families with a pre-disposition to it. There is currently research looking at various enzymes and prostate genes, that may be involved in developing the cancer. African americans also have a higher incidence of prostate cancer.
3) Diet/Environment – Diets high in animal fat increase incidence of prostate cancer. Men who moved from Japan where prostate cancer incidence is lower, had increased risk in their sons and grandsons when living in the U.S. Therefore, diet and other environmental factors seem to increase risk of prostate cancer.

Summary
Prostate cancer is caused by a variety of risk factors. Experts seem to continue to try and make this link between high testosterone levels (or other steroids) and prostate cancer, yet there is no real solid research proof that testosterone levels is the direct cause. There is a growing body of research showing there is no link and that it may be caused by other factors. If Testosterone and steroids caused prostate cancer, a lot of men at a young age would probably be getting prostate cancer.

Mesomorph Body Type

There are a great variety of reasons that a person would want to know his or her body type. If you are beginning a diet and fitness regimen, for example, this is going to be very important for your progress and to know what you should and shouldn’t be doing. In fact, beginning a diet and fitness regimen is likely the most common reason that a person would have for wanting to identify and to learn more about their own body type. Identifying your body type is also going to get you off to the best start, as you will learn what the best regimen for you will be for the greatest effect.

There are three basic body types and I will describe briefly the two that are not the mesomorph type, in order that you can better understand the differences between the three. The other two are the ectomorph and the endomorph. In brief, the ectomorph body type is lean and lightly muscled, typically with a very linear structured body. They will find it very difficult to gain muscle mass. The endomorph is generally rounder and softer, more prone to that mid-body fat gathering than the other body types. They tend to be high-waisted and the limbs are generally short, but tapered.

The mesomorph body type we will go into in greater detail and you should be able to tell if this is your body type. These people will have more athletic and well-muscled bodies, tending to gain muscle easier than the other body types will. However, they will also gain fat easier in many cases, so diet and cardiovascular exercise will be equally important to them as weight bearing workouts will be. The majority of bodybuilding competition champions, where the focus is on muscle mass, are this body type. Not only are the large muscle groups well-developed, but the hands and fingers of the mesomorph are even muscled!

The mesomorph female will be that hourglass figure and the male will lean towards a triangular body shape. The face of the mesomorph is generally square, especially along the jawline, rather than angular. Even the skin of the mesomorph is thicker than that of the other body types, and the hair tends to be very textured and probably thick, as well.

As you can see, the three body types are quite distinguishable, one from another. Some people may fit a bit into more than one category, but will usually have one that is definitely primary over the other. If you are a mesomorph, you will gain muscle easy, but remember that diet and fat-burning exercises are equally important. Otherwise, that muscle may become covered by a layer of fat that will hide your progress.

Steriods vs Prohormones

In the light of debate amongst the two I will add my knowledge that these can impact your health.  As known steroids are illegal in the USA since 2004 when President Bush signed the bill into law. Prohormones are a precursor to steroids and can still be purchased in the USA on the internet. In the past I have tried numerous prohormones. All with the same ingredients or small differences in mixture.  ( 4-chloro-17a-methyl andro-, 4-ene-3, 17b-diol 25mg,2a, 17a-dimethyl-5a-androstane-, 17b-ol-3-one 10mg,13-ethyl-3-methox-gona-2, 5(10)-, diene-17-one 10mg,.) The manufactures can call these supplements because of the “other ingrediants” (Other Ingredients: Magnesium Stearate, Rice Flour) Also the prohormones lack a link in the chain of chemical to complete it as an active steroid. When taken orally the andrones activate using your bodies natural testosterone and the missing link to the prohormone is complete. It is however and unfortunately a low grade of steroid when taken orally and for the recommended 4 week cycle my results were fair and being a naturally strong person I found all the different prohormones I took only increased my weight by 5-6 pounds. When I came off my cycle I lost that in short time with no break in lifting weights. My opinion is that it was water weight retention. I have quit taking these to lift naturally and finding not much difference in growing strength over time as well as saving money due to their high cost.  Also some make you edgy and your testosterone is changed meaning the prohormones take over shutting down your natural testosterone and cloning itself as supplemental testosterone above what you normally produce. Steroids are active when entering the bloodstream whether injected or taken orally. The potency is far above prohormones especially when “stacked” with other steroids
Long term health issues prevail over time more so with steroids than the prohormones. The FDA (food and drug administration) are cracking down on these supplements and have since raided some supplement stores. However these supplement names change constantly keeping ahead of the FDA’s pursuit.. Be careful in the choices you make in the muscle building world.

