There is so much controversy out there about protein shakes, meal replacement shakes and whey vs. vegan protein. We are told we need more protein, but what is the healthiest source, and how do we know what is right for us? I am going to clear some of this up for you today.
First, I’ll be clear and say everyone is unique, and everyone’s body responds differently to various foods and food groups. With that being said, here are the cold hard facts about what you may be putting in your body.
Whey protein is a bi-product of the dairy making process. Dairy is acidic, inflammatory and extremely difficult to digest for the majority of humans. Some people have a dairy allergy or sensitivity and don’t even know it, and thus continue to consume dairy or dairy bi-products harming their body even further. If you feel yucky after eating dairy products, I recommend getting tested for dairy intolerance or just giving it up altogether.
Whey protein takes an extraordinary amount of time, effort and energy for the body to break down, slowing digestion and causing inflammation in the digestive tract. Yes, you’re getting protein. But at what cost? I generally do not recommend whey protein for anyone. In fact, I cannot think of a single case where I ever would. And this includes even the healthiest form of whey…grass fed, organic or not, it’s all dairy, and it’s all inflammatory.
If you do choose whey protein as one of your protein sources, be sure it comes from grass fed or organic dairy cows at the very least. If it is some type of meal replacement shake or supplement, be sure the other ingredients in the shake are of high integrity, 100% natural and chemical free.
I’m sure you are wondering by now what I recommend, and that is vegan protein…always. Vegan protein is much more easily digested, and, as opposed to whey protein is not inflammatory to the body. Vegan protein can be sourced from many different foods, and you’ll most commonly see the following: brown rice, pea, cranberry, quinoa and hemp.
There are so many ways to get protein from healthy vegan sources. It can come from a meal replacement or protein shake, or it can simply be consumed in its whole food form. I get my vegan protein from black beans, garbanzo beans, hemp, sprouted quinoa, chia, nuts, seeds and plenty of raw fruits and vegetables.
If you are looking for a healthy meal replacement shake or protein supplement, there are only TWO that I recommend: Shakeology and Vega. These shakes have very healthy, natural and organic ingredients, and are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Shakeology has whey protein options, however as you know I recommend the vegan version for the best digestion and health benefits.
Next comes the question, how do I know what’s right for me? And the answer is to always listen to your body. Watch closely for signs that your body is either loving or hating a certain food or food group. Keeping a food journal can be helpful for recording not only what we are consuming, but how we feel in response. This practice can help bring more mind/body awareness into our world, so we can more closely know what foods work or do not work for us.
There is always the other option of getting tested for food allergies and sensitivities. This can pinpoint what foods you should be avoiding. If you are interested in this, ask your physician if they offer this testing. Please note that food allergy testing is not the same as food sensitivity testing.
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