Heads up

It’s funny how, when people find out that I train in a martial art 4-6 times a week, and that I am vegan, they immediately ask me about how I keep my protein up. Most of the time, I doubt these people even really know what protein is, how much of it you need in one day, and where you can get it from (apart from meat).

I normally explain that yes, I take a protein shake, not because I am vegan but because I find it convenient. Much like all the omnivorous gym-goers who take protein shakes. Funny how logic seems to stop at veganism, eh?

Anyway let’s not turn this into a rant. Rather, let’s have a celebration. Because it has become our duty as strong, fit vegans not only to be strong, fit and healthy, but to enjoy our delicious protein-rich foods and supplements.

This is, of course, all a cover story for why I have just ordered *mumble*48*cough* Builders’ Bars from flash-sale website SportPursuit. Oh, ok. Forty-eight delicious chewy vegan chocolate protein barsAnd I’m barely not ashamed, because they are one of the best things I have ever tasted.

Chewy and crunchy, what more could you want?

Funnily enough, the website I borrowed this photo from (because Builder’s Bars never last long enough around me for me to take a photo of my own), has given them a shocking review. So you can’t accuse me of not telling the whole story here – I will just honestly stand up and say I like them and I don’t care if you think I’m weird (I’m already a small vegan female who spends most of her free time in a mixed martial arts gym, I’ve given up on fitting in).

Why do I love them so much?

  1. They taste amazing
  2. They look chunky and satisfying – far from the “rabbit food” non-vegans imagine we eat
  3. They survive surprisingly well shoved into a backpack for a few weeks
  4. 270kcal for a handy sweet treat is really not that bad compared to what you could be having; and they are so satisfying you could get away with cutting it in half (a practice I normally frown upon)
  5. They are the most portable way of getting 20g of protein and 23 vitamins and minerals into you that I know of
  6. They taste amazing

So even if you know that protein is not nearly as big a deal as people make it out to be, these are a great way to shave away some more of those misconceptions about vegan diets.

Plus, on a more serious note, the added protein, whether you need it or not (and I would never recommend you regularly use chocolate bars as a way to get protein that you don’t get through your standard diet), does make for a satisfying snack as it breaks down more slowly. So even if you are ingesting 270kcal now, you’ll be less tempted to go for one or more snacks in an hour. If it works for me, trust me, it’ll work for you.

I do also have to say that while I don’t believe we need to stress about protein, ever since I tweaked my diet to include more protein and slightly fewer fruits and vegetables (mainly playing with the timings, to be honest), I have become leaner and feel less bloated. But this sort of thing tends to be quite personal and individual, so play around with what works for you.

A note about the website: you do need to sign up to see the sales, which I was cautious of, but you don’t have to submit any personal details other than an email address when you sign up, and I have only been receiving one email every few days with no noticeable increase in junk mail, so I would say go for it.

And while we’re on product reviews, if you haven’t noticed I have added a new protein powder to my supplements section: MyProtein’s new Vegan Blend. This product makes me happy for several reasons:

  1. It shows that more effort has gone into making a vegan product than just shoving more soy in our faces
  2. We have a cheap, convenient blended option like non-vegans, rather than having to settle for single-source protein or mixing ourselves
  3. It is available in 2.5kg, even flavoured – so far their soy protein is the only flavoured product available, and even then only in 1kg format which bumps up the price
  4. It mixes super super well – I normally split my protein intake into 3-4 servings throughout the day (not counting post-workout where I take Ignite Ultra-V) which I normally mix in my work mug. It is quite nice not to battle with lumps while bemused colleagues look on.
  5. Combining the 3 most notoriously foul-tasting protein sources, the flavoured version actually tastes better than the flavoured soy

The only thing I will say against it is that it is really quite gritty. I don’t mind this in the slightest but do be warned if this sort of thing bothers you.

Right that’s my little bit done for today – how ironic that a post that started out ranting about how annoying it is that people always worry about vegan protein intake, ended up endorsing two protein supplements!

Whatever justification you use – whether it’s representing the vegan cause by being stronger, leaner and fitter than your non-vegan training partners, showing the world that vegans can eat chocolate bars too, or figuring that if you’re going to eat a chocolate bar it may as well be high-protein – don’t forget that it is always good to support vegan products out there, and the people who went out on a limb to produce food for a niche and often misunderstood market!