I’ve got a bag Iron Vegan Athlete Blend powder in the cupboard. It tasted like hippie-dirt-feet to me at first but I’ve come to like it. Eventually the taste buds start responding to things that are good for you because that’s what they’re there to signal, ultimately.
I got it for the Branched Chain Amino Acids and the Glutamine and I do feel like I’m recovering from work outs faster and better but I suspect I can reap all these benefits from a whole foods source with little effort. Enter my beloved daily can of sardines.
As you can deduce by that I’m not vegan but I have a lot of respect for vegans and vegetarians for their ethics and for, frankly, how much research they’re always doing.
So starting with the amino acids sardines win everything except valine. Although it only loses by 2 miligrams. Valine and it’s buddies leucine and isoleucine are the Branched Chain Amino Acids of lore in the bodybuilding world and a scoop of protein or a can of fish will give a decent amount.
The sardines however don’t contain any listed glutamine, of which Iron Vegan has 8 grams.
Glutamine is important because it – along with cysteine and glycine – is a precursor for glutathione and glutathione is so hot right now (as we pretend kids say) that people pay to get it injected by glorified beauticians. It’s supposedly the miracle of miracles fighting cancer and even just age but we athletes (and anyone who puts their body through a ton of acute stress like drunks and the simply hard working) need glutathione because it’s a powerhouse antioxidant and we have a ton of free radicals (the waste by-product of useful processes) running around our bodies fucking shit up.
Fish, along with meat in general, is listed as having glutamine but it’s hard to find any numbers. Let’s give a point to the Athlete’s Blend.
Now as a bonus sardines contain vitamin D, and selenium, both important mood boosters but selenium also helps the body produce and recycle the beloved glutathione. Point for sardines. Oh yeah, plus omega 3s for deducing inflammation. Gotta love those little fish.
Doing the math, which I’d never thought to do til now, Iron Vegan costs about $3.50 a scoop whereas canned fish cost between a buck eighty and two fifty around here. So the extra dollar or so for Athlete’s Blend nets me 10 grams more protein and 8 grams of glutamine. And don’t forget those 0.002 grams of valine.
So if you’re vegan you know what to do and if you’re not and the upfront cost of 70 bucks doesn’t fit your budget then sardines all the way but my motto is usually do both. You won’t risk overdoing it on any active ingredients by having both, neither is delicious and neither is overly filling so go to town.