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Plant Based Protein for Exercise

Chicken salads and whey protein shakes have gained a reputation as the go-to foods to maintain muscle mass. However, eating too many of these acid-forming foods might leave you feeling sluggish and irritable. So what are the best forms of alkaline protein? And how much do you need?

‘For anyone leading an active lifestyle, then their requirements for all nutrients should be increased,’ says holistic personal trainer Adam Stansbury [1]. ‘For a woman eating a plant based diet, and exercising three times a week, I would recommend anywhere between 1-1.5g of protein per kg of bodyweight.’ This means that a women weighing 60kg, and exercising regularly, could consume up to 90g of protein a day.

If you are prefer yoga to bootcamp style classes, your prescription will be lower, ‘In that scenario, I would say allow 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight; so a 60kg woman needs 48g,’ says Stansbury.

Here are some of our favourite plant based proteins:


Hemp seeds:

Two tablespoons of hemps seeds provides 5g of protein, plus 2g of

fibre. These tasty little seeds are also rich in magnesium to help relax stiff muscles.


Chia Seeds

Loaded with high quality protein, plus anti-inflammatory omega 3s. These

are great to add to soups, smoothies or snack bars.


Cashew Butter:       

Two tablespoons provide the same protein as one large egg (6g).

Spread it on celery for a pre-work out pick-me-up; celery is rich in nitrates which

widen your blood vessels, sending oxygen to your muscles and increasing time to

exhaustion by 17%.



Powerfully alkaline and packs a punch; just 2tsp of this green algae provides 2.7g protein.


Try Natasha’s Strawberry Vegan Milkshake – containing 2 tablespoons of cashew butter – and the Raw Chia and Hemp Bar from Honestly Healthy Cleanse (pg 228)

laura bond

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Karoline @notjustseedsandsalads:

Hi Natasha,
I Love your blog and recipes, but these protein sources you are listing arent really helping in boosting the protein intake THAT much. I would put more emphasis on lentils, beans, and quinoa (1 cup of cooked lentils gives about 20 grams). I think a lot of ppl who start eating a plantbased diet focus only on the veggies, and forget about the protein. Nuts and seeds are very good for you, but also very high in fat, and for most athletes (especially endurance athletes) too much fat in your diet lowers performance. I would recommend including a plantbased protein powder for anyone feeling unsure about this and exercises a lot. Happy training : )

Aug 20, 2016


I agree. I train up to 5 times a week including a lot of spinning, endurance cycling and crossfit. Too many butters make me feel sickly!!! I’m always searching for protein rich foods. Where do legumes fit into the protein / alkaline mix? My husband is 65kg and crossfits everyday, he’s always worrying he’s not getting enough protein since we turned to a fully plant-based . I’d love to see more protein based ideas. Thank you. Love the blog ?????

Aug 13, 2016

Seanin :

I do a lot of exercise so may even need in excess of 90g protein daily – thats a lot of chia seeds/nut butter ….. Do you have any other suggestions for plant based protein which are feasible?

Apr 23, 2016

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