Best pea variety for protein for strength training?


May 12, 2019
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Washington DC
Vegan newbie
So my girlfriend convinced me to try going Vegan for a few months, and I am struggling to find foods that are good sources of protein. I am used to eating grilled chicken. And I regularly engage in strength training by weight lifting in the gym.

So it seems that rice and beans are a great combo. But I hate beans and so does my body. So I read online that peas are a good source of protein. Infact lots of vegan protein powders use pea protein. So I figure combining cooked peas and brown rice together would make for a good source for a complete protein, yes?

But there are so many pea types out there. Surely they all don't have good protein profiles.

I am confused as to which pea provides the best protein, and I'm not getting lots of specific information on pea varieties and their protein content online.

A) Which one would be best? Green peas? Garden peas? Sweet peas? Black eyed peas? Split peas?

B) Also, am I barking up the wrong tree by going for brown rice and peas as a good protein source? Are there better vegan protein sources? Keep in mind, I hate beans, and am wary of soy. I don't much like the taste of Quinoa either.


May 12, 2019
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Washington DC
Vegan newbie
Also, I will be eating said legumes with brown rice, if that information is important for complementary reasons.


Jun 8, 2018
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San Mateo, Ca
First off I think you might be under a few misconceptions. Don't feel bad - almost everyone is.

Lets back up quite a bit and talk about protein in general. I go to the gym and strength train too. Most of the guys at the gym have some very inflated ideas of what is the proper amount of protein they need in a day. (1) A lot of the guys at the gym talk about a factor or coefficient or multiple for calculating how much protein you need. Usually expressed as X times the number of pounds you weigh (or want to weigh) which then equals the number of grams of protein you need each day.

At my gym X is usually a number greater than 1.0. But that is easily twice the amount you actually need. All the medical scientific research puts the number somewhere between 0.44 and 0.48.

Why is that misconception so prevalent you might ask. The supplement industry is a billion dollar industry. They spend millions to get people to think they need more protein and must spend bucks on supplements. Meat, Dairy, and Egg companies are in on it too.

The gyms too are part of it. They make money selling the supplements.

I'll throw some references in at the bottom that will validate my point. but for now, I'm going to move on to another idea.

Although the coefficient is a pretty good rule of thumb a better one is based on the percent of the calories you eat. This takes a bit more math but does provide a much better picture of what a person's diet should be. I've seen articles call for as much as 60% of your calories should come from protein. This again is about twice what is healthy. Probably no more than 30% is necessary or healthy. If i remember right an athlete should try for 30% protein, 30% fat and 40% carbs. Regular people should aim for 20/20/60.

Another number thing is how many grams of protein are absorbable at any one time. Our bodies do not store protein very well. Any protein we consume that is not needed ends up getting broken down and flushed out in our urine. This is not good for anyone. One of the byproducts of protein decomposition is nitrogen which is poison and must be removed from our bodies. Many studies have shown that we can absorb between 20 and 30 grams of protein per meal. And this actually fits in with the other calculations that most of us need between 60 and 90 g of protein a day.

Next myth is the myth of the complete protein. This myth got started by accident like 60 years ago and it is amazing how persistent it is. Proteins are made of amino acids and it is true that different foods have different amounts or percentages of different amino acids. but it is not true that in order to get all your amino acids you have to carefully combine your protein sources. This is an extreme example but if you got all your caloric requirements from iceberg lettuce you would meet all your amino requirements. and then some. Ok, you would have to eat something like 20 heads of lettuce. but I'm just using this example to make a point. (2)

If you meet your calorie requirements you will meet your protein requirements. The best way to meet all your nutritional requirements is to eat a large amount and a large variety of foods. No one food is better than another. Eating lots of different food is best.

Sorry, that took so long. but with that said.
A. No one vegetable is best. They are all good. Maybe a good strategy is to eat lots of different kinds.
B. All vegetables are a good source of protein. Earlier I mentioned that you should be trying to get 20 -30% of your calories from protein. Most vegetables are 20 - 30% protein.

That said, beans are really really important. First off they are around 30% protein. Plus they are really good sources of iron. And soybeans are the best. over 40% protein. There is a reason that Tofu is vegan's mascot. And there is no reason to be wary of soy. Everything you heard bad about soy is either a misrepresentation or just false.

Soy milk is great for adding protein to your diet. but if you would rather, pea milk is almost as good.
Oh, and lentils are also a good alternative.

