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Need help getting enough protein


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I had sort of a vegan nutritional meltdown last week and had to revamp my daily intake, but I'm still now where I need to be in terms of my protein intake. I don't typically calory count because I don't have an issue with weight, but to show a friend my daily diet, I decided to itemize my typical daily intake and calculate the calories in a spreadsheet. It was roughly 2500 a day, and I am still losing about 1-2 pounds a month. I am 42 years old, 5' 11" and now weigh 172 lbs.

 

However, for the last few months I have been a bit frustrated with not being able to build more mass in my chest, and I just keep getting leaner and leaner, and I'm sure my body fat is below 9% by now (it was below 9% 3 months ago). And I have been pushing it pretty hard in the gym when I work my chest. I am not complaining mind you...I feel and look great, and I have absolutely no intention in "bulking" up. I prefer the more lean and natural look....so I am really talking about just a few more inches of added muscle mass. My last measurement was 2 months ago and my chest was 40 inches...can't seem to get past that. I would like to be about 42 or 43. Side note: I'm not just working my chest, but I work my entire body throughout the week, chest 1-2 times a week.

 

Anyway, I decided calculate the grams of protein within my daily intake spreadsheet...and holy crap! I was intaking only 100g of protein! Good grief! No wonder. I am not even sure how I have been functioning, except that my body must be operating very efficiently.

 

So I started to re-tool my diet a few days ago. I have been searching for food that has a high protein to calorie ratio, which I am finding to be somewhat challenging. I can eat a lot of tofu, tempe, soy milk, nuts, etc thoughout the day, but the calories just keep piling up and the protein does not increase proportionately. The only way I can fix this without eating like a horse all day long or intaking 4000 calories day, is to take supplements. That is just my perception of course....I must be missing something. I researched Vegan protein supplements, and both soy and hemp still come up with high protein to calorie ratios, with some others thrown in there as well. So I increased my soy powder intake by 2X, and then added a hemp/pea/rice based protein power as well...basicallly I am drinking three protein powerder/soy milk shakes a day! But the increase put me up to 156g of protein. Still not where I need to be, but better.

 

Any other suggestions? How can I remedy this?

 

Here is a spreadsheet so you can see my calculations. This is just my typical daily diet. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

http://www.box.net/shared/dtx6ynjnps

 

Kris

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16% protein is well enough to maintain and build mass.

 

2500 calories for a man weighing 172 pounds and pushing it in the gym is not enough calories. You probably burn close to 2500 calories without doing anything. I would up your calorie intake.

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16% protein is well enough to maintain and build mass.

 

2500 calories for a man weighing 172 pounds and pushing it in the gym is not enough calories. You probably burn close to 2500 calories without doing anything. I would up your calorie intake.

 

I agree with Ducati. The most protein I have seen actually provide some benefit in the studies I have read is 1.8g/kg of body weight. 170lbs = 77kg so 1.8 x 77 = 138.6. Most studies say 1.1-1.5g/kg of body weight is plenty to build muscle as long as you are taking in enough calories (which for your weight would be 85-115g protein). If I were you I would try adding 500 calories/day and see what happens.

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If you get the impression that eating more proteins than you already do seems like a very hard or impossible task... then why would it be normal or necessary to eat more proteins than what is possible ? Its not necessary. What you need to build the muscle you want is probably the few missing calories, this way you will gain weight instead of losing weight. It is impossible that by drinking 3 protein shakes a day plus some tofu, seitan, grains, etc you're not getting enough proteins. There are some bodybuilders that eat twice less proteins, no protein shakes, no protein food like tempeh; just raw vegan food, or just whole food like beans, rice, etc...

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I'm not going to argue whether or not I think it's enough protein or calories because we all know what opinions are like, especially around here, and that's not what you asked.

 

If you're looking to increase your protein intake without upping your calories, first try adding cutting back on the grains and adding legumes like lentils or chickpeas. (TVP was also an excellent suggestion above, though you're already taking in quite a bit of soy. I don't believe the soy hysteria but I do like variety.)

 

Also some of those numbers look suspicious to me, at least according to the usda database half an avocado is 194 calories and 2.5g protein, not 139/0.7. But nutritional content does vary wildly especially with regard to fruit size.

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I read some studies which say that human body is not capable to take in more than 30 g of protein during one meal. Everything more is excess and a toxin to your body. It makes your body acidic and it takes away calcium from your bones, which may lead to osteoporosis one day. Try eating like 5 meals a day, each with 30 g of protein. Thats 150 g of protein, which is more than enough. I assume you need more calories, not protein. I eat 4000 calories a day, and I still gain no body fat. And for the protein I think I get no more than 100 g a day, but I see progress in muscles. Im also blending all the chickpeas, beans and lentils, for quicker and better absorption, and to be able to eat more in less time:)

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I weight lea little more than you (180) and I need 2000 kcal a day to stay in bed all day, 3000 for a normal day and 3500 for a normal day with training.

 

Besides, the "China Study" tends to suggest than you can eat more calories when you are vegan. This haven't been proved but it still good to know. My guess is we have an higher metabolism and maybe because of the enzyme inhibitors in plants. Don't really know.

 

Anyway, you probably have a scale, so you can track your weight and see by yourself

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I looked at your calorie sheet and noticed your not eating any beans/lentils. One of my staples is red lentils, I highly recommend them. They're split, so they cook fast and are easier to digest than your traditional beans. 1 serving is 180 calories, 0g fat, 31g carb, 13g protein. Also, if you want more meat on your chest your going to have to eat over your maintenance calories. Bulking up doesn't necessarily mean putting on a bunch of fat. You can easily bulk up slowly without drastically increasing calories and using cardio to combat some of the bodyfat increase. It's well worth it.

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What kind of carbs do you eat? Enough fruit? Enough rice?

A protein supplement sometimes helps too If possible try a mixture (protein shake) - like soy, rice and peas or soy/rice or something as opposed to pure soy. Soy protein shakes do indeed have a high glutamine content but the mixtures seem to offer a wider variety of aminos. Dunno about hemp, never tried it.

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