So you have a torn pectoral muscle

I tore my left pectoral muscle on March 10, 2011. As an avid weight lifter, this was very depressing since I was progressing well in pounds of pressing.  This injury happens in various age groups and can range in different severity.  Pec tears most commonly happen with bench pressing, dumbells, and deadlifts. Mine is from heavy dumbells.  I was drop- setting (meaning going from heavy to lighter weights) from the start. I did proper warming up and had a spotter helping start the first repetition and for safety. It was my third set and everything was going well until halfway up it felt like i was hit in the shoulder by a large electrical shock, I didn’t hear any tearing but it felt like my shoulder dislocated. I dropped the weights but unfortunately my spotter had his hand under one of the dumbells and it caught enough to tear his bicep tendon. He has since had surgery. One huge lesson learned and take my advice DO NOT WORK WITH homade dumbells unless they are secure. The dumbells I was working with you could add plates to them and they had plastic shims to hold them tight. I did not have a proper shim to hold the amount I was using which caused the plates to be loose and shift. I was having no problem negotiating this but it turned out that they shifted to an outside of my range of motion helping to cause this injury.
  I went to the emergency room and was in moderate pain.  My pec was enlarged and bruised severely. The doc took x-rays and determined it a strain. He said to take it easy and it will heal in 3 months.

  Here is my advice if you experience this injury. Do not go to your family physician, Do spend  the extra co-pay or what to see a sports medicine doctor they are specialist in this.  He or she will most likely send you for an MRI. http://mskcases.com/index.php?module=article&view=93Until MRI’s it was hard to diagnose how severe the injury was. After your MRI you will revisit your doc to determine what is necessary for treatment. Only one tear is reparable and is the complete rupture of the tendon from the shoulder/humerus. This can be surgically reattached to the bone with stable results and recovery. Expect 6 to 8 weeks immobilized and off work depending on what you do.  A muscle belly tear which is what I have is un-surgical due to not successfully suturing muscle together. It was tested using Kessler sutures and combination sutures. However the combination sutures prevailed.  Surgeons do not or will not sew muscle together because it has a high risk if not expected to re tear.  My injury is almost 3 months out and I am able to do limited dumbells up to 80 lbs now and flys. I am able to do my normal weight deadlifts, curls, squats, pull downs, shoulder presses. In reality my doc told me it would take a year to heal. I have some deformation but not much noticeable only if I flex my chest.   Even though you my be limited with pressing moves (you have to be careful with dips, pullups, and flys) it is not the end of the world of lifting for you. Focus and be determined to make your comeback. Take it easy know your limits and get strong again.
             

Supplement wise

 

 

Supplements for endurance and growth could do you well but not necessarily for others. So if you recommend something that has been helping your lifts. It could just wind up on someone else wasting their money. Believe it supplements are costly and I have tried many. My advise is to stick with creatine for one. An Ethyl-ester or buffered type do not get the monohydrate it will not do well with your digestive track. Whey protein and maybe a testosterone boost if your getting up in age. As for DHEA wait and try that if your still lifting in your 60’s. If you do take DHEA and lots of it you could find hair loss an issue. NOT GOOD!!!. And to much testosterone could lower your LDL “good cholesterol” levels below the safe side. So try supplements wisely and always ask your DOC about what you are taking.

Vegan diet for weight lifters

It is very easy for a vegan diet to meet the recommendations for protein, as long as calorie intake is adequate. Strict protein combining is not necessary; it is more important to eat a varied diet throughout the day.

Some Americans are obsessed with protein. Vegans are bombarded with questions about where they get their protein. Athletes used to eat thick steaks before competition because they thought it would improve their performance. Protein supplements are sold at health food stores. This concern about protein is misplaced. Although protein is certainly an essential nutrient which plays many key roles in the way our bodies function, we do not need huge quantities of it. In reality, we need small amounts of protein. Only one calorie out of every ten we take in needs to come from protein 1. Athletes do not need much more protein than the general public 2. Protein supplements are expensive, unnecessary, and even harmful for some people.

