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Fitness

Types of Protein Powders from Whey to Vegan

Aug 04, 2017

See why protein is so critical for muscle growth.

Protein powder is a favorite nutrient among dieters, bodybuilders and cleanse aficionados. These powders work by providing the body with one of its most basic building blocks. There are many forms of protein powder available, and each contains several of the amino acids that the body needs for energy and muscle growth.

Protein powder is most absorbable during the first 30 minutes after a vigorous workout. Since a person typically doesn't have much of an appetite after a large amount of exertion, smoothies are a great way to load up on important protein while in that magic body-building zone.

Whey Protein

Whey is one of two main proteins found in dairy products. It is more easily utilized by the human body than the other main dairy protein, casein. Whey is a favorite protein to use because it is easily digestible; after all, it comes from milk, which is made for infants to quickly grow and build muscle. In addition, it is easy and inexpensive to buy, making it a favorite for both bodybuilders and those trying to lose weight with a high-protein diet.

Whey comes in two main forms: whey protein concentrate and whey isolate. Whey protein concentrate is made by separating milk in the traditional cheese-making process into the two components of liquid whey and solid curds, or milk fat and casein. That liquid whey is then dried into the most commonly found style of whey powder. This version is easy to manufacture and therefore tends to be less expensive than whey isolate. One great example is Jarrow Formulas 100% Natural Whey Protein.

Whey protein isolate, or WPI, takes the liquid whey through a special filtration process that removes fat, cholesterol and lactose from the solution. This process makes it possible for those who are lactose intolerant to use whey powder without side effects. One great example of this is California Gold Nutrition SPORT WPI 90.

Whey is a great option for making healthy, high-protein shakes. Try the following recipe for a tasty shake.

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
  • 2 Tbs. sliced almonds
  • 2 Tbs. shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk, unsweetened
  • 5-7 ice cubes

Directions:

Blend powder, milk and ice together to any preferred texture. Top with the nuts and coconut. This makes one serving.

Egg White Protein

Egg white protein is exactly what it sounds like: the dried, powdered form of the whites of a chicken egg. It offers a few benefits over whey protein for some individuals. For those with a lactose allergy, it serves as a fully lactose-free protein powder. While whey isolate removes most of the lactose, trace amounts may remain. Egg white, or albumin, digests at a moderate rate that's different from fast-burning whey or slow-burning casein.

This means that the benefits last a bit longer than a whey protein shake. It is also one of the few complete proteins on the powder market, offering all 10 essential amino acids. Excellent egg white protein powders are available from Now Foods and MRM.

Discover the deliciousness of egg white protein in a tasty smoothie.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 1/3 cup of 100% juice
  • 1 scoop egg white protein

Directions:

Blend all ingredients together in a blender. Makes one serving.

Ready-to-Use Bone Broth

Bone broth is a high-protein broth that is cooked from bones and a small amount of meat. It is simmered long enough to extract much of the collagen, minerals and other nutrients from the bones. It is easy to make it at home, or it can be purchased in a powdered or liquid version.

Bone broth has become a favorite protein for many people. It can be drunk as a savory soup, which is great for those who don't care for sweets. The collagen offers the building blocks for healthy skin, hair and nails. Because of this, it may offer some relief from thinning hair, brittle nails, wrinkles and dermatological issues.

Bone broth is commonly used as an ingredient in savory recipes or drunk as a broth or soup base. However, it can also be used in shakes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop bone broth protein powder
  • 2 Tbs. powdered cocoa
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp. each of carob powder, instant coffee crystals and raw honey
  • 12 ounces coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews

Directions:

Blend all the ingredients. Cut the density by blending with ice, or make it denser by freezing the banana. Makes one serving.

Vegan and Vegetarian Protein 

While meat is a common source of protein for many, the most common protein powders are vegetarian-friendly. Because they are still sources of animal protein, they are not vegan-friendly. However, there is a wide variety of choices when it comes to vegan proteins. Each comes with its own benefits and flavor profiles. Many of these are either sprouted or fermented, which unlocks the access to many nutrients in the food and eases a person's ability to digest them. 

Pea protein powder offers a powerful, highly hypoallergenic protein boost. It offers a wide variety of branched-chain amino acids. It is believed to curb appetite, reduce blood pressure, promote healthy kidneys, thicken muscle and regulate blood sugar. Try Pure Advantage Pure Vegan Pea Protein for a powerful boost of protein.

Brown rice protein powder is another great choice for those who want to lose weight. Packed with antioxidants, it is believed to have excellent benefits for the liver and hormone-balancing agents. Because this does not offer the full suite of amino acids to form a "complete" protein, it is often blended with chia or quinoa.

Soy protein powder is the most commonly used vegan protein available. It is best when fermented and organic as this denatures the xenoestrogen hormones that are naturally present in the plant. These hormones are valued by perimenopausal and post-menopausal women and can help to mitigate symptoms of this life change. Soy offers one of the most budget-friendly and widely available vegan protein sources. Soy is often combined with greens or other plant proteins.

In many cases, vegan protein powders are also blended together to offer a more complete plant-based nutrition source.

Vegan protein powders are great for blending into smoothies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop protein powder of choice
  • 1 small apple
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 Tbs. almond butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup cold water

Directions:

Pulse the oats and water in a blender for a few seconds and then allow to soak for one minute. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Serves one. To make it sweeter, add a touch of raw honey or choose a vanilla protein powder instead.

Other Protein Options

Protein powder is great in a number of other forms as well. It can be added to recipes for cookies, protein bars, muffins or any other baked good. These are great to bring along during long hikes or as a snack during an active day. They not only taste delicious, but they may help to up a person's metabolism and fully activate the body's fat-burning generators. As a result, a person may be able to lose more fat and gain more muscle.

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