Arginine Alert: Pea Protein in Store-Bought Foods?

Pea protein in Fit Life Foods Mama's Turkey Meatloaf

You would think that after knowing about the connection between arginine and herpes outbreaks for over a decade now, I would know better than to not read every single ingredient of a meal that goes into my mouth.

Welp, I made a huge mistake last week that ALMOST cost me a herpes outbreak because there were TWO high arginine food ingredients hiding in one of the pre-made meals I got.

My boyfriend and I recently started buying prepared meals from our local Fit Life Foods. We have been loving every single meal we’ve gotten from them so far, and I got a little too comfy.

At first, I read every ingredient, but I slacked off last week and didn’t check all of the ingredients in all of the meals we got.

I just briefly skimmed them, and because no high-arginine foods stood out, I thought I was safe.

Some of their meal names are dead giveaways and I KNEW they were herpes bombs. e.g. “Cashew Chicken” and “Butternut Coconut Curry.”

Because the covers of the meals are see-through, I could see in the actual meal other high-arginine foods like nuts or seeds. e.g. “Cajun Braised Shrimp” which is served with slices of toasted almonds mixed in with the green beans.

By the way, I have bought stuff like that in the past where there are high arginine foods mixed in, and it looks delicious and I just think, “Oh, I’ll just pick them out.”

And it ends up turning into a freaking nightmare because I spend my entire meal time picking through my food before I can eat it, which means it’s cold by the time I do, and then I’m on edge the whole time, scared I missed some and that I’m accidentally going to eat it and get a herpes outbreak. No. Fun. No. Thank. You.

So I skipped the obvious ones and chose the ones I felt would be fine.

But one snuck by my friends, and here’s why.

The name of the meal was “Mama’s Turkey Meatloaf” and by looking through the cover, it was just meatloaf, green beans, and cauliflower mash.

Pea protein in Fit Life Foods Mama's Turkey Meatloaf

Sounds harmless, right??

Well the hidden ingredients were pea protein and rice flour, and they were tucked in next to “GF bread crumbs” – with the words “pea” and “protein” separated on two lines.

Ok, I’m not trying to make excuses here. This is 100% on me for not slowing down and taking the time to read all of the ingredients. Plus, I’m certain that whoever created the label did not separate those two words hoping to intentionally cause me a herpes outbreak! 

Before I go on, in case you’re wondering why “pea protein” would concern me more than just seeing the word “peas,” it’s because the amount of arginine in pea protein would be much higher simply because of the concentration of it.

Think about it. 1 cup of peas vs however many cups of peas it takes to create 1 cup of pea protein powder. Make sense? Same thing with “rice flour,” the other high arginine ingredient.

Now, even if I would have read through all of the ingredients and seen the pea protein powder listed as an ingredient, I still probably would have tried it.

Why? Because based on my knowledge of the lysine arginine ratio of all of the food ingredients, I would have thought that the higher lysine vs arginine ratio of both the turkey and the green beans might have compensated for the higher arginine vs lysine ratio in the pea protein and rice flour.

Well my friends, I can tell you it most certainly did not.

Because the day after eating that for dinner, I woke up feeling like I got hit by a truck (extreme fatigue – herpes outbreak sign #1) and I started having pains and discomfort in my lower abdomen (herpes outbreak sign #2).

One of the ways I know a herpes outbreak is starting is I will get pain and discomfort in my lower abdomen. It feels like an “internal herpes outbreak.”

I could not figure out what the heck could have caused the outbreak, because I couldn’t think of anything out of the ordinary.

That’s when I started retracing my steps of what I ate the day before, and yes friends – I WENT INTO MY GARBAGE to find the wrapper from the Fit Life meal from the night before.

YEP! There they were. Pea protein and rice flour. DANG IT!!!

Pea protein in Fit Life Foods Mama's Turkey Meatloaf Ingredients List

I immediately went to my arsenal and started taking my Valacyclovir, which cleared everything up within one day. (I am a natural-as-possible kinda gal, but let me tell you – I am SO grateful for that medication.)

So the main purpose of this post is to give you all a heads up to BE EXTRA CAREFUL and look out for hidden arginine when buying prepared meals from places like FitLife or even frozen meals from the grocery store, especially with things like “meatloaf” and “meatballs” where there are a bunch of ingredients mixed together.

In case you all are interested, here are the calculations I did using the Lysing Arginine Food Ratio Charts to figure out the appx quantity of lysine and arginine in the meal.

I did two versions, because I have no way of knowing whether the pea protein they use is made from raw green peas or sprouted peas (or who knows what other version of peas!).

Sprouted peas have a slightly higher arginine to lysine ratio than raw green peas, so I wanted to run both scenarios to be sure.

Lysine Arginine ratio guesstimate of fit life foods mama's turkey meatloaf

Now, of course, this is a rough guesstimate because I don’t have quantities of any of the food ingredients, so therefore I don’t have the exact lysine arginine ratio of the food ingredients either.

So although the higher quantity of arginine vs lysine shown in my calculations isn’t super drastic, my guess is that the actual arginine content may have been even higher.

By the way, if you want easy access to the lysine and arginine content and ratios of common foods, grab a copy my Lysine vs Arginine Food Ratio Charts below!

The Lysine vs Arginine Food Ratio Charts

Lysine vs Arginine Food Ratio Charts

This is a 60+ page quick reference PDF I put together to help people just like you and I who are focusing on preventing herpes-related outbreaks through our diets.

The data is formatted in a way that makes it easy for you to see not only the lysine and arginine content of each food, but more importantly, its ratio of lysine to arginine.


Save yourself hours of time. I did the hard work so you don’t have to! This clear, concise quick reference PDF contains all the info you need and nothing you don’t.

Keep your life simple with this go-to reference guide and never again worry about doing multiple searches over and over, then sorting through unnecessary info to find what out what you really want to know…

HOW MUCH LYSINE VS ARGININE DOES THIS FOOD HAVE? All of that info is now condensed and right at your fingertips at a moment’s access.

The foods in each chart have been sorted with the highest (best) lysine to arginine ratio at the top, and the lowest at the bottom. This way, it’s easy for you to know which foods are safe and which to be careful with.

Here’s sample image of one of the pages inside to give you an idea of what you’ll be getting. (There are 11 pages for veggies alone!)

Sample Page: Lysine to Arginine Ratio of Fruits

To be clear, the Lysine to Arginine Quick Reference Guide contains specially designed Lysine to Arginine Food Ratio Charts. The charts don’t contain any of the other nutritional data such as protein, carbohydrates, etc.

It only contains the vital info you need to decide the following:

  1. Whether you can consume a certain food by itself (for the foods with more lysine than arginine)
  2. Whether you need to combine that food with a high lysine food to balance it out (for those that have slightly more arginine than lysine)
  3. Whether you might be better off avoiding that food entirely (for the foods that are super high in arginine compared to lysine. I call these the herpes party starters lol.)  

It was specially designed for people like us who are trying to consume high lysine, low arginine foods in order to prevent herpes outbreaks.

Lysine vs Arginine Food Ratio Charts

Get your copy today and use it for the rest of your life! Easy peasy! 🙂


Lysine-Arginine Blogger

I’m just a regular person who learned the hard way that too much arginine causes herpes outbreaks. I found real solutions that have worked for me to prevent outbreaks for years. My mission is to share everything I've learned with as many people as possible, to prevent them from going through the same pain and suffering I did. Because once you know what to do, you won't have to suffer anymore!

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The Lysine Arginine Food Ratio Charts are now available IN PRINT on AMAZON!