I know I promised you some references. but I gotta get going... but hers is a great article and it has 20 references.

1. Please please forgive me if i was just guilty of some stereotyping and generalizations.
2. I even checked in Cronometer.


Mar 21, 2018
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But there are so many pea types out there. Surely they all don't have good protein profiles.
I doubt there's enough difference in the amino acid profiles of pea varieties that it's worth worrying about. Which do you like cooking and eating the most?

This paper breaks down the profiles of a few varieties. I have no idea what Terno, Svit etc means in terms of shopping choices...but they all look pretty similar to me.

Environmental factors are probably just as if not more important. You could take the exact same variety and get different protein content and profile make up by starting with different genetics and farming them with different techniques, sowing and harvesting at different times, and processing them in various ways. Not to mention different people's bodies will absorb and utilize amino acids differently.

You can make nutrition as complicated or as simple as you want, but digging this deep into the weeds is probably way past the point of diminishing returns.


Dec 2, 2017
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Hi there.

The #1 question asked by non-vegan/vegan curious is in regards to protein. Most vegans will tell you that if you eat a variety of whole foods and get enough calories you will meet your needs - and this IS true, but it's not the reason most people are consciously or unconsciously asking.

They ask because they have a gut microbiome that relies on animal flesh and fat. If you're unfamiliar with that term - it is basically the bacteria that reside in your gut, what they feed on, and what they will demand if deprived.

That is the real main reason behind the question of "Where do you get your protein" - irrespective if they weight train or not. Hunger and fear of not being satisfied.

You say you hate (and also your body hates) beans. From a taste perspective, there is nothing to hate - beans are pretty much nearly tasteless, and they take on whatever flavor you add. That's why we have things like sweet vanilla soy milk but also soy used in savory dishes. And not just soy - most other beans as well.

Your body "hates" it (so you think) because higher fiber foods like beans contain a lot of fiber. If you're coming from a lower fiber starting point - this usually causes bloating, and gas, and lots of trips to the bathroom. These conditions, however, are temporary. When I first went vegan I went to the bathroom a lot! Multiple times in a day. After a while, though, some changes occur - you develop a new gut microbiome (new bacteria) that feed on plant material (mainly fiber and resistant starch from things like potatoes), and they replace the meat/animal fat munching bacteria that resided there before. Bloating and excessive gas disappears, and so do the bathroom trips. You'll poo more than before, but nothing like in your first few weeks!

There's a catch to this though - if you keep eating animal products (even reduced amounts), you keep alive the flesh munching bacteria and a can of beans can cause bloating. Even after some time. Why? Because the different strains of bacteria (the flesh eating kind and the fiber/resistant starch eating kind) are rivals. Feed them flesh and low fiber, and the good kind start to starve, while the bad guys proliferate. Vice versa when you eat high fiber and resistant starch - the bad guys start to starve and the good guys start to take over.

My experience was that I went 100% vegan nearly from the start, with a month transition time(where I ate animal products 3 times). I experienced the bloating, the hunger (especially when eating lower fiber like white noodles instead of whole grain over longer periods, and lower fiber bread), and the up to 6 or more bathroom trips a day. Then all that lessened and I learned that to be more satiated I had to include higher fiber and resistant starch in my diet.

However, I know someone that only does what she says is an 80% vegan diet, and has been doing so for years. She told me beans give her bloating - something I only experienced in the beginning. Well, there's a reason for that - she still eats animal products and keeps alive the bad guys, and when she does eat more fiber rich, the good guys proliferate initially and cause bloating. She's never gone 100% and because of that she will continue to see-saw between the two types and suffer the consequences of that.

From an amino acid standpoint, you'll be fine eating a variety of whole foods, including beans. In the gym, your main concern is calories. When you go vegan you do need to eat more, a few potatoes that used to be a side in a steak and potatoes meal isn't enough. Fill your plate with them, and with higher calorie foods like breads and pastas that are whole grains (and beans too!) - and if you need even more calories - fatty nuts, seeds, and nut butters.

Edit: Oops! Almost forgot - unless you are getting beans from a can (where they are already cooked) - you need to soak them overnight before cooking. You can do this in batches and freeze for quick cook later. Things like brown rice also benefit from this, and from faster cooking time. I sometimes use a process call nixtamalization but that's not for newbies and soaking batches of beans/brown rice is very easy.
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