Let's Talk About Protein

I received an email a few days ago asking me about the protein powder I use, and other ways I consume protein, especially after a workout. So I figured, I would share that information, and more, with all of my readers. I know protein powder can be confusing because there are so many out there, and so many misconceptions about what it truly does for the body. It can be overwhelming too, but I'm here to help make it easier for you to decide, with the right information at hand. Protein is essential and vital for building and repairing lean muscle, and gives you healthier hair, skin, and nails. Now who could say no thank you to that?!

You may be saying to yourself right now, "I workout... but I eat the daily recommended protein from lean whole foods like beef, chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, and dairy, I must not need protein powder." Right? Wrong. Protein powder is the most important supplement you can get. It's difficult to get the right amount of protein by cooking it and eating it. Our bodies need between 1-2 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. A 200 pound person needs roughly 200-400 grams of protein per day. Sometimes our bodies need a different way to get protein depending on the time of day. 

"I don't want to get bulky, though." Stop that thought before it even forms in your mind. Protein will NOT make you bulky... ladies, I'm talking to you! Eating lean protein actually boosts your metabolism, while balancing blood sugar levels that curbs your appetite and prevents insulin spikes that cause weight gain. Protein requires more effort to digest, metabolize and use, creating a thermic effect in your body, so therefore, you're burning calories just processing them. 

The power of protein comes from its 20 different amino acids that help regulate hunger and are vital to repairing those muscles. Your body makes 11 amino acids naturally, the other 9 are essential amino acids, which you must receive from the food you eat, and the powder you consume. 

Complete Proteins are animal proteins - chicken, turkey, red meat, fish, dairy, and eggs, as well as tofu, buckwheat, and quinoa. 

Incomplete proteins are lacking essential amino acids - legumes, fruits, veggies, nuts, grains, and seeds (combine to form complete protein!)

There are roughly 12 types of proteins that we can consume, and while I'll list all of them, I won't go into too much detail, because remember, I'm not here to make this decision more difficult, but rather to help make the process easier! The most popular ones are... 

  • Animal Protein
    • Complete protein - easiest way to fulfill amino acid needs
  • Whey Protein
    • Most popular protein powder available 
    • Great at prompting muscle protein synthesis (way muscles grow)
    • Digested quickly (20 min), releasing amino acids into bloodstream to stimulate muscle growth
    • Raises insulin levels, creating a favorable environment for muscle growth
    • Lowers blood pressure, reduces bad cholesterol levels, and increases antioxidants
  • Casein Protein
    • Takes long to digest (7 hours)
    • Stimulates muscle protein synthesis and muscle growth
    • Provides body with glutamine, the most prevalent amino acid in body, required by the immune system to put up strong defenses
    • Promotes fat loss by increasing metabolism, and boosts growth hormone levels
  • Plant Protein
    • Great alternative if avoiding animal based proteins, or if you have allergies/intolerances 
  • Soy Protein
    • Great alternative if you have allergies
    • Loaded with arginine, which increases nitric oxide levels, and growth hormones
    • Promotes fat loss and hastens muscle recovery
  • Brown Rice Protein
    • Made by treating brown rice with enzymes that causes separation between carbs and protein
    • Has more arginine than any other protein (4x the amount in whey) = increase delivery of nutrients to muscle, bigger pump during workouts, and improves recovery from exercise
    • Lowers cholesterol, gain muscle, and helps lose body fat

There's also, milk protein, goat milk protein, beef protein, pea protein, hemp protein, and egg protein.

There are four different times when you can have a protein shake - upon waking up, before a workout, after a workout, and before bed. I, however, only have a protein shake after I workout. All the other protein I consume is complete proteins. About an hour before I workout, I usually have a a banana with peanut butter and granola on top (complete protein when combining fruit + nut), egg whites, or a luna bar with a piece of fruit. After my workout, within a half hour, I have my protein shake, and lunch soon after, or a protein shake with my dinner, which is usually chicken and a veggie, or eggs and turkey bacon. Protein pancakes are also another great option! 

I have two proteins I use right now - brown rice protein and plant protein. I have tried whey protein and it bothers my stomach, and makes me feel bloated. I will certainly try it again, but for now, I use what works for me. The brown rice protein is Perfect Fit Protein, while the plant based protein I use is Vega Sport. I absolutely love that Perfect Fit protein is organic, gluten free, non-gmo, and made with natural ingredients! Vega Sport has a great taste, and it's really proven to be a great protein for me. 

When I'm making my protein shake I aways use almond milk, whether it's unsweetened, vanilla, or chocolate, and add ice, then I add whatever my little heart desires - frozen banana, strawberries, blueberries, chia seeds, cinnamon, hemp hearts, mango, pineapple, OJ, coconut water, etc. Be on the lookout for upcoming posts that include my favorite healthy recipes! 

Everyone is different, and you might like what I do not, but that doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong. Everyone has a preference, and if you prefer whey protein over everything else, than that's fine because it's still doing what it's supposed to do... repair your muscles, and help make you lean and toned. It may work better for you to consume protein before your workout, and that's fine. As long as you have the right information, and you're making your decisions, and it's working, then let it keep working! Don't hesitate because someone else is doing something different, but also don't be afraid to try a different way either. 

Protein is so important in weight loss and muscle gain, and if you skip the protein, you most likely won't see the results that you're looking for. 

What's your favorite protein powder? How about your favorite protein filled recipe? Leave a comment below and let me know! I'll share it! 


* Links are not affiliated. **All opinions are my own.