Growing up as a professional tennis player I had my first protein shake at age 12. I practised tennis and condition training combined for about 20-25 hours per week. I was on the skinny side and besides eating a lot, one of my trainers recommended to look into protein shakes for a faster recovery and lean muscle building.
So after doing some research on where to buy something like this (online shopping wasn’t really a thing back then) my dad took me to this fitness bodybuilding shop. I will never forget the huge muscular guy who advised me some vanilla protein powder and told me to blend it with milk and fruit in a smoothie…
Every single night after a long day of practice I would make one of these whey vanilla protein shakes. And let me tell you: I did not like the artificial taste at all! I tried blending it with everything but it always resulted in me chucking down the shake as fast as possible with my nose closed (and trying to convince my dad to drink half as I thought he could also use some muscles). I wish I knew back then what I know now… How to read labels and understand where the ingredients come from.
Over the last years, I studied to become a plant-based certified health coach because of my passion for a healthy lifestyle! Little did I know back then what I was putting in my body... I still see people making the same mistakes I made at age 12 (and continued to make till age 21!), so I decided to share the 3 key things you need to look out for when buying and using protein powder. Wonder what results I got by sticking to these guidelines? Keep on reading :)
Sounds simple yet so many get this one wrong. The most important information on the back of the food packaging is not the nutrition table, but the ingredients list. Why? Because don’t you want to know what food (substances) you are putting into your body? So many people always first check the calories and I am sorry to bring it to you but not all calories are created equal. Instead of stressing and obsessing about the calories you eat:
(1) try to focus on natural food that contains whole food ingredients and
(2) start listening to your body and eat only when you are hungry.
If I had done that with my protein powder back in the days the label probably would have read something like this: Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate, Maltodextrin, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Soy Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose. Do you know what these ingredients are? Where are they coming from? I really believe that mother nature knows what’s best for us!
Our bodies thrive on whole foods and know how to digest, absorb and heal itself with these natural ingredients. So if you don’t know the ingredients - simply do your own research and decide if it is something you want to be consuming. The nutrition table in the case of protein powders is just handy to understand the amount of protein you will get per serving.
Whey protein, grass-fed whey protein, casein protein, soy protein, pea protein, rice protein, hemp protein, pumpkin seed protein… and so the list goes on. The number one reason people choose whey protein is that it is a complete protein source, which means that it contains all essential amino acids (the building block of protein) for the most efficient way of building lean muscles.
However, it also has some serious downsides:
(1) it’s a byproduct of the dairy industry - most of the industrial dairy products contain lots of antibiotics, growth hormones and pus from udder inflammations (the industry is quite harsh on dairy cows) and
(2) some studies show that whey protein is hard to digest and therefore causes bloating. Plant-protein does not always contain all essential amino acids - but this can be easily fixed by combining 2 different sources of plant protein.
My advice to you… try different protein powders and see what works best for your body. We are all different after all. However, make sure to read the ingredient list and pick a truly clean version.
It’s important to understand why your body actually needs protein. Its main functions in the body are:
(1) repairing cells and body tissue,
(2) providing energy and
(3) the creation of some hormones.
On top of that, it can help you feel full for longer, speed up your metabolism and thus support the weight loss process.
It is really convenient to use no matter what protein powder you decide to buy. My favorite ways are:
I mostly use protein powders in my morning smoothie or breakfast almost every single day. Also, after really crazy heavy workouts I like to have a protein shake within 30 minutes after the workout. This is what works for me, but then again everyone is different. I know people who love taking it before a workout (that’s when I use the Energy Bomb mix as a natural pre-workout booster) or at night before they sleep… Experiment with it and be conscious of how it makes you feel!
I lost a whopping 15 pounds after changing my diet (thank you skinny protein) when switching to clean plant proteins at age 21. I also noticed that I recover faster after my workouts, have stronger muscles even though I workout less these days and my energy levels have increased, too!
Now I know what the next question will be… which brand of protein powder do you recommend? I used plant-based protein like Sunwarrior and Garden of Life in the beginning of my journey, however, when checking the labels I still found sweeteners, binders and additives like Stevia, Xanthan Gum, Natural Flavoring…
I couldn’t believe there was no truly clean version on the market. So I decided to simply create my own line of plant-based protein powders. Together with experienced orthomolecular nutritionists, we decided to combine two plant proteins to have all essential amino acids plus added powerful superfoods for optimal absorption and an extra portion of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
They both have only 5 ingredients and a 60% protein content:
Also if you are looking for one-on-one help to lose weight, become fitter and feel healthier with the power of plants, I currently have only 3 spots left in my exclusive 6-month personal coaching program. Email me if you want to hear more at firstname.lastname@example.org!
P.S. Use the code PROTEIN5 at the checkout to SAVE €5 on your first order. Satisfaction guaranteed - if you don't like the products you will receive a full refund!