Like every nutrition topic out there, the use of protein powders is highly debatable. From ingredient lists to where they are sourced, from how the body uses them to whether we need them at all, just google the topic and you’ll get sucked right in. Obviously protein from grass-fed or pastured animals or wild-caught seafood is ideal. But sometimes that’s not easy to do. And that’s where protein powders can come in for a boost.
The best way to share why I love using them is to share how I’ve seen them help my family and my clients.
My Favorite Protein Powders
First, let’s talk about my favorite protein powders. You all know I only use and recommend high-quality supplements.
SP Complete by Standard Process — This is a whey-based protein that comes in unflavored, chocolate, and vanilla. I personally prefer the flavors, though the unflavored one is great when mixed into a smoothie. Check out the ingredients and nutrient profile here.
Dynamic Paleo Protein — This one is a beef-based protein that contains no lactose/dairy. It has a great flavor and blends well. It also comes in chocolate and vanilla. Check out the ingredients and nutrient profile here. To order NutriDyn products, check out our shop page.
Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Powders — Honestly these aren’t MY favorite, as I don’t love the taste. However, our clients love them, and many people like this option in lieu of making their own bone broth. These powders are paleo (dairy-free) and include collagen and 18 amino acids. Check out the ingredients and nutrient profile here. You can find this protein powder online or at your local health food store.
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides — Collagen has become increasingly popular in the last few years, and for good reason. This supplement boasts 20 grams of high-quality, grass-fed, paleo-friendly, bioavailable protein. It helps increase joint mobility as an anti-inflammatory agent. Many women find it great for hair and nail growth as well.
This stuff is so versatile, I put it in my kids’ popsicles, granola bars, coffee, smoothies, and really anything else I can think of! It dissolves in hot or cold liquids and is essentially tasteless (truly!). Grab some next time you’re in the office, or find it online or at most major grocery stores.
For the Athlete in Your Family
A protein powder might be just the thing to round out an athlete’s diet. It’s perfect for a post-workout or post-game protein fix to repair and build muscle. In the case of the Dynamic Paleo Protein, you also get a nice medium-chain fatty acid boost. Reminding your body to burn fat instead of its own lean muscle mass is a good idea, and a quality protein powder can support your body in doing that.
For Your Busy, On-the-Go Lifestyle
I’m a huge proponent of eating real food, so when possible sit down to consume your meals. Your digestive health depends upon you not wolfing down your food, lest you welcome bloating and gas soon after. Many of us wear several hats: we are parents, we have full-time jobs or are entrepreneurs, we volunteer, we care for extended family, and we are on the go. Though I don’t suggest using these as a meal replacement (unless you’re doing the Standard Process 21-Day Purification Program), I do find them handy to have when you’d be skipping breakfast or lunch because you don’t have time to make something or need something to tide you over.
The shake and go (with a blender bottle) aspect of protein powders makes them super versatile and easy to use. You could throw a blender bottle with powder into your bag or car if you’ll be out and about all day, so aren’t tempted to pull into a drive thru or make poor food choices when you get home because you got too hungry.
For Pregnancy and Postpartum Recovery
A good protein powder can be really helpful in pregnancy. You’ll hear some people say we shouldn’t drink our calories, though here’s my take: If you’re not going to eat because you’re too nauseous, full, or hot, a smoothie with fresh or frozen produce with some protein powder may mean the difference between your blood sugar crashing and/or feeling too tired to function. Because it’s a liquid you can sip on it over time and slowly get the nutrients your body needs.
If we aren’t supposed to drink our calories, then why the heck are we supposed to throw back bone broth and consume lots of soups? Yes, they are incredibly healing, but with the right ingredients, so can be a smoothie with protein powder.
I don’t suggest consuming more than one of these per day in pregnancy. Use them to make life a bit easier on yourself.
In my postpartum recovery (I’m 20 months post and still consider myself in recovery mode), they are an integral part of my daily regimen because my body composition always gets out of whack with breastfeeding after about 14 months. I’ll do just about anything to keep nursing as it’s something of huge benefit to both he and I, though I need my self-care to be on point, as I lose weight pretty quickly and almost lose too much. This additional protein boost with the added foods I include (greens, nut/seed butters, coconut oil, etc.) is so helpful in adjusting my body composition back to a normal balance.
For Your Kids
My kids have always liked smoothies and protein shakes (and frankly just about anything I’m putting energy into making for myself). If you’ve got picky eaters, this can work really well. If they have a sensitivity to cold, just use room temperature water to mix their protein powder so they can drink it right up.