Can you imagine living without a protein powder? Can you even make smoothies and pancakes without it? So many people are using protein powders nowadays, that I thought it was time to write something about it. I will explain to you what protein powders are, if they are necessary, what different protein powders there are available, what you need to know and consider when you are choosing a protein powder and what protein powder I personally recommend.
WHAT IS PROTEIN POWDER?
The first thing I want to say about protein powder is that it’s actually nothing more than a clever marketing trick. When you tell people that they need more and more protein, before they become protein deficient or that it’s the only way to build proper muscle, people will start to believe you eventually. This is exactly the case when it comes to protein powder. A lot of people are into fitness these days and this made the protein powder market explode! People now believe that you cannot build muscle without consuming a protein shake straight after your work out or that you need to consume all 9 essential amino acids (protein) at once for our body to actually use it. This isn’t true. As long as you consume enough protein and a variety of protein sources during the day, your body will be just fine.
But in short: Protein powder is a dietary supplement, mostly used by athletes, to meet their need for (extra) protein.
DO YOU NEED A PROTEIN POWDER?
In my opinion protein powders are just a crazy hype and the average person does not need it. Am I against protein powders? No! I am even using some myself now and again.
How much protein do you need:
Most people who eat a healthy and varied diet, with enough calories, do not have to worry about their protein intake. When you eat a balanced diet like that, you will most of the time even consume more protein than necessary. This is when you live a normal life with an average amount of exercise. When you exercise quite a lot you will need to increase your food/calorie intake. This actually automatically makes sure that your protein intake increases as well. So if you are going to the gym a few times a week just to stay fit and you make sure you watch your food intake, you are fine.
It changes a little bit when you are an athlete. When you train on a daily basis, you want your body to recover quickly. Extra protein can help. This doesn’t mean that you need to go crazy on your protein intake, but especially when you want to stay lean, an extra protein shake a day can be helpful. This way you are helping your muscles to recover quickly (without consuming too much fat and carbs), so you’re ready for the next training.
It’s recommended to consume 0.8 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight. This is for the average person, which means that you need about 46-56 grams of protein a day. For athletes it’s recommended to consumes 1.6 – 1.8 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight. Note, that your body weight is the body weight that is your healthy body weight. When you are over or underweight, you don’t calculate the kg’s you lack or your excess weight.
When do you use a protein powder:
Before I will answer this questions, I want to make sure that, as a nutritionist, I first of all would always recommend you to consume protein by eating proper food. By proper food I mean whole food plant based food. This is always better than a protein powder. I don’t want to go into this subject too much for now, but very short: One of the main reasons why this is important, is because, 1 type of food isn’t only protein or only carbs, but it contains a lot more nutrients that are all very valuable. The reason why a varied diet is so important, is because all these nutrients work together. One can’t be absorbed without the other etc. So always make sure that you eat a varied diet, because that is the base of a healthy diet.
I love smoothie bowls! I especially love to eat these for lunch (which is technically my breakfast as I do intermittent fasting on most days). Just a smoothie bowl and whatever I will have for dinner, wouldn’t give me enough protein for that day. So, this is actually the only occasion where I use a protein powder. To just add some extra protein to a bowl full of other nutrients. I mainly do this on days that I work out or when I have a busy day. On days that I don’t work out, but I do eat a smoothie bowl, I don’t always add the extra protein.
On days where you’re asking a lot from your body, you might also want to consume a little extra protein, to support your muscles a little extra. So maybe during a day of hiking or before/after a huge work out. Add some protein powder to your pancakes, flapjacks or drink it as a smoothie/shake.
When you are an athlete and you are training on a daily basis, consuming enough protein is a must. You want your muscles to recover quickly, so they are ready for the next training. A lot of athletes are way too obsessed about protein though. You just need enough, not a crazy amount. A daily scoop of protein powder on top of a varied diet is a good idea and gives you a nice top up. That varied diet should also contain extra protein coming from food, like: beans, lentils and tempeh etc. Because, again, the focus on getting most of your protein from the whole foods you eat is super important.
CHOOSING A PROTEIN POWDER:
When you want to use a protein powder, the most important thing is to choose well, which means: choose quality! There are so many different protein powders available, all claiming that they are the best. This makes it quite hard to choose. Because how do you know you are picking something nutritious and not something that does more harm than good? Most protein powders are made with whey powder (this comes from dairy), but nowadays there is also a whole range of plant based protein powders available.
Whey vs Plant Based:
Whey is one of the 2 main types of protein in dairy milk. The other one is casein. To make cheese, these 2 proteins are separated. The whey (the watery part) is the by-product. Whey powder is highly processed.
Plant Based protein can come from a lot of different sources, but the leading types are: soy beans, hemp seeds and peas. By removing most of the fat and the carbs and by isolating the protein you get plant based protein. There are also raw powders, which is a lot less processed.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN PROTEIN POWDER:
For anyone who is looking for a protein powder, I’m sure the first thing you look at is the protein content. Understandable! And this isn’t wrong, but make sure that this is not your only criteria. It is important that your protein powder is coming from a good source, that it’s high quality and that there aren’t any nasty fillers, sugars, sweeteners or other additives. Always check things like this before you decide to put it in your body.
