Any of us who've put an ounce of thought into the process of growing and maintaining our muscles have also downed more than our fair share of poultry, beef, eggs and tuna and for many, the routine has gotten a tad bit tiresome by now. Sure, the majority of you eat to live (or better put, "eat to get jacked"), but variety is the spice of life, and who doesn't enjoy a little extra flavoring now and then?
Fortunately there are a number of protein sources available to us today, and many of them are of as high a quality in terms of their muscle-building properties as the old standbys. Consider spicing up your diet with these protein alternatives from time to time...
During the 1960’s and 70’s soy protein was a popular, inexpensive supplement popular with budget-minded bodybuilders looking to expand their range of protein sources. By the 1980’s, however, it fell out of favor with those who feared its estrogen-like compounds, called isoflavones. Concerned that soy might force them into women’s competitions, male bodybuilders shunned this vegetable protein.
A study presented at the 2005 Experimental Biology conference in San Diego, California, revealed that not only did test subjects on soy protein grow as much muscle as their whey-consuming brethren, they showed no decrease in serum testosterone levels. Boys will be boys, even on soy.
Fortunately for you, soy is as plentiful as more traditional bodybuilding staples tuna and chicken, particularly at natural food grocers like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Next time you’re in L.A. you can satisfy your Jones for soy at Real Food Daily, which serves a tasty tofu wrap, along with a host of other grain protein dishes.
Although this impressive ungulate was hunted to the brink of extinction 115 years ago it’s since made an impressive comeback, both on the American Great Plains and Americans’ plates. Packing a protein to fat ratio similar to tuna and skinless chicken breast, buffalo is tastes a bit like beef, but it is a little drier, due to its lower fat content.
Bison meat, unlike some of the other protein sources to follow, is fairly easy to get, be it in the Trader Joe’s frozen foods section, Whole Foods or at your local butcher’s shop. Or, the next time you’re in Manhattan, New York, you could stop by one of the six Heartland Brewery locations for a hearty, free-range, grass-fed bison burger to go with a microbrewed pale ale.