I’m having a protein shake. That’s healthy, right?
Have you ever really read the ingredients list on the back of one of those protein powder mixes or protein bars? You might be surprised by what you find. Ingredients are listed in order of greatest to least – the ingredient that comprises most of the product will be listed first, second, and so on.
The first few ingredients probably won’t seem too foreign – whey or soy protein, fructose or sugar, cocoa powder, etc. – but if you keep going you may not be able to pronounce many of the ingredients. The lower the quality of protein powder (i.e. cheap) the worse the ingredients. What surprised me even more was not only the vast array of artificial preservatives and food coloring, but the amount of refined sugar! Especially when sugar is the second ingredient listed. Sure it has 20 grams of protein per serving, but so does a can of tuna fish (25 grams, actually).
Lots of protein won’t cancel out lots of sugar, folks.
I’m generalizing a little, and don’t want to knock anyone’s success with a quality protein supplement (one free of preservatives, artificial colors, and artificial sweeteners). If you want to purchase a high quality, gluten free, soy free protein powder blend, PlantFusion has high quality and healthy ingredients at a reasonable price. You can get it here.
What’s wrong with soy?
I prefer to stay away from soy products as much as possible. Many of the powdered protein mixes rely on soy protein as a base as do many vegan foods. There have been many studies on the pros and cons of soy-based products. Personally, I lean more toward the cons and find that my body doesn’t like it much.
…soybean contains large quantities of natural toxins or “antinutrients.” First among them are potent enzyme inhibitors that block the action of trypsin and other enzymes needed for protein digestion.
These inhibitors are large, tightly folded proteins that are not completely deactivated during ordinary cooking. They can produce serious gastric distress, reduced protein digestion and chronic deficiencies in amino acid uptake. In test animals, diets high in trypsin inhibitors cause enlargement and pathological conditions of the pancreas, including cancer.14 Soybeans also contain haemagglutinin, a clot-promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together.
Read the full article here
So I decided, why not make my own!
I decided it may be cheaper to use what I’ve already got in the pantry and I won’t have any concerns about questionable ingredients. Besides, if I’m getting my butt kicked at the gym or on a long run I want to replenish my body with stuff it can really use to recover and get stronger. Not having all that excess sugar will also help if you’re trying to lose some extra weight or eat clean.
Instead of some complicated mixture of isolated proteins, I chose things I could find in my home that were already packing the protein. This is a base that when added to your favorite smoothie fixings (or made into protein balls) will up your protein intake in a healthy, real-food kind of way. I broke it down and did a ton of research and found that this combination makes the best tasting, most protein packed combo.
You’ll get roughly the same protein amount per serving as those big overly priced fructose and preservative filled ones (approximately 18 grams in a 1/3 cup serving.) You do get more protein from the dairy powdered milk than the coconut milk so if using coconut milk just know that you’ll be closer to 14 grams of protein per serving. However, once you add in some PB2, a banana, and spinach in your smoothie you’ll have plenty of protein to get your day started and keep you full.
Homemade Protein Powder
Makes about 9 servings of 1/3 cup
- 1/2 cup oats (certified gluten free)
- 1/2 cup almond meal (blanched is best)
- 2/3 cup powdered milk (this brand is low in lactose) or 1 cup Coconut Milk Powder
- 1/3 cup hemp seeds
- 2 tbsp. chia seeds
- 1 tbsp. flax seed
In a food processor combine the oats and pulse until it reaches a flour consistency. Add in remaining ingredients and pulse a few more times until everything is powdery smooth. Now you can leave it like that or you can add in some flavoring. FYI: if you opt to add in some PB2 powder you’ll be upping your protein even more, other wise everything else is just calorie free flavoring.
- 1/4 tsp. (or to taste) Stevia Powder
- 3 tbsp. cocao powder
- 4 tbsp. PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter
- 2 tsp. vanilla powder (I get mine through THRIVE Life)
Once everything’s blended together just put a lid on it and store in the fridge. The cool temperature will help your protein powder keep longer – no preservatives needed, thank you very much! Just take it out and scoop a 1/3 cup into your smoothie in the morning and return to the fridge. If you religiously have a smoothie every single morning, this one batch will last you just over a week.