To Pea or not to Pea, a good question

To Pea or not to Pea – it really is a good question that needs to be answered! I have to admit, when I first heard the buzz about pea protein my initial reaction was, “Really?” I have a degree in Food Science and Marketing and let’s face it peas have never made it in my top 5. I love food and come from a family who needed no excuse to order a steak on high days and holidays. Added to this I live with a personal trainer, have a list of sports mad friends who when they think of protein and muscle builders, think meat/ chicken and for my husband’s sporty clients they supplement a meal of chicken breasts with a scoop of “lean muscle” whey protein powder from those scary black tubs !

So, back to the little Pea…Peas are probably low on your list of Super foods that come to mind. Aren’t they best from Bird’s Eye served with a cottage pie in my daughter’s case or made into Pease pudding and served with a wedge of Stottie bread if you are married to a fella from the NE of England?

Not so, protein powders made from peas are popping up everywhere.

Why? Pea protein is rich in branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), protein compounds that have been shown to delay fatigue during exercise. That’s exciting, because the amount of BCAAs in pea protein comes close to those found in milk and eggs, but is less likely to cause allergic reactions or intolerances. Pea protein is especially good if you or a friend has a gluten or dairy allergy.

Pea protein also contains arginine, an amino acid shown to enhance immunity, fight erectile dysfunction and improve fertility. The lysine content in peas helps the body absorb calcium and decreases the amount of calcium lost in urine, thus helping to maintain strong bones. Ultimately peas are a plant, so it’s a protein source that’s lower on the food chain (thus more “green”), and in line with the food trends of today it ticks our increasing demand to fuel our bodies with a diet of less red meat and more focus towards plants- fish.

I live in a family where we try to eat more protein than carbs. Meal times have become more challenging in our family as we strive towards our individual goals. Lowering cholesterol, consuming healthy sources of lean protein, a diet of less sugar and fat.

Increasingly I cook less meat and yet feeding a teenager who wants to play England Rugby and an aging triathlete hubby I have noticed a new demand from the boys at meal times. “Healthy – protein rich food that will aid recovery after exercise as well as build lean muscle.” Ha, I’m not saying we don’t eat chocolate brownies and crème eggs…life would be just too dull!

Our solution has come from Arbonne Protein which is derived from pea, cranberry and brown rice. As a Mum I rejoiced in the green ethos of Arbonne, and ready mixed protein shakes and antioxidant and immunity support drinks. I did my homework and compared the list of ingredients against the black tub of whey protein, I had hidden under the stairs.

The protein is good, its gluten free, contains no saturated fats, trans fats and therefore NO cholesterol, no antibiotics or estrogens, no artificial colours or flavours and has a much higher vitamin and mineral content per 100g compared against the black tub, “still under the stairs”. However would it taste ok? Thankfully it comes in a yummy chocolate or vanilla flavour, a hit with all the family though.. Not suitable for children under 12.

So, should you try it? In my opinion, the answer depends on your protein needs. If you’re missing out, or are looking for a recovery drink and are looking to move away from a diet high in meat, saturated fats and cholesterol and looking for more vegan high-protein options, Yes. Or you typically eat a protein bar and want to swap it for a shake, so you can control the ingredients and amounts, yes.

For a delicious, balanced combo whip it up with:

almond milk

almond butter

frozen pitted cherries

rolled oats

ground cinnamon or cloves

and if you need a little kick add a pinch of green tea leaves or ground coffee beans.

Pure, safe, beneficial 100% cruelty free and certified Vegan.

J Jones

Hire Fitness, North West


Paul Healey