Protein powders have become such a hype these days. With so many choices, it leaves it confusing when shopping!
Why use them? Do you know what the ingredients are? What type should you buy?
I am a believer in getting as much as we can from whole foods, but I do like to incorporate clean protein powder in my diet when it means that I am adding in cups of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables that I normally would not be eating at breakfast time. Smoothies are super easy on digestion too! I start everyday with a delicious vitamin-packed smoothie.
If you have protein powder at home, check your ingredients. Is the list longer than 5 things? Do you know what the ingredients are? There can be a lot of harmful and unnecessary ingredients added just like with anything else you buy that is processed.
I have tried a TON of different powders and have to say Tera’s Whey is my all time favorite! It has a clean ingredient list and is made in a very pure way. The cows are not treated with anitbiotics and they are raised on a grass-fed diet. The whey is organic and non-gmo. There could be trace amounts of lactose but I am lactose intolerant have no problems with it. It does not contain casein (which is one of the proteins found in milk) that some may have allergic reactions to. It is low in sugar (2g) and lightly sweeten with stevia. It has 20g of protein to help sustain you through the morning. I love that it only has 4 ingredients. It is not fortified with vitamins but I load my smoothies up with tons of fresh or frozen produce. You can buy online, at Whole Foods and some Targets.
Whey is made as a by-product of cheese and yogurt production. It is a complete protein – containing all 9 essential amino acids. It is an excellent way to promote lean muscle mass and will help your muscles recover post-workout.
Whole Foods Plant-Based Nutritional Shake (I only like the chocolate) is tasty and is loaded with vitamins and nutrients and is sweetened with stevia extract so it only has 1g of sugar. The protein is made of pea protein, hemp and brown rice protein. I mix with almond milk sometimes mid-afternoon for a little pick-me-up! I also like giving this one to my kids!
I also recommend Juice Plus Complete Protein Powder which is made with non-gmo soy, pea protein and chickpea protein. It is 100% plant-based and has a lot of fiber (8g) to keep you full and has 13g of protein. It has been fortified with some vitamins to help kick start your day. The negative of this powder is the sugar content (10g per sugar). On a positive, because it is sweetened, many children will drink these shakes. You can purchase online through my Juice Plus website.
If you are uncomfortable with adding protein powder to your smoothies, I would suggest adding in some type of whole food containing protein (ex: greek yogurt, cottage cheese, hemp seeds, nuts or tofu). The protein will help sustain your blood sugar and keep your body satisfied for a longer period of time.
I love a meal packed with protein and fiber because it really does fill you up and keep you satisfied! This pasta is perfect because it has both whereas most pasta noodles are just carbs.
I found it at Whole Foods. I recommend the Lentil varieties. Give it a try with your favorite pasta recipes or simply top with olive oil or marinara sauce.
It is becoming more and more difficult to decide what to buy in the grocery store. There are so many options and a lot of times in a hurry we just grab something to get the shopping done. Our food isn’t the same as it used to be. We are trying to produce as much as we can in as little time, so there are more pesticides being used and crops are being genetically modified to grow bigger, thicker and quicker. All of this, is a risk to us. I am trying to find a balance of the healthiest food at an affordable price. Here is a quick guide to what I do:
Produce: I use the EWG’s (Environmental Working Group) Dirty Dozen List to decide which fruits and vegetables to buy organic. The Dirty Dozen is the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables. The list is updated each year, but here is this year’s list to definitely buy organic on:
Apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, spinach, nectarines, cucumbers, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, hot peppers, kale, and summer squash. I also buy all corn organic to ensure that it is non-gmo.
The fruits and vegetables I buy conventional are mostly those with skin on it. Including, onions, avocados, bananas, mangos, watermelon, kiwi, cantaloupe, grapefruit and eggplant. And, those with thick skin are okay to buy conventional such as cabbage and asparagus.
There is an EWG app that you can download for free to have the list convenient while you are shopping!
In the winter, I rely on frozen fruits for smoothies and try to buy the vegetables that are in season at the time. Trader Joe’s is where I like to buy my organic frozen fruit. The prices are the best I have found.
Fish: I buy wild caught vs farm raised. Farm raised are kept in tight quarters and the incidence of disease is much greater because of it (such as sea lice, parasites and other viruses). They are also injected with lots of antibiotics to help prevent some of these diseases. Many farm raised are later treated with food coloring and other unnatural additives. When shopping, look for wild caught. It is more expensive but you get what you pay for.
Whole Foods has some fish/shrimp that are labeled Responsibly Farmed and is verified by a Third party. They do not use antibiotics or growth hormones. I do buy some with this label when I cannot find wild caught.
Meat: We do not eat a lot of meat in our family…but when we do, it is always organic. Whole Foods is where I shop for organic ground turkey and organic or free-range chicken. Again, this is important place to go organic. Otherwise, it has been injected with antibiotics and growth hormones.
Eggs: This is another confusing thing at the grocery store…so many options! Brown vs white does not matter (it is just a different type of chicken). Look for cage-free & naturally fed chickens. Those eggs are healthier and will have omega-3s. My favorite is Vital Farms Pasture Raised – you can taste the difference! The yolks are bright and taste so fresh. You can buy at Whole Foods. I also like Phil’s Fresh Eggs which can be found in the mid-west, I know Dierbergs carries them in St Louis, MO.
Dairy: Again, this is another place I go organic. Milk, yogurt, cheese etc. Organic cheese is can be found at Whole Foods and now more stores are branching out. Trader Joe selection is all without rBST hormone. My all time favorite yogurt is Wallaby’s Organic Greek Yogurt from Whole Foods, Dierbergs and some Targets. The consistency and taste are the best!
More on grocery shopping to come…