You hear about it all the time. Protein helps you build muscle. Protein helps you lose weight. Use this protein powder. Use that protein powder. “Get 15% off with my code, link in bio.” “This is the next big thing in protein.” It’s everywhere. So where do we get started?
Well, let’s begin at the root: Proteins. Proteins are complex molecules made from a set of amino acids. Our body will break down proteins into their essential amino acids so that they can be absorbed into our cells. This helps our cells regroup the amino acids into proteins that are functional and help build muscle and carry out enzymatic reactions. (But you already knew that right?)
There are many ways to consume protein. There’s protein in eggs, meats, peanuts, yogurt, fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, the list goes on and on. One easy way to get your protein intake is through protein powder. It’s convenient as you can take a couple of scoop and add it to liquids such as water, cow milk, almond milk, etc. There are plenty of recipes only you can find online so you don’t get bored having the same shake day in and day out; combinations of fruit, yogurt, nuts and powders for enhancing nutrition and flavor.
Whey Protein is a mixture of proteins that comes from whey. Whey is the liquid part of milk that diverges during cheese production. Easy visual: when you open a container of yogurt, it’s the liquid on top, that’s whey. It doesn’t taste very good, that’s probably why you take your spoon and mix it in with the yogurt. Whey used to get thrown out until cheese makers discovered they could use it to make money.
Whey protein is great because it absorbs quickly. It helps rebuild muscle fibers after a great workout. It’s an easy way to add protein to your diet if you’re lacking in that section of the food pyramid. If you’re a bit heavier than you’d like to be, whey protein helps you feel full longer making it easier to consume less calories in a day. Make a protein shake with some whey and use it as a meal replacement. Whey is also relatively inexpensive. You can find some great whey protein supplements at places like Vitamin Shoppe or GNC.
Benefits of Whey Protein:
Assists in Post Workout Recovery
Promotes Lean Muscle Development
Rebuild Muscle Fibers
Plant Protein is protein that comes from plants! Go figure. You can find protein in foods like legumes, nuts and seeds. A common question that us vegetarians get is “If you don’t eat meat, how do you get your protein?” Well there you go.
“Complete Protein” refers to amino acids (you know the building blocks of protein.) There are 20 different amino acids and 9 of them (tryptophan, threonine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, valine and histidine) that our bodies cannot make on their own. These 9 are called essential amino acids. Us vegetarians can get all 20 amino acids without having to resort to animal products. We just have to eat a combination of legumes, nuts and seeds in a day. One easy way to get in all 20 amino acids is with a plant protein supplement. A great supplement I use is Zija’s source of plant protein. (They also have a chocolate plant protein that tastes great!) It’s a blend of pea protein, rice protein and moringa protein (moringa was named 2018’s superfood by Good Morning America!) This plant protein is gluten free, soy free and vegan. Incredible stuff!
Conclusion: So which protein wins? Whey Protein or Plant Protein?
The answer is: Whichever protein works best for you!
If you prefer whey protein that’s great for you! If you prefer plant protein, that’s also great! If you’re just looking for a meal replacement, see what you like! If you’re looking to build muscle, I’d recommend whey protein (unless you’re vegetarian or vegan.) If you are vegetarian or vegan, definitely go with plant protein. Win in your own way! Conquer your health goals!
Following are some recipes for you to try! You can substitute one protein for another in these recipes.
Whey Granola Bars
1 cup of Oats
¼ tsp Salt
½ cup Nut Butter
½ cup Honey
½ tsp of Cinnamon Powder
Handful of Mini Chocolate Chips
2 scoops of Chocolate Whey Protein Powder
Mix ingredients. Lay out on pan. Freeze for at least one hour. Cut them into granola bars.
Protein Oat No-Bake Cookies
1 cup of Chocolate Plant Protein
1 cup of Peanut Butter
1 cup of Organic Oats
½ cup Honey
⅓ cup mini chocolate chips
Mix ingredients and form into cookie shape. Store in the refrigerator.