How much protein do we need? The RDA recommends that we take in 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram that we weigh (or about 0.36 grams of protein per pound that we weigh) 1. This recommendation includes a generous safety factor for most people. When we make a few adjustments to account for some plant proteins being digested somewhat differently from animal proteins and for the amino acid mix in some plant proteins, we arrive at a level of 1 gram of protein per kilogram body weight (0.45 grams of protein per pound that we weigh). Since vegans eat a variety of plant protein sources, somewhere between 0.8 and 1 gram of protein per kilogram would be a protein recommendation for vegans. If we do a few calculations we see that the protein recommendation for vegans amounts to close to 10% of calories coming from protein. [For example, a 79 kg vegan male aged 25 to 50 years could have an estimated calorie requirement of 2900 calories per day. His protein needs might be as high as 79 kg x 1 gram/kg = 79 grams of protein. 79 grams of protein x 4 calories/gram of protein = 316 calories from protein per day. 316 calories from protein divided by 2900 calories = 10.1% of calories from protein.] If we look at what vegans are eating, we find that between 10-12% of calories come from protein 3. This contrasts with the protein intake of non-vegetarians, which is close to 14-18% of calories.

So, in the United States it appears that vegan diets are commonly lower in protein than standard American diets. Remember, though, with protein, more (than the RDA) is not necessarily better. There do not appear to be health advantages to consuming a high protein diet. Diets that are high in protein may even increase the risk of osteoporosis 4 and kidney disease 5.

Table 1: Sample Menus Showing How Easy It Is To Meet Protein Needs

Protein (grams)

Breakfast: 1 cup Oatmeal 6
1 cup Soymilk 7
1 Bagel 9

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Lunch: 2 slices Whole Wheat Bread 5
1 cup Vegetarian Baked Beans 12

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Dinner: 5 oz firm Tofu 11
1 cup cooked Broccoli 4
1 cup cooked Brown Rice 5
2 Tbsp Almonds 4

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Snack: 2 Tbsp Peanut Butter 8
6 Crackers 2
TOTAL 73 grams
Protein Recommendation for Male Vegan [based on 0.8-1 gram of protein per kilogram body weight for 70 kilogram (154 pound) male] 56-70 grams

Breakfast: 2 slices Whole Wheat Toast 5
2 Tbsp Peanut Butter 8

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Lunch: 6 oz. Soy Yogurt 6
2 Tbsp Almonds 4
1 Baked Potato 4

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Dinner: 1 cup cooked Lentils 18
1 cup cooked Bulgur 6

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Snack: 1 cup Soymilk 7
TOTAL 58 grams
Protein Recommendation for Female Vegan [based on 0.8-1 gram of protein per kilogram body weight for 57.5 kilogram (126 pound) female] 46-58 grams
Additional food should be added to these menus to provide adequate calories and to meet requirements for nutrients besides protein.

Table 2 shows the amount of protein in various vegan foods and also the number of grams of protein per 100 calories. To meet protein recommendations, the typical adult male vegan needs only 2.5 to 2.9 grams of protein per 100 calories and the typical adult female vegan needs only 2.1 to 2.4 grams of protein per 100 calories. These recommendations can be easily met from vegan sources.

Table 2: Protein Content of Selected Vegan Foods

FOOD AMOUNT PROTEIN(gm) PROTEIN(gm/100 cal)
Tempeh 1 cup 41 9.3
Seitan 3 ounces 31 22.1
Soybeans, cooked 1 cup 29 9.6
Lentils, cooked 1 cup 18 7.8
Black beans, cooked 1 cup 15 6.7
Kidney beans, cooked 1 cup 13 6.4
Veggie burger 1 patty 13 13.0
Chickpeas, cooked 1 cup 12 4.2
Veggie baked beans 1 cup 12 5.0
Pinto beans, cooked 1 cup 12 5.7
Black-eyed peas, cooked 1 cup 11 6.2
Tofu, firm 4 ounces 11 11.7
Lima beans, cooked 1 cup 10 5.7
Quinoa, cooked 1 cup 9 3.5
Tofu, regular 4 ounces 9 10.6
Bagel 1 med.
(3 oz) 9 3.9
Peas, cooked 1 cup 9 6.4
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), cooked 1/2 cup 8 8.4
Peanut butter 2 Tbsp 8 4.3
Veggie dog 1 link 8 13.3
Spaghetti, cooked 1 cup 8 3.7
Almonds 1/4 cup 8 3.7
Soy milk, commercial, plain 1 cup 7 7.0
Soy yogurt, plain 6 ounces 6 4.0
Bulgur, cooked 1 cup 6 3.7
Sunflower seeds 1/4 cup 6 3.3
Whole wheat bread 2 slices 5 3.9
Cashews 1/4 cup 5 2.7
Almond butter 2 Tbsp 5 2.4
Brown rice, cooked 1 cup 5 2.1
Spinach, cooked 1 cup 5 13.0
Broccoli, cooked 1 cup 4 6.8
Potato 1 med.
(6 oz) 4 2.7
Sources: USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18, 2005 and manufacturers’ information.

