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How to Prep a High Lysine Low Arginine Meal

Jason Hughes
Published by Jason Hughes
Fact checked by Markus Oliver, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: May 9, 2022

Research has shown that following a high lysine, low arginine diet can help prevent and treat conditions like herpes simplex virus (HSV). This type of diet is sometimes called an antiviral diet or an HSV-1 diet.

For non-vegans, dairy is a great source of lysine, so a lot of people naturally seek out dairy products when following this dietary protocol.
However, for vegans, it can be a little more difficult to figure out which foods are high in lysine and low in arginine. Fortunately, there are a few different ways you can meal prep high lysine low arginine vegan foods. In this article, we will discuss:

Understanding The Nutritional Requirements of Becoming a Vegan

The first step to following a high lysine and low arginine vegan diet is understanding the unique nutritional needs of vegans. No matter your diet, your body requires certain nutrients in order to function properly.

However, when you remove an entire food group from your diet, like animal products, it’s important to be aware of which nutrients you may be missing out on and how to replace them.

What is Lysine?

Lysine is an essential amino acid, meaning that our bodies cannot produce it and we must obtain it through our diet. Lysine is involved in a number of important bodily functions, including:

  • Growth and repair of tissue
  • Production of hormones and enzymes
  • Absorption of calcium
  • Collagen production

If you're following a high lysine diet, you want to aim for at least 1.5 to 3 grams of lysine per day.

If you’re struggling to get enough lysine from your diet, you may want to consider taking a supplement. Lysine supplements are available in a variety of forms, including tablets, capsules, powders, and liquids.

What is Arginine?

Arginine is another essential amino acid, and it plays a key role in wound healing and immune function. Like lysine, our bodies do not produce arginine, so it must be obtained from our diet.

Many common vegan foods contain high levels of arginine. But if you deal with cold sores or other herpes symptoms, you may benefit from limiting arginine in your diet and increasing lysine intake.

Best Vegan Lysine Food Sources

If you’re following a vegan diet and want to increase your lysine intake, there are a few plant-based foods that are high in this amino acid. Some of the best vegan lysine sources include:

  • Avocados
  • Mangoes
  • Lentils
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Kidney Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Apricots
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu
  • Seitan
  • Soy milk
  • Zucchini and squash
  • Spinach
  • Beans

As you can see, there are plenty of delicious and nutritious vegan foods that are high in lysine. If you’re following a high lysine, low arginine diet, you can combine these foods with other lysine-rich plant-based protein sources like tofu and quinoa to meet your daily requirements.

Remember to rotate foods out frequently to ensure you're getting a variety of nutrients and not just relying on the same foods day after day.

Lysine Supplements

If you’re struggling to get enough lysine from your diet, you may want to consider taking a supplement. Lysine supplements are available in a variety of forms, including tablets, capsules, powders, and liquids.

When choosing a lysine supplement, it’s important to read the label carefully and choose a product that is free from common allergens like gluten, soy, and nuts. You may need to experiment with different brands and dosages to find the right fit for your needs.

Some of the potential benefits of lysine supplements include increased muscle and tissue growth, improved healing and recovery time after injury or illness, and reduced inflammation.

There are also some potential side effects associated with lysine supplements, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

If you experience any of these side effects, or if your lysine supplement seems to be causing problems, it’s important to stop taking it and talk to your doctor.

High Lysine Low Arginine Vegan Recipes

If you're ready to dive into a high lysine, low arginine vegan diet, here are a few ideas to get you started.

Quinoa Recipes Vegetarian Indian

Here's a quick and easy vegetarian Indian quinoa recipe that's packed with lysine and has minimal arginine:

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa
1 ½ cups vegetable broth or water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 green onions, sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup cooked green peas
1 cup chopped spinach
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped cashews
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 lime, juiced
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

In a large pot, bring quinoa and broth to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until quinoa is cooked and liquid has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook garlic, green onions and spices in oil for a couple minutes until fragrant.
Stir in tomatoes, peas, spinach, chickpeas and raisins. Cook 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until all ingredients are heated through.
Stir in cooked quinoa and cashews and continue to cook for a minute or two until everything is well combined.
Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or cold.

Vegan avocado toast recipe

If you're looking for a quick and easy snack, here's a high lysine vegan recipe for avocado toast that's simple to make and packed with protein:

Ingredients:

1 ripe Hass avocado, halved, seeded and peeled
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon or lime juice
2 slices whole grain bread, toasted

Instructions:
In a medium bowl, mash the avocado with a fork until smooth. Stir in salt and lemon or lime juice.
Spread avocado mash over toasted bread and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Buffalo cauliflower recipe vegan
Here is a delicious and simple high lysine, low arginine vegan recipe for buffalo cauliflower:

Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
½ cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
4 tablespoon vegan butter
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup hot sauce

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a large bowl, whisk together almond milk, flour and spices until well combined.
Add cauliflower florets and toss until evenly coated.
Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, whisk together hot sauce and vegan butter until well combined.
When cauliflower is done cooking, remove from oven and transfer to a large bowl. Pour buffalo sauce over cauliflower and toss until evenly coated.
Serve immediately with celery sticks and vegan ranch or blue cheese dressing.

FAQs

Can vegans get enough lysine?

While it can be a little more challenging to get enough lysine on a vegan diet, it is possible with careful meal planning. Following high lysine, low arginine vegan recipes and including plenty of lysine-rich foods in your diet, such as quinoa, avocado, beans, lentils, and tempeh, will help ensure you're getting enough of this essential amino acid.

Is avocado high in lysine or arginine?

Avocados are a good source of lysine but are relatively high in arginine. So, if you're following a high lysine, low arginine vegan diet, you should be mindful of your intake of avocado and other high-arginine foods like nuts, seeds, and soy products. Instead, focus on getting your lysine from foods like quinoa, chickpeas, and leafy greens.

Is tofu high in lysine or arginine?

Tofu is a good source of lysine and, like avocado, is relatively high in arginine. So, be sure to limit your intake of tofu to reduce the amount of arginine you consume.

What high arginine foods should be avoided?

Some high arginine foods include nuts, seeds, soy products, and whole grains. While you can eat some of these foods in moderation--your body does need some arginine, after all--you should be mindful of them.

Instead, focus on getting your lysine from foods low-arginine foods we've mentioned. Additionally, you may want to avoid eating too many high-arginine foods at the same time to prevent overwhelming your body with this amino acid.

 


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