As health professional and retired athlete, protein has been a key part of my diet for years. Protein generally comes in perishable form (eggs, meat, beans and cheese) so finding convenient, portable sources of it can be tricky. Protein powders are your best bet but there are so many out there that picking the right one for you can be challenging. In my experience, vegan and whey proteins are superior choices by far.
When thinking about choosing between the two, you want to consider two things:
Is it complete?
What are my dietary restrictions/choices?
Why complete matters
You may remember from science class that protein is a building block of human life, growth, cell repair and function. Protein in its smallest form is simply an amino acid. The healthy human body can create 12 of the amino acids needed for health but must find the rest through nutrition. A complete external protein source is one that has all nine of the additional essential amino acids.
What Do you Choose to Eat?
The only sources of complete protein are meat, seafood, eggs and dairy. If you will not or cannot consume these things, your route to optimal protein consumption is via nuts, beans grain crops like quinoa and veggies like soy, and leafy greens.
Walk this Whey…
Whey is a byproduct of cheese which is made with milk. Once cheese has been created, the milk used creates a liquid. That liquid is further processed and that’s how you get whey. Since whey is a dairy byproduct, it is a complete protein and low in lactose content. Even though it’s low in lactose content, what little lactose it has is just enough to keep you feeling full, which can help with appetite management and ultimately, weight loss.
Unless you Have that ‘Vegan Feelin’’
Vegan protein is also awesome, although, a single serving of it is not complete. The way to ensure you’re eating and meeting your daily protein goals is to combine vegan proteins. So, that handful of walnuts may not fit the bill, but add it to, say, a quinoa and black bean salad and now, you’re cooking.
If you, like me, are not much of a chef and/or need to get your protein on the go, Naturade protein powders are you. Not only is the whey protein option complete, the vegan protein combines pea, hemp, chia and potato protein sources and so, it’s complete too. Both options boast 22 vitamins and minerals and a fiber and probiotic blend that make it super easy to digest.
Also, they both quite literally taste like cake batter. And generally, when you find healthy things that taste like cake, you should love them and hold them close.
Irving Hyppolite is a certified personal fitness trainer, strength training coach and motivational speaker. Additionally, he is the Founder, CEO and Blogger-in-Chief of Quantum Leap Fitness, a space where health, fitness, culture meet.