The recommendation for protein for adult males vegans is around 56-70 grams per day; for adult female vegans it is around 46-58 grams per day (see text).

It is very easy for a vegan diet to meet the recommendations for protein. Nearly all vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds contain some, and often much, protein. Fruits, sugars, fats, and alcohol do not provide much protein, so a diet based only on these foods would have a good chance of being too low in protein. However, not many vegans we know live on only bananas, hard candy, margarine, and beer. Vegans eating varied diets containing vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds rarely have any difficulty getting enough protein as long as their diet contains enough energy (calories) to maintain weight. [See the sections on Pregnancy, Lactation, and Infants and Children (pages 176-197 in Simply Vegan, 4th edition) for details about protein needs during these special times.]

What about combining or complementing protein? Doesn’t that make the protein issue much more complex? Let’s look at a little background on the myth of complementing proteins. Protein is made up of amino acids, often described as its building blocks. We actually have a biological requirement for amino acids, not for protein. Humans cannot make nine of the twenty common amino acids, so these amino acids are considered to be essential. In other words, we must get these amino acids from our diets. We need all nine of these amino acids for our body to make protein.

Some people say that eggs, cow’s milk, meat, and fish are high quality protein. This means that they have large amounts of all the essential amino acids. Soybeans, quinoa (a grain), and spinach also are considered high quality protein. Other protein sources of non-animal origin usually have all of the essential amino acids, but the amounts of one or two of these amino acids may be low. For example, grains are lower in lysine (an essential amino acid) and legumes are lower in methionine (another essential amino acid) than those protein sources designated as high quality protein.

Frances Moore Lappe, in her book Diet for a Small Planet 6 advocated the combining of a food low in one amino acid with another food containing large amounts of that amino acid. This got to be a very complicated process, with each meal having specific amounts of certain foods in order to be certain of getting a favorable amino acid mix. Many people got discouraged with the complexity of this approach. Actually, Lappe was being overly conservative to avoid criticism from the “Nutrition Establishment.” She has since repudiated strict protein combining, saying, “In combating the myth that meat is the only way to get high quality protein, I reinforced another myth. I gave the impression that in order to get enough protein without meat, considerable care was needed in choosing foods. Actually it is much easier than I thought” 7.

Table 3: Amounts of Foods Providing Recommended
Amounts of Essential Amino Acids

12-1/3 cups of cooked corn OR 6-1/2 large potatoes OR 2-1/2 cups of tofu OR 15-1/2 cups of cooked brown rice

Any one of the above foods, eaten in the amount specified, would provide the recommended ammounts of all essential amino acids for an adult male. Women would need about 20% less of each food due to lower recommendations. This concept is illustrated below:

Food Try Thr Iso Leu Lys Met+Cys Phe+Tyr Val
Adult RDA,154 lb male 1 350 1400 1330 2940 2660 1330 2310 1680
12-1/3 cups corn 443 2521 2521 6777 2660 1820 5326 3616
6-1/2 large potatoes 760 1768 1963 2940 2951 1365 3946 2743
2-1/2 cups tofu 780 2045 2480 3808 3298 1333 4112 2530
15-1/2 cups cooked rice 899 2573 2960 5766 2666 2418 6231 4108
Source: USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18, 2005.

Notes: Amounts of amino acids are in milligrams.
Try=tryptophan,
Thr=threonine,
Iso=isoleucine,
Leu=leucine,
Lys=lysine,
Met+Cys=methionine+cysteine,
Phe+Tyr=phenylalanine+tyrosine,
Val=valine

We recommend eating a variety of unrefined grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, and vegetables throughout the day, so that if one food is low in a particular essential amino acid, another food will make up this deficit 8,9.

Even if you ate only one food and not the variety of foods typical of a vegan diet, you would probably get enough protein and essential amino acids. Remember, almost all protein sources of non-animal origin contain all of the essential amino acids. You would have to eat a lot of the protein source (if there was only one source of protein in your diet) to meet essential amino acid needs. Table 3 shows the amounts of various foods an adult male would have to eat if he relied on a single food source for his protein needs. Females would need about 20% less of each food due to the lower protein recommendation for women.