Personally I find it very important that I know that the carbon footprint is as low as possible and that the company that makes the protein powder is an honest company that wants to do good in the world. I also always appreciate it when there is a bit of fibre in the powder and anything that makes the protein powder better as in: added vitamins and mineral for example.
WHEY vs PERFORM:
To show you the difference, I compared the average whey powder with the plant based protein powder Perform. I wrote down some of the biggest differences and similarities.
-Comes from animals and therefore alone it’s harming your body, as it’s unnatural to consume milk coming from another species + after your body doesn’t need it anymore.
-Is harsh on the environment as the animal agriculture industry is responsible for at least 18% of the world’s carbon footprint.
-Makes animals suffer and being killed.
-Is mostly a little higher in protein.
-Contains all 9 essential amino acids.
-The BCAA often comes from duck feathers, kitten fur, horse hair and there are even reports saying it comes from human hair.
-Is very low in (added) fibre or doesn’t contain fibre at all.
-Can contain a lot of sugar and/or artificial sweeteners.
-Can contain a lot of fillers and other additives.
-Can contain heavy metals.
-Sourced from the highest quality ingredients and batch test to ensure it’s 100% safe.
-Contains hormones and can contain antibiotics.
-Often makes you feel bloated and it can give you other digestive issues (cramps, loose stools etc.).
-Very common to trigger acne or any other skin issues.
-Has a negative impact on your gut health.
-Is very highly processed.
-Plastic (sometimes recyclable) packaging.
-Comes from plants and therefore your body can handle it well.
-Has a small carbon footprint.
-Does not harm animals.
-Is a little lower in protein than most whey versions.
-Made with real food ingredients.
-Contains all 9 amino acids.
-The BCAA is coming from plants only.
-Contains fibre, which can help by digestion.
-Is enhanced with an enzyme complex for better absorption.
-Uses stevia as a sweetener.
-Doesn’t contain any fillers/additives.
-It’s third party tested for heavy metals and other contaminants.
-Is easy on your digestive system thanks to the fermentation process.
-Doesn’t have a negative impact on your gut.
-Contains added turmeric extract to optimise recovery (so cool!).
-Is 100% raw and minimally processed.
-100% biodegradable (home compostable) packaging.*
-Scoopless!!! You can order a scoop separately (less plastic!).
-Free UK shipping for orders over £60.
-30 day money back guarantee.
-Made in the UK.
*Some of their packaging is still plastic, but the transition is happening as ‘we speak’.
WHAT I RECOMMEND:
I used to have the vanilla flavoured, raw protein powder from ‘Garden of Life’. I really like the taste and I think it is one of the better protein powders available. Until now.. because I discovered Perform from Vivo Life. It was recommended to me by Seb Alex (an animal rights activist who I respect very much) and after doing a bit of research I decided to give it a go. Good timing as well, because my container from Garden of Life was nearly finished. Perform has so much benefits, that every time I discovered another awesome thing, I thought it couldn’t get any better, but every time it did get better. This inspired me to write about protein powders and to share this awesome brand with you. I get asked about protein powders and protein in general quite often and I really hope that this will help you.
I ordered the madagascar vanilla flavour (as Seb said it was the best best best best), but they do offer more flavours: raw cacao, salted maca caramel, acai & blueberry and banana & cinnamon. But apart from that the taste of the madagascar vanilla was very nice indeed, I love everything about this protein powder. The taste is important of course and I love how natural it tastes. This makes it perfect for anything and gives you the freedom to add other flavours as well. All of the suppliers meet strict EU compliance and quality control standards, and grow according to the VGANIC brand promise. Another thing that I really like is that their packaging is 100% compostable (transitioning) and that for ever bag they sell via their website, they plant a tree (80.000+ trees are planted already). They do this for the purpose of reforestation, agroforestry and reducing extreme poverty for local villagers. And if this isn’t incredible enough, they offset all their carbon emissions to renewable energy projects around the world to support a cleaner and greener future AND they also donate 20p per sale to Street Games Charity. Amazing!
Perform Nutritional Facts:
Perform is all raw and all plant based. In every scoop (2 heaped tbs = 36gr) there is 25 gr of protein and 6gr of BCAA (Leucine, Isoleucine, Valin). They also use a turmeric (95% curcuminoids) extract to optimise recovery. The pea protein is fermented for better digestion and the hemp protein is cold processed, these are enhanced with an enzyme complex (ginger extract, papain, peppermint leaf and black pepper extract) for better absorption.
They don’t only do Perform protein powders, they also do vitamins, supplements and other amazing health products. Go check it out HERE.
DISCOUNT: Whatever you order from their website, please use the code: ‘SEB10’ . This way you get a 10% discount and you also help fighting for animals rights, as Seb Alex gets a percentage as well. This is a typical situation of a win win win!
NOTE: This is not an add, I did not get payed to write this. I am just an enthousiast!
Are you already using Perform or anything else from VivoLife? Are you going to try it? Do you have any questions? Ask me anything and please let me know all about your experience, I would love to hear it! You can do this by commenting down below or via my Instagram account @FreedomEvermore. Thank you! X