Veganuary - Where are you getting your protein from?


2018 is here! And what better time to start attacking those fitness and nutrition goals that you have been putting off?! Joking aside, I love this time of year. It somehow serves as huge motivation for drastic positive change in health behaviours for a lot of people, which is excellent. For the majority, it is the first time going to the gym or even considering exercise! For others, it is a return after a hiatus. Either way, you want to support your efforts to maximise results, and although all nutrition is crucial, there is one macronutrient that is of particular importance.

I am of course, talking about protein. Requirements for the average sedentary human sits at around 50g per day. However, the physiological stress that exercise induces causes an increase in demand. Those individuals wanting to build muscle following a resistance training program require between 1.2g -2g per kilogram of bodyweight (1), while people who are looking to lose weight in the form of fat while preserving muscle need even more, around 2g-3g per kg of bodyweight depending on how rigorous their training is (2).

In an ideal world, we would get all this protein from healthy food sources. Unfortunately, the chaotic nature of modern life and busy schedules makes this a seemingly impossible task. This is where supplementation can be a saviour. A great quality protein supplement should be a staple in any gym goers cupboard. Having one available to help you achieve your daily requirement takes a lot of the stress out of constantly preparing meals and making time to eat them.

A question I am frequently asked by clients is what is the difference between whey and vegan proteins? The answer is as follows: Vegan proteins come from vegetable sources, they therefore contain more fibre, and some can even provide some vital micronutrients like Iron depending on the sources used. The fibre content makes these proteins slower to digest and can help you to feel fuller for longer. This can be a great advantage for someone who is trying to cut calories for weight loss. Being free of any animal products makes them a good choice for someone who has lactose intolerance or a dairy allergy. However, plant protein sources can be difficult for the human body to digest, so choose a product that uses sprouted or fermented sources to improve absorption.

Conversely, whey protein is isolated from cows milk, making some products unsuitable for those who are allergic to dairy or who are lactose intolerant. It is almost pure protein with little to no carbohydrate or fibre. This makes it super quick and easy to digest and absorb. Additionally, it is also naturally high in Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) which are key for muscle growth. These features make whey an excellent choice for someone who needs a quick post workout hit of protein, or someone who wants extra calories from protein but has to eat more during the day to gain muscle. NOTE: it is crucial to choose a whey that has been cold processed, as heat damages the protein molecules, rendering them less effective.

With so many products available it can be difficult to choose. Here are a few excellent options from both categories:

  • Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins: 20g of fermented dietary protein per serving. This is the first fully fermented protein! Fermented protein contributes to a healthy gut, overall good health & is easy to digest. Additionally, it is non-allergenic, soy free and contains a balance of all essential amino acids. 

  • Garden of Life RAW meal: a vegan meal replacement shake that uses a wide variety of sprouted protein sources combined with 45 raw organic superfoods, probiotics and enzymes to aid digestion. It provides over 40g of protein and 10g of fibre.

  • Vega All-In-One Nutritional shake: Canada’s original vegan protein. Providing 20g of protein per scoop as well as organic superfoods, vitamins and minerals. It is sweetened with stevia and contains only 1g of sugar!

  • PVL Essentials Iso Sport Whey: A great tasting whey isolate that is cold processed, lactose reduced and has lactase added, making it suitable for those suffering from lactose intolerance.
  • Kaizen Performance series whey Isolate: an ultra pure whey isolate, sourced from grass fed New Zealand Cattle that have been raised with zero antibiotics or hormones.

So there you have it, use this information to choose your protein wisely and support your goals. Whether it is weight loss, muscle gain, or just a generally healthier eating pattern increasing your protein intake can have profound effects. Give it a go, the results will surprise you. All protein powders are available at Vitasave in North Vancouver, or on line at

Here’s to a happy, healthy new year!
Fiohann Shanahan-Dover





  1. Stark, M., et al. 2012. Protein timing and its effects on muscular hypertrophy and strength in individuals engaged in weight-training. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Vol 9: 54. Available from:

  2. Helms, E., et al. 2014. Evidence-Based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: Nutrition and supplementation. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Volume 11: 20. Available from: