Tuesday, January 19, 2010

BCAA's- Do You Need Them & How You Can Get Some!

So, I was reading through my latest Oxygen magazine and came across an article about BCAA's (Branched-Chain Amino Acids). Before I became 100% Raw/ Vegan I actually took BCAA's in pill form to help aid in muscle building. I wasn't sure how well I would build muscle when I became Raw because I was used to eating a substantial amount of animal protein to sustain my muscle mass. Okay, I'm getting ahead of myself, here is what BCAA's are for:

1. Improve Muscle Gains
2. Boost Endurance
3. Improve Your Strength
4. Protect Against Muscle Breakdown
5. Burn More Fat
6. Reduce Cravings

All good things, right? Right! Here are the 8 Essential Amino Acids. Essential, as in you NEED them!:

Isoleucine- Aids in muscle recovery
Leucine- Aids in muscle recovery, regulates hormones and blood sugar
Lysine- Necessary for bone growth and hormone production, essential for skin
Methionine- Aids in the breakdown of fats, aids in the production of creatine
Phenylalanine- Aids in depression management, gives a feeling of fullness
Threonine- Helps stabilize blood sugar
Tryptophan- Aids the production of serotonin the feel-good chemical
Valine- Muscle repair, keeps nitrogen on balance

I'm guessing your wondering what I'm getting at. Well, Hemp Protein Powder has all 8 essential amino acids!!! Cool isn't it? Now you can have your cake and eat it too. Okay, you can have your hemp protein powder and eat it too : ) Oh, you saw right, it's green! Don't be afraid of the green, it's only trying to help you. If you have an aversion to the green color try adding the Raw hempseeds into your diet. Did you see my Raw Tabouleh post, uh yum!?! Yep, there's hempseeds in there! I also use it to make hemp milk in place of cow's milk or other non-dairy milk. I just put 1 cup of hempseeds in a blender with 4 cups of water and blend it until it's smooth. I think it tastes better if you strain it. I use a nut milk bag but you could use cheesecloth and a strainer.

Just so you know, I have no issues with anyone eating animal protein I just can't. I swear the stuff takes ten years to digest, ugh! I am so glad that I found a wonderful substitute to animal protein. I actually feel just as strong if not stronger using hemp protein and plant based foods as my only source of muscle building nutrition rather than meat or dairy. For those of you that rely primarily on animal protein for your BCAA's, why don't you try out some hemp in your green smoothie, or smoothie of choice and let me know if you can tell a difference and if it's a good one! So many ways to use hemp and so little time.

Buy it HERE or HERE.

Have any of you ever tried hemp protein powder? What are your thoughts? Do you think you'll give it a try?



RawSierra said...

I love hemp protein powder and hemp seeds! Kristen from Kristensraw.com turned me on to hemp when I went raw. Do you eat hemp daily? I put hemp seeds on salads and in smoothies and I also love hemp seed butter.

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said...

you know, I have never bought hemp protein. The living harvest hempmilk is fine but for the price, i am cheap and buy TJs almond milk. And the seeds. Never bought them, only flax, chia, etc. The reason i hesitate is some of the samples i have tried of hemp protein have been blech!! so again, being cheap, i dont wanna waste money. I cannot stand the dirty taste of the samples. Tell me you have found a non dirty tasting alternative! :)

mk said...

I do use it, but less than I wish I did. I mostly add it to smoothies, and it gives a funky taste that I don't quite love. I'm very open for suggestions to make it more palatable!

Kristen's Raw said...

Hemp RULES! :)

TheFitnessFreak said...

I wish I could say there was a way to make it less green and earthy tasting but you can't. I make a smoothie with young Thai coconut water and a little of the flesh, hemp milk, spirulina powder, hemp protein powder, spinach and fresh apple juice. I love the taste! I guess I must because I have it everyday : )

You could try just adding the seeds to your smoothie instead of the powder. The seeds are white in color without the hull so it would be less gritty. The downside is that you lose some of the nutrients and fiber : (

Hope that helps!


Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

I have tried Manitoba Harvest hemp and I like that.. I did not care for hemp milk at all

Anonymous said...

Love the new look of your blog!

Three cheers for hemp protein, good information- is there anything else that provides all 8?

TheFitnessFreak said...

Thanks Health Nut! I'm glad you like it : )

Yep, meat, poultry, eggs, fish, milk, and cheese provide all of the essential amino acids as well.

shannonmarie said...

Good information. I have hemp protein powder almost everyday. I hear it is good for raw vegan pregnant women and breastfeeding moms.

TheFitnessFreak said...

It definitely is Shannonmarie! Lysine and Leucine are really important for the ever changing hormones during pregnancy and nursing. Phenylalanine is great for fighting postpartum depression.


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