Whether you are on a plant-based diet like me or not, a priority for many people is protein. And in recent years there has been more and more different types of protein powder you can get, some which are right for you and others that might not be doing what you want.
Why Is Protein Important?
Let's start with why do we need protein? Protein is an essential part of our diet as every single plant is made up of three things carbohydrates, fat and of course, protein! Which makes it quite natural for us to get enough protein every day. It is essential to have some protein in your diet as it helps to build and repair muscle, tissue, hair and nails. We also need protein to make hormones and enzymes, and it's an essential building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and even blood.
How Much Protein Do We Need?
I get asked this a lot, especially by people who are transitioning to a diet that doesn't include meat, as many people believe you can only get protein from meat. But as I stated above, everything has protein in it; just some foods have more than others.
Generally speaking, you need around 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight. For example, if you weighed 60kg, you would need around 48grams of protein per day.
If you are an older adult, athlete, bodybuilder, recovering from an injury or a physically active, you may need more than that. And therefore some people advise you should have up to 1.3g of protein per kg of body weight. Which means if you weigh 60kg, you could need up to 78g of protein. I think you should aim for somewhere in between 0.8g and 1.3g of protein per kg, depending on your lifestyle.
The thing to remember is you can't use more protein than your body needs. Excess protein will be broken down by the body, the energy portion burned and the excess with be expelled in the urine. The sad thing is protein can't be stored, so you need to eat it every day, and I recommend sine with each meal. You can't just eat as much protein in one day as you can and say you are good for the rest of the week.
Do You Need Protein Powder?
I initially thought it would be hard to get enough protein on a plant-based diet, but you can easily do it without protein powder. So the short answer is no, you don't need it. However, it can also be time-consuming and confusing to work out how much protein you are having in each meal and if it is enough for the day. Which is why I like to have a smoothie with some protein powder in it most days, or I also use it in protein balls, baking and other cooking.
If you think you need more protein in your diet and don't want to worry about counting grams of protein in each meal, protein powder can be an excellent option to help you out. However, supplements like a protein powder should never be the only way you get protein. You will also want to get it from plant-based foods naturally.
How To Pick A Protein Powder?
There are so many different types of protein powder out there, but I want you first to cut out any protein powders that are derived from animal products. While they are harming animals and the environment, they most likely aren't doing any good for you either. For example, they are often hard to digest and lack nutrient density. Most of these protein powders are also made from some sort of dairy such a whey and did you know that at least 65% of the adult population has some kind of dairy intolerance. I remember when I cut out dairy a few years ago, I felt so much better, no more bloating, flatulence or nausea.
Even if you are not on a plant-based diet, I recommend using a plant-based protein powder as it will give you a carefree, worry-free option that you know won't provide you with tummy issues.
In saying that, there is one plant-based protein I like to advise people to avoid, and that is soy. While it is high in protein and is the only complete plant-based protein that contains all nine essential amino acids, it is also a prevalent allergen. Even if you are not allergic to it and have it continual, it can mess with your hormones. Therefore I say it's a no go as you probably are already having enough of it in other ways. By doing this, you are also widening your nutrient profiles. For example, you will also be getting a broader range of omegas, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and more!
Instead, I recommend finding a plant-based protein powder that has a variety of protein sources. For example, the one I use is made up of peas, rice and cranberries.
You next want to see if it has a low glycemic index. This will mean that it has no refined sugars and won't cause a spike in blood sugar. Which is a significant health factor when managing craving and overall health.
Now that we know what we want in a protein powder, it's time to make a note of what we don't want in there. For example, you don't want anything artificial such as artificial flavours, colours or sweeteners. You also want to choose one that is cholesterol and saturated-fat free. Possible even without GMO's, and gluten. While gluten isn't bad; it is also a common allergen and can often make people feel bloated, so if it doesn't have it I think you have made the right choice.
I know that is so much to remember so here is a little list for you that you can go through.
Gl Labs Certified (does it have a low glycemic index)
Low Allergen Potential
Number Of Minerals
Hopefully, this will help you choose the perfect protein powder for you. If you are interested in how the protein powder I use stacks up, have a look below.
Protein Type: Pea, rice, cranberry
Protein Amount: 20g per serve
Vegan Certified: Yes
Gl Labs Certified (does it have a low glycemic index): Yes
Gluten-Free Certified: Yes
Low Allergen Potential: Yes
Minerals: 12 minerals
Artificial Flavours: No
Artificial Colours: No
Artificial Sweeteners: No
Saturated Fat: No
I honestly love this protein powder, and it comes in different flavours, which help me create new and exciting smoothies every day. If you want to find out more about my protein powder, feel free to contact me through my Facebook Page.
What you should do now
I have been where you are and I have women all over the world (just like you) transition to eating a plant-based diet. If you are looking for a guide to help you find the healthiest way to eat, check out these blog posts it is a great place to start.
If you are interested in weight loss, download this fantastic FREE Mini Weight Loss Guide and other resources.
If you would like to fast track your weight loss, check out my Weight Loss Starter Kit.
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