When it comes to finding a fitness routine that works best for you, it can take some trial and error. Whether you’re a running at the beach, lifting weights before work, or an evening Pilates class kind of lady, we can all agree that it took a little practice and a lot of sweat to get to the level that we’re at today. Even though we may be settled into a workout groove, we’re always looking for ways to enhance our strength and improve our productivity. After all, we only have one body and we want to make sure that we’re treating it kindly and giving it all the exercise and nutrients it needs to sustain us.
That brings us to the topic of today’s blog post. You’ve probably noticed just how common protein shakers are around the gym or have even seen the endless rows of protein powder options at your local health food store. So, what’s the deal? We know that there is often a stigma against protein powder, and many ladies have the misconception that it’s just for those insanely buff guys who live at the gym. But that’s just not the case. Protein powders are a great way to give our bodies the essential nutrients they need to rebuild cells as well as enhance muscle growth and recovery after a workout. Since there are so many types of protein powders on the market right now, we’ve recruited LaurenConrad.com’s go-to nutritionist Kelly LeVeque to help explain yet another health and fitness related topic that we want to dive deeper into.
Let’s start off with a quick dietary lesson. Protein is a crucial part of our diet that we cannot afford to miss, whether or not you work out. Protein powder is a great way for us to meet our daily protein intake while feeding our bodies the amino acids it needs to break down and create new cells. You also need to know that there are many different types of protein powders. So instead of picking one at random, Kelly has provided us with some tips and pointers on everything you need to know about your new best friend…
What You Should Be Looking For
Not all protein powders are created equal. First are foremost, you want to choose an option with minimal ingredients. Protein powders with more ingredients run the risk of being less clean and pure. Simple protein powders give you the opportunity to build upon them, especially if you’re adding them into a meal or smoothie where you can add whole foods, healthy fats, and fiber sources. Tip: If you can get it, choosing an organic protein powder is your best bet. But just know that even if a protein powder isn’t deemed “organic,” it can still be just as good for you.
The second criteria that you want to look for in your protein powder is sweeteners. Sweeteners like monk fruit and stevia are great, but any other sweeteners can reduce the healthfulness of your protein powder. Opting for a protein powder with little to no sweetener allows you to sweeten it up yourself with healthy ingredients like cacao powder, vanilla powder, or fruit. If you’re unsure about whether you’ll enjoy the flavor or want to see how a protein powder will make you feel, you can always purchase individual packets and try them out.
Types of Protein Powders
Now that we’ve covered a couple key elements to consider before choosing a protein, it’s time to dive into some of the options that are on the market. Choosing a protein powder is purely up to preference, and sometimes even trial and error. Kelly gave us a little rundown of pros and cons when it comes to four of the most popular types of protein. Keep reading to get the scoop…
1. Whey Protein
When choosing a whey protein, it’s best to choose grass fed over non-grass fed. This lessens the chance of toxins being held in the protein powder. Keep in mind that whey proteins contain dairy, which is on the top seven food allergies list. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, whey protein is going to be your go-to.
2. Paleo Protein
Similar to whey protein, choosing grass fed paleo protein is going to be your healthiest bet. Always look for 100% pasteurized beef protein because it lessens the chance of heavy metals contaminating your protein. For those interested, Kelly recommends this paleo protein powder.
3. Collagen Protein
Collagen proteins are gaining in popularity. Most of you may be familiar with collagen’s anti-aging elements, but it does more than help you retain that youthful glow. Collagen protein has four essential amino acids which your body can absorb in their whole form. By taking this protein it lowers your body’s need for producing and synthesizing it in a cell.
4. Vegetable-Based Protein
To start, plant proteins are a great way for vegans and vegetarians to get the protein that they need. While vegetable-based proteins can provide your body with the essential amino acids it needs to rebuild cells and promote muscle growth, it is best to be aware that there is an increased chance of heavy metal toxicity in these protein powders. Whatever is being absorbed by the plant in the ground is going to be present in that plant. Kelly recommends yellow pea protein because it lowers the risk of heavy metal toxicity. Kelly recommends this vegetable-based protein for those that are interested!
Overall, protein powders are a choose your own adventure experience. Be mindful of your dietary restrictions or preferences when choosing a protein powder and move on if one doesn’t seem right for you. Ultimately, you should be incorporating a healthy protein powder into your daily routine, even if you aren’t spending all your free time at the gym. Our bodies need essential amino acids to rebuild cells, and protein powder is an excellent way to help your body along.
Like always, we want to give a huge thank you to our nutritionist Kelly LeVeque for providing us with the information we need to treat our bodies the right way. And you heard it here first…Kelly is coming out with a protein powder of her own in the near future, so stay tuned!
Do you use protein powder? Which one is your favorite?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
XO Team LC