Does choosing a Protein Powder for you and your family make your head spin? You're not alone.
It's time to turn our beloved protein powder around guys and start reading those ingredients. What you see might surprise you. I'm going to help you through it by giving you 6 steps to choosing a healthy protein powder... Here we go.
I love a good smoothie after a workout because it's super easy, and gives me a protein boost following a workout to help my muscles recover. I also love having it around for a healthy mid-day snack. Protein powders are everywhere these days. It's no wonder you stand there in the aisle of the store or vitamin shop and don't know what's the best choice. I'm going to help you out so you can make a better decision...
There are many things to consider when choosing a protein powder. I'm going to tell you what's important to me when I look for a good protein supplement because some of these things you may know about but some of these important things may surprise you...
6 Steps to choosing a Healthy Protein Powder:
1. UNDERSTAND THAT A PROTEIN SUPPLEMENT IS JUST THAT...A SUPPLEMENT: You are also eating a healthy diet throughout the day that consists of other protein sources, some carbs, and healthy fats, so this doesn't need need to replace that. Unless you are a hard core weightlifter, and I mean hard core, you don't need all that, trust me. I've heard many people say that they want a protein supplement to have SO much protein! Those really high levels of protein just aren't necessary for most of us. I used to think the more the better, but after getting Nutritious Life Certified, most of us take too much! Look for one that's about 15 grams per serving.
2. THE SOURCE OF THE PROTEIN IS REALLY IMPORTANT: Gone are the days of the Whey protein shakes in my opinion. Whey is dairy. Dairy doesn't agree with many people and I don't believe it's the healthiest choice. I've taken dairy out of my family's diet for the most part and we feel a lot better. From time to time I'll have some high quality grass fed butter or cheese from a good source... but most whey you will find in protein powders aren't going to be from high quality, grass fed dairy. This is why I just steer clear of them. The reason that whey protein powders ARE as popular as they are.... is because they taste good. The dairy provides a nice creamy, smooth mouth feel that is appealing to most people. Now you know why they're yummy....but there are better options that are healthier.
Another option as a protein source that people used to think was healthy.... is soy. Soy is bad for you and you should stay away from it. Period. It mimics estrogen in the body and can cause all kinds of problems, including cancer. It can also cause nutrient absorption problems.
Some protein powders use egg white as the protein source. I've used them and they actually taste pretty good. The problem with these can be the price for the amount of servings you get. This option...and dairy obviously...is not an option for vegans either. When I started learning even more about seed oils and how they can affect the body, I continued my search because I the egg white protein I was previously using had sunflower seed oil in it....which brings me to my next point in a moment...
I think the best choice for a protein source is a plant based protein. It works for just about anyone with any lifestyle....paleo to vegan. Here's the problem with most plant based protein powders: they taste like chalk. Yep, they may be a healthier choice, but they don't have that smooth texture and good flavor. I happened to have found one that actually tastes delicious AND has a creamy, smooth texture. That brings me to the third thing I look for in a healthy protein powder....
3. WHAT KIND OF OIL IS BEING USED IN YOUR PROTEIN POWDER? You might be thinking, Oil... what Oil?? Protein powders have an emulsifier in them in the form of an oil. Most protein powders use unhealthy seed oils in them. Even the ones that claim to be healthier contain sunflower oil which is high in Omega 6's which we don't need any more of in our bodies! This can cause inflammation that leads to all kinds of lifestyle diseases. What our body does need is Omega 3's. A healthier option would to be to find a protein powder with Coconut Oil used for the emulsifier and you'll make sure you're getting those healthy Omega 3's. Coconut Oil also helps with the creamy, silky-smooth mouth feel we love in our smoothies!
4. WHAT SWEETENERS ARE USED? This is one of the most important things to look at. So many of the protein powders out there contain artificial sweeteners that are really unhealthy for you. There are some that are completely unsweetened, but I've tried them and they just don't taste good. I like to enjoy my smoothie, not have to choke it down, so I look for one with Stevia, monk fruit or coconut sugar as a sweetener. The one I use even cuts the stevia amount further by adding a bit of monk fruit... and they use the organic stevia and monk fruit in it's pure, leaf form. I like that.... not that processed white powdery kind of stevia that leaves an aftertaste. I'm very sensitive to the stevia taste, and that's why I love this one....no aftertaste;)
5. WHERE ARE THE INGREDIENTS COMING FROM? Do you know? Do you know if they are from another country? Do you know if they are GMO free and/or organic? Do you know if they contain grains, gluten or soy? Those things matter. The less ingredients the better. Is your list on your protein powder long? ....or short? Trust me, short is better and you should understand what every ingredient is and where it came from. This may sound nit-picky to some, but your health depends on it, so start paying attention to these things. Once you do, you'll be surprised what you learn.
6. LET'S TALK PRICE: This matters because we want to get a healthy option without going broke, right? I just want to make you aware of ways that some companies may try to trick you into thinking you're getting a better deal than you actually are. Once you're aware of it, you'll know how to shop smarter. Look at how many serving there are per container. I can't tell you how many times I've looked at this and I've caught them trying to be sneaky! For example, if you have two comparable products with comparable prices, but one seems like the better deal.... look at the servings per container. One might have 30 servings and will last an entire month, and the other may only have 15 servings! Not such a great deal anymore now is it! Just keep your eye on that because that's how they get you!
So, I've tried many different protein powders over the years and once I considered all of the things I've listed above, I have a new favorite I've been dying to tell my readers and followers about! Check it out and get yours HERE.
Let's see how it checks out using my 6 steps above....
- It's 14 grams of protein per serving, perfect for my supplement amount goal.
- It's plant protein made from pea, chia, pumpkin, hemp, and quinoa.
- It has coconut oil in it as the emulsifier...that rocks.
- It's sweetened with organic stevia and monk fruit...and has no stevia aftertaste because very little is used.
- It's made in the USA, non-GMO, dairy free, soy free, grain free, gluten free, with nothing artificial what-so-ever. It has less than 10 ingredients in it...total!!
- It has 30 servings per container, love that! Great price for that kind of quality.
I get asked a lot about what kind of protein powder I use and recommend. I've never been truly satisfied recommending one until now, so I don't talk about it much. This new one I found is amazing. It is hands down the best tasting plant based protein powder I've ever tried.
Enjoy, and I want to hear what you think once you give it a try! You won't find this one in stores but you can always find it here on my website under the SHOP menu, along with all the supplements I use and recommend. If you have any questions, feel free to ask! Oh, and they have incredibly fast shipping so you'll have it in no time;)
My Favorite Go-To Smoothie Recipe:
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk
- 1 scoop of Vanilla or Chocolate Life's Abundance Plant Protein Powder
- 1 handful spinach or kale (OR 1 scoop Greens Blend)
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil (this healthy fat will keep you full longer and is good for you) or almond butter
- a handful of frozen berries...or frozen banana (I keep frozen banana pieces in the freezer for convenience)
- generous sprinkle of cinnamon
- a scoop of Collagen (optional - great for skin and joint health)
Blend all ingredients until smooth in a blender. YUM. You really can't go wrong, this protein powder is delicious even just blended with water and a few ice cubes!!
Here's another delicious recipe using this protein: My Paleo Vanilla Raw Balls