Before I made the commitment to eating only real/whole foods, I would add protein powder to my morning
smoothie. I did this in part because I was riding my bike 5 miles uphill to work everyday and was concerned that my smoothie wouldn’t get me to my next meal. I also had the vague notion that protein was good to consume before exercising, and that it would give my body something to work on for longer. Essentially protein powder was something that I was putting into my body without really knowing why or having done the research. So, here’s the quick skinny on protein powders and why smoothies are just fine without them, as well as my two favorite flavor combinations.
Protein powders are made from 4 basic sources, whey (milk) egg, soy and rice. The two that I see most often are whey and/or soy based. I try to minimize my soy intake, especially with current debate about how plant estrogens in soy affect hormone levels in both men and women.
Protein is in nearly everything that we eat. American’s (including myself) are too focused on protein intake, which ultimately leads us to eating too much meat. The average adult needs 45-56 grams of protein a day, the amounts given vary keeping in mind that obviously a 120 pound woman will need less than a 180 man. To give an idea of how easy it is to get that amount, a single egg has 6 grams of protein and 3 ounces of chicken (like one and a half chicken fingers) has 26 grams, ½ cup cooked black beans has 8 grams, ½ cup dry roasted peanuts has 17!
That’s the good news, it’s easy to get. The bad news is that over eating protein can not only harm your kidneys and liver but excess protein turns into fat.
Dairy has lots of protein, and one could make the argument that a glass of milk was in fact the first protein shake since milk has 8 grams of protein per cup. Feel free to stop buying that protein powder you are likely getting enough anyway!
Ginger Orange Smoothie
½ cup yogurt (5 grams protein)
½ cup Orange juice
1/3 cup ice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup blueberries (frozen is fine)
½ cup yogurt (5 grams protein, if using a thick Greek yogurt you may need to add a splash of OJ or milk)
1/3 cup ice
- How to Choose a Protein Powder (nutrition.suite101.com)
- Fast Food Smoothies – Nutrition Facts (fitfiend.com)