When you think of protein powder, there are likely a few standard ingredients that come to mind. Whey and casein are probably among the first. The vegetarians and vegans out there might immediately think of soy or rice or hemp.
What about peas?
Although the humble split pea isn’t usually thought of as a solid source of protein, supplements based on the vegetable are becoming more and more popular. But why? What are the benefits of pea protein and how does it differ from other sources?
allergens and toxins
One of key advantages that pea protein has over it’s competitors is that it’s completely hypoallergenic – something that the ever-popular soy and dairy-based products cannot claim. Other popular protein like nuts could also be potentially allergenic.
But pea protein is admirably safe for another reason: It contains little-to-no toxic heavy metals. Rice, which has been used as a common source of plant-based protein for years, was recently found to contain toxic levels of heavy metals including lead, mercury, cadmium and tungsten.
Pea protein powder does not come bundled with this danger.
Generally, when people talk about protein powders they’re really only concerned with one thing: protein. Which makes sense, of course. But this type of thinking also limits you. Very often, the sources of that protein contain all sorts of other highly beneficial substances that are worth taking.
Split peas, for example, are high in fiber – a nutrient that Americans tend to neglect that can improve digestion and heart health.
But peas also contain some other lesser-known substances that you should likely be getting plenty of.
In fact, all plants produce these specialized nutrients, called phytochemicals, that perform a wide variety of tasks – both in the plant and in the human body after we ingest them. In the case of peas, the key substances include lutein, indoles, sulforaphane, carotenoids, and isoflavones.
Once inside the human body, these phytochemicals act as potent antioxidants, warding of certain forms of cancer and specifically finding tissue damage around your eyes to preserve your vision.
Peas are also remarkably high in a special group of amino acids called Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs). Because of their unique structure, these amino acids play a powerful role in building and preserving muscle mass – especially during times of fasting or low calorie intake.
As is often the case, however, not all pea protein powders are created equal. Just like any other plant, peas can be exposed to GMOs as well as chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides – all of which could carry over into your protein powder.
Gnarly Vegan has taken all of this into consideration for you. The peas used in this meal replacement are GMO-free and organically grown, paired with protein from chia and cranberry seeds to fill in nutritional gaps.