Feeling lost on how to choose the perfect protein powder? Protein powder and I have had a confusing relationship in the past. I know how confusing and stressful it can be choosing a protein powder, so I’m going to break it down for you today.
The Benefits of Protein Powder
If using a healthy protein powder, adding this into your diet, along with a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods like fruits, veggies, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, grains, legumes/beans, wild seafood and pasture-raised eggs (if you aren’t vegan) can be a great way to promote optimal health. Here a few reasons why adding in a protein powder to your diet can be beneficial:
– balanced blood sugar: protein helps to balance the blood sugar, which helps reduce cravings for sugar and refined carbohydrates throughout the day.
– building blocks: the amino acid Valine helps promote muscle growth and repair, which is why it’s wonderful to add a scoop of protein to your post-workout smoothie!
– a good nights sleep: balanced blood sugar will help promote a good night’s sleep. The amino acid Tryptophan is converted into serotonin which helps to improve sleep, lower stress levels and improve overall mood.
– brain health: the amino acid histidine helps to promote optimal brain health, and helps to protect the tissues from radiation and heavy metal exposure.
As a Nutritionist, I’m naturally an advocate for whole, nutrient-dense, real foods with minimal or no processing. When looking for a protein powder, stay away from ingredients you can’t pronounce or recognize.
I love switching up my sources of protein which is why I like to include different superfoods in my smoothies that are rich in protein, like spirulina, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and raw cacao. I like to include a scoop of complete protein powder in my smoothies 4-5 days/week. My favourite protein powder is this one.
Choose Simple Ingredients
It’s difficult to find protein powders that aren’t chocked full of ingredients, including additives, fillers and refined sweeteners like stevia and white sugar. These unnecessary ingredients can often contribute to bloating, liver stress, digestive stress, brain fog and many more unwanted symptoms.
I always recommend looking for a protein powder that has the most minimal ingredients you can find. Always look for organic and non-GMO.
Ingredients I recommend: sprouted quinoa, sprouted brown rice, coconut, chia seed, hemp seed, pumpkin seed, spirulina, raw cacao, pea protein.
Ingredients I don’t recommend: whey protein (difficult for most to digest, can cause inflammation in the body if not organic, etc.), stevia (often highly processed/refined), soy lecithin. I recommend staying away from ingredients like corn starch and other thickeners, gaur gum and xanthin gum, casein, gluten, maltodextrin, soy (usually GMO), refined oils like sunflower oil, which are all very difficult for the body to recognize, absorb and digest.
Look for Complete Proteins
Finding a protein powder that contains complete proteins is important. A complete protein means the protein contains all 9 essential amino acids which our body cannot produce itself. These are essential for many reasons, including maintenance, repair and growth of various parts of the body. An example of a plant-based complete protein is quinoa or spirulina.
Feeling Bloated? Look for THIS.
I recommend looking for a protein powder that contains sprouted grains, seeds or legumes – this helps to remove the phytic acid encasing around the food, which inhibits nutrient absorption and proper digestion (this is why it’s common to soak rice before cooking or almonds before making almond milk). Look for the word sprouted on the ingredient label, such as sprouted quinoa, sprouted brown rice, etc.
Taste & Texture
Lots of protein powders can taste hella funky, which is why it’s important to find one that you actually enjoy the taste of! I personally prefer a protein powder that’s a little naturally sweetened from vanilla, and really dislike fruit flavours like banana or berry and “natural” sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit, but that’s just a preference! Do your research before you purchase!
my favourite protein powder
My absolute favourite complete protein powder is the Perfect Protein from Botanica which contains 4 simple ingredients: sprouted quinoa, sprouted brown rice, coconut and vanilla – that’s it! I like the vanilla flavour because it’s super versatile – sometimes I’ll blend it up with some almond milk, raw cacao, banana and frozen zucchini for a chocolatey shake or often I’ll blend it up with some frozen blueberries, avocado, coconut water and spinach.
This post was sponsored by Botanica. All opinions are, as always, my own. Thank you for supporting companies that support The Pure Life.