Protein. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t mention the word or talk about how important it is for all health related things. Fat loss, muscle mass gain, bone density, bone strength, general health… protein can be a huge player in all these. I will spare you with all the science about Protein but trust me it’s really important.
Most people reading my blogs are looking for better body composition, am I right? And by “better” I mean more muscle/less fat primarily. Protein not only builds those nice shoulders and glutes that everyone wants, it ALSO keeps you fuller longer. This is a game changer because if you are “full” your mindless snacking will most likely be significantly reduced, cutting calories and lbs.
In the meantime to help you obtain all the protein you “need” for that body you want, enter protein shakes (powders). And although I agree that having a big steak is more “filling” than a protein shake, the steak also comes with lots and lots of fat (albeit mostly good fat but fat nonetheless). I am NOT saying steak is bad, I’m saying it is high calorie so to get all your protein from steaks you would probably take in WAYYY too much fat.
All about Protein Powders:
There are 2 major types of protein powders that we can talk about. Whey (Dairy based) or Vegan plant based, (non-soy). Whether we talk about Whey or Plant Based, I always recommend getting a powder with natural sweeteners and the fewest ingredients possible. Why do I only recommend more natural powders? I feel if you are using it daily or a few times a week don’t you want cleaner nutrition? I sure do. If a food item is a once a month thing then it’s probably less important the quality, but something that I (or in this case you) take on a regular basis, I would hope you are trying to get the best quality you can find. The difference in pricing is not as much as it used to be, yet the difference in quality can be huge.
Most of the choice between the 2 styles is just preference, unless you vegan or dairy tolerant (notice I did NOT say lactose intolerant, I’ll explain). The amino acid profile for vegan protein has come a long way and now rivals that of the original “gold standard”, whey protein. So the difference comes down to taste, allergies, or vegan preferences. It does make sense to switch it up now and then though if you can tolerate both forms. Variety is the spice of life!
The Whey proteins I recommend are only Whey Isolate, which means the lactose is removed 99% (strained more hence the higher price). Whey protein powders are generally 25grams of protein per scoop making it a high protein meal/snack. Double that and you’d have to eat lots of steak to match that or about 2 chicken breasts in one sitting (which is pretty hard to do).
Vegan protein powder I recommend is usually made from a myriad of plants/rices (brown rice, hemp, quinoa, cranberry, etc). Benefits of these protein powders are of course lactose free, animal free, dairy free and usually free of any allergies. These tend to more “organic” and most vegan proteins are naturally (stevia/monk fruit) sweetened, so you don’t have to look at the ingredients as much. Some, not all, vegan protein powders I recommend act more of a meal replacement because they have a “greens” blend and probiotics in them as well. This isn’t necessary if you are getting enough greens in elsewhere. There are some that are solely protein also and usually are 15-22grams that I have found. Yes, that means a little less protein but most of the time better assimilated or digested (even if you tolerate dairy pretty well).
Keep an eye out for my next blog with some of my favorite smoothie recipes utilizing protein powder!