So…protein powders. We’ve all heard about them, perhaps some of you use them. Or perhaps you believe they are only for the hard-core gym goers and the beefy dudes who throw heavy weights around.
While this is true to a certain extent I think they’re excellent and can be really useful for a number of people and situations. Protein in this form means that amino-acids (the protein building blocks for …um…our WHOLE bodies) are highly bio-available to our system. They are quickly and easily absorbed and utilized which is why it is a great option if you are training. But also great if you fall into these categories…
- time poor and don’t get around to eating a proper meal
- can’t stomach breakfast in the mornings and so don’t eat
- wanting to maintain muscle and tone while lowering body fat
- requiring optimum available energy – busy parents, those leading active lifestyles, performing heavy/physical work or (as mentioned) performing a lot of exercise/training
- looking for ways to make your smoothies for nutritious and filling
- have any concerns about your protein intake and meeting it (I suggest speaking to a practitioner/health professional about this one too)
When it comes to choosing one I always suggest people go for the ‘cleanest’ one possible. Meaning as few ingredients as possible. If in doubt, I highly recommend using my guide to label reading…
Many protein powders use sugar alternatives these days, which is great. Be wary though, because many do not – and they also list sugar under many bizzaro and sciencey names (sneaky!). Preferably you want to see either stevia or monk-fruit as the ‘sweetener’ – or opt for one that doesn’t have any added!
I suggest either a rice protein or a pea protein based powder. Whey based powders are fine too, as long as your tummy is happy with the dairy. Having said that you may need to trial a rice and pea powder too, everyone is different and some people can find pea protein to cause bloating.
Some of my favorites AND ones that I have previously used or currently use are Sunwarrior Protein, RAW Organic Protein, Ezy protein and Vital Greens Vital Protein. All of these are nice simple proteins that don’t contain lots of sugar and fillers – we don’t need all that other shit. Our bodies want the amino-acids – these are the goodies they recognize and will put to good use!
I’m personally a fan of the natural/unflavored ones – as I generally like to add my own flavors to my smoothies. The natural ones also don’t have any sweetener in them, which for me is mainly a taste preference. I can find the stevia a bit too sweet – even in these yummy products.
These are high quality protein powders….they aren’t necessarily cheap – but quality does make a difference with these and I really do recommend choosing the best quality you can. If you have access to a bulk foods store like “The Source Bulk Foods” you can bulk buy good quality protein powers (that’s where I buy my organic unflavored rice protein). It’s a cheaper option.
How do you use your protein powder…?
It’s awesome in smoothies for breakfast, and I do love me a smoothie! Adding protein to your morning smoothie will help keep the hunger pangs as bay for longer. Plus it’s a great way to get quality nutrients into your system without it being too much on your digestive system first thing in the morning. Fancy that…I have a SMOOTHIE GUIDE you can check out for more inspiration.
Smoothies don’t have to just be for breakfast – they are excellent as a quick meal on the run if you just don’t have time.
I also use protein power for a simple snack smoothie. Meaning I use less protein powder (half a scoop) and just add water/milk/yogurt, ice and perhaps some cacao powder or a few raspberries. Keeping it a smaller “snack” serve rather than a meal like my morning smoothies tend to be.
You can also add protein powder to Bliss Balls (check out my Chia-seed-ball recipe – you could totally add in some protein powder to these!), pancakes and even to make muffins or biscuits with an added protein hit.
Use it daily or use it when you’re pressed for time – just make sure you choose a protein powder that you love and that’s not full of sugar, fillers, chemical warfare and blue food colouring.
I’m off to go throw some iron and flex my muscles with the beefy dudes at the gym!*
*no I’m not.
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