Exercise and a post workout protein shake go hand in hand these days. Protein powders and bars are big business and growing. Enter any health food or vitamin store and you will find aisles dedicated to all sorts of powders and bars.
What is one to do? Occasionally protein shakes can be a good way to meet protein needs for athletes and really anyone. But the problem is many people turn to them all to often instead of REAL food sources of protein (eggs, pastured poultry and meat, seafood, and even raw nuts/seeds and some vegetables such as peas or beans). These whole food sources are truly your BEST source for protein but understandably its not always convenient or available.
So with that said occasionally if you mix up a protein shake or grab a bar its fine ( I do it to! ) but you have to be a COMPLETE LABEL DETECTIVE.
**Most all brands are very deceptive claiming to be healthy when they are anything but healthy. Choosing the wrong kind of protein bar or shake can actually be harming your body and all your workout efforts.**
Here is what to AVOID at all costs when choosing a protein powder or bar..
#1 – Soy Protein Isolate (SPI) or soy of ANY kind
#2 – High Fructose Corn Syrup
#3 – Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil
#4 – Sugar Alcohols
#5 – Artificial Sweeteners (Aspartame, acesulfame and sucralose)
Instead look for..
#1 – Clean organic grass fed whey (from cow or goat milk as main ingredient) or a plant based protein source.
The best plant-based protein sources come from those with a complete amino acid profile. This includes: sprouted brown rice protein, raw hemp protein, pea protein, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and spirulina. NOT SOY!
#2 – sweetened with only stevia or fruit sugar
Thats it! THATS ALL! Your ingredients should only read grass fed whey protein powder (or plant based) and possibly stevia. If your ingredients say more than this than unfortunately you most likely have a unhealthy even toxic to your body product. The added vitamins and minerals to bars and shakes are often synthetic and NOT food based. Your body does not even process and assimilate them. You DON’T need a protein powder full of all kinds of supplements.
PROTEIN BARS vary in nutrient content and degree of processing. Many contain refined carbohydrates, highly processed protein isolates, chemicals, sugar and artificial sweeteners. Protein bars should NOT serve as meal replacements.
When choosing a protein bar it should contain high quality whey protein or plant based protein and not have any of the problematic ingredients listed above. Most of the truly healthy bars contain a clean organic protein base, nuts and seeds, and sweetener that is food based such as dates or raw honey.
Bottom line: If you are going to eat protein bars and drink protein shakes you need to be a label detective and NOT buy into false deceptive health claims. These protein supplements should not be consumed solely to lose weight or in replacement of REAL food when available. The right protein bar or shake here or there is fine and can help meet protein needs.
Try my recipe for the ultimate post workout or anytime POWER PROTEIN SHAKE!!
1 scoop Vital Whey,
1 to 1 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk+handful of ice
1-2 pastured organic eggs (do not use conventional store eggs)
1/2 cup organic blueberries or any frozen organic berries
1 TBLS raw almond butter
1 TBLS Chia seeds,
½ banana, plus water if needed to thin a bit
Other add ins you can play around with include dried unsweetened coconut, cacao powder, avocado, or a whole foods greens powder.
Mix in a small blender (I use magic bullet or vitamix) or in a cup with a hand blender until creamy and smooth, Delish, enjoy!
Be Well! 🙂 Susie R.