“You’re Bengali, but vegetarian!? Why? And where do you get your protein from?” I have run out of fingers to count the number of times I’ve been asked those questions. I’ve also had many athletes look in askance at me, wondering if I’ll be able to finish yet another marathon. Then there are those over-chivalrous men trying to help me lift my luggage when I’m out on one of my solo trips – “Let me get that for you!” Why do people not trust women to be strong enough? (Especially when you are not big-boned and don’t eat meat.) Whatever your preconceived notions, you are clearly not asking me the correct question, which is “What are you doing right?” Nevertheless, I’ll be outspoken and still answer that for you – I’m getting my required fix of hydrolysed protein.
How I Prep For Treks
Years of travelling on my own and embracing an active lifestyle have made me fall in love with trekking. And although easy hikes don’t require much preparation except a generally fit body, several long-duration treks call for meticulous planning because you need a lot of strength not only to walk but also to carry your rucksack and ensure you don’t fall ill. While I practise uphill climbing by taking the 26 flights of stairs to my flat each day and get my cardio fix with 40-minute jogs, I know I also need to build up my muscle strength through weight training and a sound diet. It is not easy to get the recommended daily dose of protein (1g for every kg of body-weight) with a vegetarian diet without also increasing the total intake of carbs and fats (I would be overeating if I ate food only with an eye on the protein-count). So I trust the pioneer of hydrolysed protein suppliers in India – Protinex.
While I don’t usually take supplements because I have a natural tendency to eat healthy, my active lifestyle requires that I consume more protein than the average girl with a sedentary desk-job. Hours of hiking, gymming and running can burn a lot of your good calories. And I would never want to be emaciated even if pop-culture glamourizes that sort of body-image. Post workouts, I need a quick recovery drink to restore the protein level of my body. Did you know that a very active person also needs to ensure her body is quick at healing? Lifting weights at the gym can sometimes wear out your muscles, and you need a form of protein that your body can quickly absorb. Your regular food has intact proteins which take time to act as your body first needs to break up those molecules before they can be absorbed. The protein powders and biscuits that Protinex provides have hydrolysed proteins which are sort of pre-digested so they can act faster when you eat/drink them with milk.
Why Even Have Milk With Hydrolysed Protein?
I was talking to a couple of nutritionists recently at a bloggers’ event where Protinex launched a protein calculator to help people gauge if they’re getting enough on a daily basis, and I asked them why I couldn’t just gulp down spoonfuls of their protein powder with water. They told me that it takes a few other nutrients for protein to properly be digested and absorbed by the body, and that is why they always recommend having it with milk. Also, just protein tastes bitter and some milk makes it appetising by adding some flavour to it. My palate has matured with all the food tastings I do in different parts of the world, but it still helps that Protinex comes in different flavours. (I use chocolate! 🙂 )
When You Need More Than Everyone Else…
Last weekend, I spent a few days living in the remote village of Purushwadi, interacting with the villagers as I observed them go about their daily lives full of labour. It is admirable how much a woman works in rural India. The lady in the picture above is carrying logs of wood that collectively weigh over 50kg, perhaps more than even what she weighs! Every such person needs a lot more protein than you and me (yes, even with our gym-hike-run-repeat routines). And frankly, if you want washboard abs and toned arms, go help a farmer in the field!
Rigour Is Rewarding
Ever wondered how I grab eye-popping aerial shots of gorgeous places? No, I don’t own a drone camera. I hike all the way up for beautiful views. The calf-pain is worth it when you can see entire villages and cities from up above. Now, not every photographer can take pictures from the top if he doesn’t first labour to get there. And how will you labour if you haven’t eaten well?
On A Running Spree!
Any new thing is intimidating until you start somewhere. I still remember those days when I struggled to run continuously for even 5 minutes. But years of steady practice has taken me from sub-half-marathon distances to half-marathons to full-marathons (42.2km). I almost cried to the finish line when I did the Delhi full marathon last year, but when I ran the same distance in New York a few months ago, I was smiling ear to ear. And there was barely any sign of pain when I woke up next morning (thanks to the post-run recovery protein drinks).
Do you get enough protein every day?
Let me know through your comments below!
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