MORE BALANCED: The story of protein combining

MORE BALANCED: The story of protein combining

By Genuine Health


Protein fuels nearly every process in the body, and second to water, protein is essential for life! Our bodies need protein for structural purposes, like maintaining our skin, bones, hair and fingernails. We also need protein for non-structural purposes like digestion, immunity, acid and alkaline balance, and hormone and neurotransmitter synthesis.

Protein is IMPORTANT, and our goal is to give you MORE from your protein supplement.

To talk about protein, we must begin by talking about amino acids. All foods contain amino acids, which are known as the “building blocks” of protein. Of all the amino acids, there are a small number that are called “essential” because they cannot be made by the body and must be obtained from the diet:

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine


Plant-based proteins: only as good as the weakest player

The tricky thing is that plant-based protein foods contain differing amounts of essential amino acids. Let’s take this diagram as an example.

See how the egg has similar levels of all amino acids? Now look at lentils, which are lower in tryptophan and methionine, and how rice is low in lysine. These are known as the “limiting amino acids” because the protein quality of either rice or legumes is only as good as the lowest amino acid.

Most vegetarian proteins as stand-alone products have shortcomings – some manufacturers use single-source vegan proteins, like rice or pea for example, which are just incomplete proteins.

Not having a balanced protein supplement can set you up for trouble, especially if you are following a vegan diet. For example, vegans have been found to have close to 50% less lysine than meat-eaters, and 20% less tryptophan. These essential amino acids contribute to overall health and have been shown to improve mood, lower stress and diminish tension (1).

The sum is greater than the parts

As Ellen Buchman Ewald and Frances Moore Lappé taught in Diet for a Small Planet and Recipes for a Small Planet, their books that brought protein combining to the masses in the 70s, “…with a little knowledge about the amino acids in vegetables, we can combine them in proportions that make the total usable protein greater than the sum of the protein in the individual foods.”

The sum is greater than the parts. Just look at some diets of other societies for inspiration:

  • Corn tortillas with beans or rice with beans in Latin America
  • Bulgur wheat with chickpeas or falafel with pita and hummus in the Middle East
  • Rice or flatbread with dahl lentils and yogurt in India
  • Soy foods with rice in Asia

This is why we combine proteins in fermented vegan proteins+. Our unique combination of 7 non-GMO, low-allergen, protein-rich, fully fermented plant ingredients results in a protein supplement that is rich in every essential amino acid!

We use rice and pea protein in our fermented vegan proteins+, but we don’t stop there – we also include a blend of spirulina, alfalfa, mung bean sprouts, quinoa sprouts and hemp to round out the amino acids and provide increased nutrition. This all translates to a highly absorbable protein supplement that gives you 20 grams of usable protein in every scoop!

This variety of plant-based protein sources provides a wide spectrum of complimentary proteins, ensuring that you get the full range of amino acids, including the essentials that cannot be made from the body and need to be supplied by the diet!


  • Smriga, et al. Oral treatment with L-lysine and L-arginine reduces anxiety and basal cortisol levels in healthy humans. Biomed Res. 2007 Apr;28(2):85-90.