Note from Joy: Not surprisingly, the most popular New Year's resolution is eating better and weight loss. This is why this post will come in extremely useful to you especially if you've entered the world of smoothies & shakes. It can be extremely confusing when you go to the health food store trying to decide which protein powder to purchase. So I asked Adam Vacon, holistic nutritionist and part of the Joyous Crew, to share his knowledge about supplementing with a powder. EnJOY!
As a holistic nutritionist, I am often asked a lot of different questions about protein powders:
First things first, protein is a very crucial nutrient that has many metabolic purposes and we all need high-quality protein daily. It is the nutrient that helps our bodies build muscle, balance blood sugar, reduce sugar cravings, create hormones, modulate our immune systems, and much more!
Sometimes it can be a challenge to get enough protein in our diet especially if we have dietary restrictions such as being vegetarian or vegan. When we are lacking in protein for an extended period of time we may experience muscle loss, fatigue, constant sugar cravings, poor recovery from injuries, and even hair loss.
One really easy way to supplement our diets to ensure we are getting enough protein daily is to use a high-quality protein powder. I do realize it is very difficult to choose a high-quality protein powder given the vast amount of protein supplements on the market, so I will give you the nutritionist-approved guide to picking out a great protein powder.
What Form of Protein is Best?
There are several different forms of protein you can get in a powdered form; the most typical being whey protein. Whey protein powders are very readily available, however, they are best used for specific purposes like post-workout muscle building, immune boosting in disease states or recovery from injuries. I do not recommend whey protein as a daily supplement for the average person because many people develop food sensitivities as a result and it can be very hard on digestion, which causes gas and bloating.
Instead, I prefer using plant-based protein powders on a regular basis because they are easy on digestion and are hypoallergenic, meaning they are very unlikely to cause food sensitivities or allergies. Another benefit to using plant-based proteins is they are typically made using far more natural ingredients than whey protein powders and do not contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame or sucralose.
How to Select a High-Quality Plant-Based Protein Powder
When purchasing a plant-based protein powder there are a few things to watch out for. First is the type of protein used. There are several different types of plant-based proteins and typically there will be a blend of different proteins together. Sprouted rice protein is a great option as well as combinations that include pea, rice protein or hemp protein. Personally, I prefer the blends of different plant-based proteins as they mix better when added to a beverage. This is especially noticeable if you are not using a blender.
What to avoid in protein powders is also a must when shopping around! Always avoid artificial sweeteners like sucralose or aspartame. If these are in a protein powder it is not worth purchasing. A high-quality protein powder should be sweetened with stevia. Also, soy protein powders are best avoided as they contain high levels of phytoestrogens that may interfere with hormone balance over time.
Recommended Protein Powders
There are few great plant-based protein powders on the market. My favourite is Genuine Health vegan proteins+ for several reasons. It can be easily mixed with water, tastes good, has a very balanced blend of vegetable proteins, and is very affordable. I also really like Sunwarrior sprouted brown rice protein and Progressive harmonized vegan protein powder. Each of these can be found in most health food stores and the nice thing about Genuine Health products is they are readily available in many grocery stores and pharmacies.
How to Incorporate Protein Powder into your Diet
There are plenty of ways to add these great sources of protein to your diet, including smoothies, to almond or hemp milk. Joy even has a delicious protein bar recipe that uses Genuine Health vegan proteins+.
I hope this blog has cleared-up your own questions about protein powders so you can now take advantage of all the benefits of using a high-quality plant-based protein powder.