Everyone loves a big stack of fluffy pancakes drizzled in rich maple syrup. Although delicious, most of us know that this breakfast is more like a dessert rather than a healthy start to the day. Pancakes are usually a no-go for those of us who are trying to work on our physical health, but what if they don’t have to be? A few little tweaks can make a sugar-laden breakfast treat a protein-packed healthy start. Best of all? It’s vegan-friendly. Check out the recipe below to find out how.
1 scoop Naked Shake vanilla protein powder
1 cup almond flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp. coconut sugar
1. Place a non-stick pan over medium heat.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine protein powder, almond flour, baking powder, salt, and coconut sugar
3. In a separate bowl, combine vanilla almond milk, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract.
4. Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and whisk together until smooth.
5. Pour ½ cup of mixture into a non-stick pan.
6. Flip once bubbles form on the top of the mixture and the pancake is golden brown.
7. Serve with fresh fruit and a drizzle of vegan maple syrup or agave nectar to taste.
Pea protein, derived from yellow split peas, has rapidly become a popular protein source for powders and supplements. It is easily digestible, vegan-friendly, and hypoallergenic. It is also a great vegan option for those looking to avoid soy products. Unlike most plant proteins, pea protein is a complete protein source. This means it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids, although it has lower amounts of methionine which can be substituted with other foods in the diet such as brown rice [1, 2].
Most popular protein powders are made from whey protein. Extensive research has determined whey to be the gold-standard protein supplement for muscle growth and recovery. However, pea protein has been found to have similar effects. So, does this make pea protein a comparable vegan alternative to whey protein? Let’s look at some of the similarities and differences.
Whey protein supplements often contain common allergens such as lactose and gluten, whereas pea protein is free of most top allergens. Both are easy to digest and versatile. They can be easily added to smoothies, baked goods, and more. Neither elicits a strong taste or texture when added to foods or liquids. Whey protein typically contains higher amounts of protein, and because it is derived from dairy it contains a good source of calcium. Both are low in carbs, fat, and sugar [3, 4].
Pea protein contains a good source of branched-chain amino acids, which help to promote muscle growth and improve recovery like whey protein powder. It is also rich in iron, as are most legumes. Although iron is not as easily absorbed from plants as it is from animal products, incorporating a source of vitamin C can help to boost absorption by almost 70%. This makes pea protein a great vegan alternative to whey [5, 6, 7].
A vegan diet eliminates all animal products, the main source of easily absorbed protein. Getting protein from plants alone can be a challenge therefore it’s important to be conscious of your protein intake to make sure you are getting enough, especially if you are strength training.
When your diet is limited to only plant foods, it’s difficult to get all the essential amino acids your body needs unless you are diligent with your intake and incorporate a variety of plant-based protein sources. It’s common for those on a vegan diet to supplement with protein powders, especially those who are very active. If you do not get adequate protein in your diet, you can develop a deficiency that can cause muscle wasting, weakness, and fatigue, along with other long-term health implications.
Getting adequate protein on a plant-based diet
requires you to choose a variety of sources during meals. Good plant-based
sources of protein aside from pea protein include tofu, tempeh, edamame, lentils,
nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains.
Because many plant-based proteins are low or lacking one or more of the essential amino acids, incorporating a mixture of these sources daily can help to ensure you fill in any gaps to get the most out of your diet.
For example, if you choose to consume beans, which are often low in methionine, have them with a grain, such as brown rice, that is high in methionine. These two together create a complete protein source. When in doubt, grab some high-quality pea protein, such as Naked Nutrition’s vegan vanilla protein shake powder, to complement your diet.