I recently cut meat from my diet, not for any humanitarian reasons but for health reasons. I decided to limit my intake of meat, especially beef and pork, because it is difficult to digest and can cause a lot of heart-related health problems. So I may eat chicken it occasionally, but at this point I don’t miss it at all.
One of the most common questions I get for having a plant-based diet is, “how do you get enough protein?” This question comes up a lot, especially for vegans/vegetarians who regularly work out and stay in shape. I am a big fan of protein shakes. I drink a nutritional smoothie at least once a day. It is a good source of protein for someone as active as me. Luckily for all of us, there are now tons of great vegan protein powders on the market. Why Vegan Protein powders? Again some people prefer them because Whey Protein is not vegan-friendly (it is a dairy product and milk comes from animals), for me it has to do with a healthier alternative to the popular protein products out there.
Many gym-goers purchase pre-workout powders, muscle recovery powders, or even drinks labeled “protein shakes”. Here’s the deal: protein isolates are heavily processed, and their impact on an individual’s health, is up for debate in the medicine world. In other words, they are filled with unnatural ingredients and chemicals that may not be good for you. While I don’t believe that they’re downright terrible, I do believe that there are less heavily processed and more nourishing options out there.
The product I personally started to use is called Vega
Vega has a line of all natural plant-based protein powders, energizing smoothies, nutritional shakes, muscle recovery, and pre-workouts—all products that support a healthy active lifestyle. The Nutritional Shake is my favorite Vega product. It contains 16 grams of protein and comes in Berry, Chocolate, Vanilla Chai, among other natural flavors. As for the Workout Recovery Performance Protein, it has 26 grams of Protein and the Vanilla flavor is my favorite.
There are also plenty of other vegan protein brands out there –you can have Gluten-free, soy-free options. Hemp protein, rice protein, pea protein, soy protein, and all types of blends…there’s sure to be one that works for you!
Why are Protein Powders good?
Protein Powders are not just for body builders. They are great for men and women who want to gain lean muscle. The practical reason for using protein powders is to support building muscle. It can also help support losing fat (lots of studies show that increasing protein ratio to about 20% of total calories results in more efficient fat loss without losing muscle mass). I use protein powder to maintain my weight, it provides me with energy for my workouts as well as provides me with nutrition that I may miss from my regular diet. Protein powder is not just for the boys, ladies! It doesn’t necessarily bulk you up. It can help aid in any level of workout.
Different ways to use Protein Powder
- Add it to your fruit Smoothie. It gives it a great boost and helps balance the natural sugars in the fruit
Very Berry Protein Smoothie (serves 1)
1 cup mixed berries
½ cup Dole natural pineapple juice
½ cup of water
2 tbsp protein powder
½ packet stevia (raw sugar)
Simply blend all ingredients in a blender and serve!
2. You can also add protein powder to muffins, pancakes, cookies and other baked goods to boost protein content. Simply swap out part of the flour measurement for protein powder.
3. Stir it into oatmeal or other hot cereals after cooking, or even sprinkle some on top of your favorite cold cereal.
* Keep in mind, though, that eating tons of protein from any source isn’t how you build muscle. Doing regular and intense strength training is the way to build muscle – protein intake is just there to support recovery and give your muscles the building blocks to grow. Even though any protein powder is going to be processed, some are done in a more natural way! And since, “whey” is a dairy by-product, I hope you’ll try a vegan alternative!
I recently purchased Herbalife protein mix to compare.