Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Protein Powders

Protein powders. They're pretty dang popular these days which means there are SO MANY OPTIONS. I really don't blame a person for feeling overwhelmed! So I thought it'd be helpful to talk a bit about some things to look for or avoid as well as a comparison of some I've used over the years.

It's a bit odd, in a way, that protein powders/supplements are so popular because very few Americans have a protein deficiency! In this country, a lot of meat (and dairy) is consumed (which tend to be high in protein)... too much if you ask me! If you're already consuming a ton of protein and have no plans to tweak your diet, a protein powder may not be needed.  While I could get all the protein I need on a vegan diet, I like having a supplement as an option.  I don't rely on a protein powder to meet my requirements, it's meant to supplement my healthy diet and helps fill in any gaps I may have some days.

I'm not going to get all into the nutrition facts because how many calories, carbs etc you want or need is going to vary! There's no one same answer for everyone.

Alright, so here are some things I personally look for in a protein powder.

Organic: I buy the majority of my food organic and over time have realized how important it is for my protein powder to be organic as well. This is especially true with certain ingredients like Chinese herbs! Make sure it's certified organic. Non organic means ingredients used were most likely sprayed with pesticides and icky things you don't really want to be digesting.

Non-GMO: I always prefer to avoid GMOs which is part of why I like to buy organic. If something is organic, it cannot legally be GMO.  GMO = genetically modified organism. Basically, scientists messed with the DNA (not the same thing as hybrid foods like seedless watermelon by the way)... not to mention some really harsh pesticides are used on GMO crops!

Natural flavors: I know this SOUNDS like a good thing but it's not. Natural flavors can be vegan or not but either way, they are often nasty! Things like bugs, human hair, animal secretions (ahh!). Basically it comes from a natural source and is used to imitate a flavor but there's no nutritional value and they undergo fewer safety evaluations than other food ingredients.

Raw: I prefer raw protein powders because the ingredients contain more nutrients! Might as well get the most bang for your buck right? Raw = less processed.

Vegan: I only buy vegan (plant based) protein powders... They are what I recommend to everyone, even if you aren't vegan. I believe they are the healthiest option.  I always check to make sure the product is vegan and with protein powders it's easy because they will actually advertise/label it as such.

Protein amount: When I am weightlifting, I like a higher amount so that it's easier for me to get more protein daily. I'm not weightlifting right now but since I'm nursing I still want some extra protein. So I prefer a protein powder with more than 20g. At other times, I'm fine with less! Generally your body won't process more than 35g of protein so if you're taking more than that in one sitting, it's just a waste.

Gluten free: I am not gluten free but I try to limit my gluten/wheat intake somewhat.  There are plenty of gluten free protein powders out there so it's not difficult to do. I think gluten can be hard to digest so it makes sense to keep it out of a protein powder.

Sweetened with: I always want to know what a product is sweetened with. No artificial sweeteners, thanks! Stevia is the most common which I'm fine with but you want it to be pure (Stevia leaf). Xylitol and inulin are a bit more controversial so make your best educated decision. So far I feel comfortable with them as long as it's in very small amounts (remember ingredients are listed in order of the highest to lowest amount... so if xyolitol is the first ingredient listed there is more of it than if it's the last ingredient listed).

Below I compared some protein powders that I've purchased in the past few years. trusii is my go to now but I wanted to include a variety so you can get an idea of how they vary.

I listed two prices for trusii. The higher one is retail price but you can always become a preferred client which means you get the wholesale price (50% off and free shipping). Feel free to contact me if interested. :)


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