Protein powders and how to chose the right one for you …

prana-1

 

There are so many protein powders on the market making all sorts of claims.
Weight loss. Muscle gains. Improved stamina. The list goes on. So how do you know which is the best product for you ?

What’s important is to know how much protein you need, how much you can safely digest and what form of protein powder works best for your body.

When choosing a protein powder consider the following :

Look for a quality product. You usually do get what you pay for. Those super cheap supermarket powders are often filled with artificial sweeteners, flavours, additives and colours. All of which reduce the amount of quality protein in your powder and are things we all should be generally trying to avoid in our foods.

Look for a complete protein. There is a misconception that plant based proteins are not complete and therefore not usable to the body. Good quality protein powders, whether they are plant or dairy based, should have a balanced profile meaning that the necessary amino acids for them to be usable by the body are present.

Many people find that whey based proteins can cause digestive upset – bloating, flatulence, diarrhoea or cramping. Plant based proteins can be a better option for those who find dairy based proteins difficult to digest. Good quality plant based proteins often contain amino acids making them even more efficiently digested and far less likely to cause digestive issues.

Take care with the amount of protein per serve when choosing your protein source. For most people 20-30mg of protein per serve is enough and all that the body is able to digest and use at any given time. Products with more than this amount per serve can be a waste of money as anything over this amount can tax kidney function and usually gets flushed through your system quickly without actually providing any extra benefit.

My preferred protein powder is Prana Protein and this is the only protein product I stock. It is plant based, has amino acids included and there is a wide range of products depending on what you are trying to achieve. As an added bonus they taste delicious and work well in other recipes like protein balls. Recipes below …

How to eat protein balls and still be able to pay your mortgage….

Lemon Coconut Protein Balls … a variation on a well loved theme …

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No time for breakfast…

smoothie with blueberries, banana and cereal

Are mornings a stress filled rush hour for you ??? Getting ready for work, school or uni, making lunches, feeding children, finding sports uniforms, feeding pets, hanging out washing … Things can feel pretty frantic. Not the best way to start the day.Your cortisol levels are naturally at their highest in the mornings so adding in a frantic schedule can cause a skyrocket of stress hormones.

You have two choices – streamline what you need to do or get up earlier. Either way you need to make time for breakfast. When you skip breakfast your body is literally running on empty and the effects can be hard and wide reaching.

As I said, cortisol levels are highest around 7am. When you eat breakfast your levels decrease and you can avoid that jittery, anxious, nervous feeling that often comes mid morning when you’ve not eaten.

You also need to eat to restore glycogen and level out blood sugars. This has a positive effect on your mood, hunger and helps avoid that ‘hangry’ feeling where your body is crying out for sustenance and making you irritable and cranky.

Regularly missing breakfast is also associated with increased risks of heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure and increases your risk of weight gain/obesity.

When you skip meals, especially breakfast, your body can go into famine mode and start trying to store energy. Eating breakfast helps you to avoid this and increases your metabolism throughout the day making weight management easier.

The best breakfasts include some protein, healthy carb and  fats e.g. eggs, avocado, oats, nut butters. If that all sounds like an impossible dream why not give a smoothie a go. Its ready in minutes, you can take it with you, it suits those people who don’t really feel all that hungry in the morning and, when made well, has all the things you need to power you through till lunch.

My current obsession is with Prana protein powders which are plant based and taste fantastic. For a super smoothie which provides you with fibre, carbs, good fats, hormone balancing effects, blood sugar modulation, antioxidant rich berries and is completely delicious give this one a go ….I sometimes can’t wait till morning so will have it for dinner too but that’s another story….

Ripe organic blueberry. prana

My favourite breakfast smoothie

1/2 frozen banana
lots of ice
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup water, add more as necessary to get the consistency you like
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 heaped tablespoon of vanilla creme or coconut Prana protein powder
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon maca and cacao powder

Place all of this in your blender, whiz it up and you’re good to go.

You can play around with the fruits and milks to find what you like best.

Asian Omelette … dinner that tastes great, is good for you and ready in 10 minutes …

omelette

You’re driving home, it’s only 5pm but it’s already dark, it’s cold and you want something quick and yummy and good for you.

Here it is … Asian Omelette …. full of vegetables, protein and flavour.

Whisk together :

6 eggs
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon of besan (chickpea four) (optional but it does taste good and holds things together well)
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Filling :

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 clove garlic
6 spring onions
1 cup chopped mushrooms
2 cups of snow peas
1 small head broccoli chopped into small florets
2 cups Asian greens – bok choy, pak choy

Heat oils in wok, add broccoli, mushrooms and garlic and cook over medium heat for a few minutes – you don’t want to burn the garlic. Add spring onion, snow peas then lastly add Asian greens and fry till wilted. Turn off heat.

Heat a small frypan or omelette pan and lightly coat with oil. Pour in 1/2 cup egg mixture and swirl around pan. Cook over high heat and flip when almost cooked through. Remove to plate, spoon over vegetable mix and fold omelette over itself.

Top with crushed peanuts, coriander, mint, mung bean sprouts and a drizzle of ketchup manis or oyster sauce.

Lemon Coconut Protein Balls … a variation on a well loved theme …

lemon ball

There are lots of lemons on our tree at the moment so I thought it was time to start using them. Like everyone I know at the moment, I have a bit of a cold and have been drinking lots of honey and lemon tea and some of these little happy snacks should go very nicely with that. Can’t beat tea, a yummy snack and a good book in bed when you’re feeing a bit poorly.

Lots of people have told me that they love the protein balls recipe  (https://naturocath.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/how-to-eat-protein-balls-and-still-be-able-to-pay-your-mortgage/) and the hippy lamingtonshttps://naturocath.wordpress.com/author/naturocath/) so I thought I’d share a variation on this theme.

I made a batch of these this afternoon and they are happily chillin’ in the fridge for later on when the urge takes me.

Lemon Coconut Protein Balls 

2 cups raw cashews
1 1/2 cups desiccated coconut ( I toasted mine in a pan to make it super yummy but untoasted is ok )
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons coconut oil , soft but not melted
Juice and rind of 2 lemons, limes or one of each
2 tablespoons vanilla protein powder

Extra 3/4 cup coconut for rolling – I toasted this too. Go on, do it, it tastes so much better !

Place cashews in a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover. Leave for at least 30 mins.

Place drained cashews and all other ingredients into a food processor and blend until combined and mostly smooth but not quite like a nut butter. Roll heaped teaspoons of this mixture into balls and roll in toasted coconut.

Chill in the fridge.

NB. Depending on the juiciness of your lemons you may need to adjust the amount of coconut or liquid you use but this is a very forgiving recipe so don’t get too worried about being precise.