THE POWER IS IN THE PROTEIN
I learned this the HAAAARRRRDDD way.
The ‘dream machine’ – I've had it since the 5th grade – would chime, and I would quickly roll over in my bed to push the dream bar (aka the snooze button) so I could fall back into a sleepy slumber for just a few more minutes.
From there, with hair in a high ponytail, Birkenstocks on, and a little lip gloss, out the door I would race.
Leaving NO time on my side, I would run to my early morning genetics class all the away across the UBC campus. If I was lucky, I would shimmy into the SUB (student union building) to grab a coffee and a banana nut muffin to bring with me to class.
It was a blood sugar disaster.
By the time I could fin my next snack – somewhere on campus – I would be bonking big time.
Protein was NOT on my radar, especially in the morning.
We have all been this person – our mornings a little crazy – neglecting how our metabolisms are CRAVING the building blocks for energy and vitality and feeling the impact of mindless choices in feeding our bodies based solely on convenience within our busy schedules.
Don't worry, I've got your back
For the past few weeks I have been steeped in exploring my own morning rituals getting ready for the Green Smoothie Challenge.
In the designing phase of this summery breakfast bliss, I have also taken some time to put together a guide to help you find the PROTEIN POWER that best suits YOU.
Today, not only do I have a few important keys to kick starting your metabolism each day, but I also crafted a little extra hand holding for you when choosing how to stay masterly in your mornings.
The POWER is in the PROTEIN (powder) 3 Nutritionist-Approved Tips
Increased intake of morning smoothies made with protein powder has become like a trendy love affair for individuals seeking to build lean body muscle mass, increase the feel good health vibe and loose excess weight – especially around the mid-section – while still getting out the door on time.
Not only is this convenient breakfast (or meal) trend working well for people on the go, but when given the best versions of protein powder, morning smoothies can also deliver a ton of nutrient density and energy to our bodies.
If you want to build muscle and burn fat to transform your body, there’s no getting around it, you need to eat more protein. Not only is protein required to repair and rebuild your muscles, but it’ll also keep you feeling fuller for longer so you can curb your cravings and find your flow.
As with anything, there is a gigantic range of quality that not only presents confusion and overwhelm, but can also take something good, and turn it awry.
Check out these 3 Nutritionist-Approved Tips to choosing your protein powder wisely.
1. The Secret is in the Source
The most common question is about WHERE the protein comes from. Before you get drawn into the whole whey, hemp, rice, pea, soy debate – STOP.
There are many great protein sources.
When it comes to protein powder, whey is the most complete protein source, and has the highest protein density.
Whey, when it is organic and un-denatured, is highly absorbable and is optimal for muscle protein synthesis.
Many people have dairy allergies or dairy intolerances. If this is the case for you, or you want a little variety, try some other great options such as hemp, pea or rice protein.
When exploring vegan protein powders, favor those that have been designed with a full amino acid profile – complete proteins – in mind. This helps to build muscle and strengthen your metabolism.
Beware of soy: Research suggests that soy can increase levels of the female sex hormone estrogen (which encourages fat storage), and the plant is often genetically modified to boost crop yields.
2. Quality Matters
As I mentioned above, not only is the type of protein important, but the quality of that protein as well. When buying any kind of protein powder, be sure to get grass fed, organic, non-GMO, whole food based protein powders that have full amino acid profiles (found in the ingredient list) and are LOW in SUGARS making them low glycemic.
Read the ingredient lists. Many of the available protein powders (including Whey) are chock full of additives, preservatives, sugars, and artificial sweeteners.
Keeping the sugars low will ensure that you are satiated, and you remain in the fat burning zone free from the repercussions of extra toxins, additives and artificial ingredients.
3. Look at the Macro Nutrients
Macronutrients — carbs-protein-fat — are calorie-containing nutrients that fuel the many functions of the body. A good meal replacement protein powder will have a healthy balance of these. Look for macro-nutrients somewhere in the range of 45%-25%-30%.
While there is no magic ratio that fits everyone, you will likely find that making these changes in your ratios will help you with long term body composition, cravings, energy, mental clarity, sleep and a more balanced mood.
A low-glycemic meal-replacement smoothie that allows for steady blood sugar control and staying fuller between meals is your ticket to both satiation and your super powers.
What I have found is that health seekers all over the planet love to drink morning smoothies because they can easily add a variety superfoods, proteins, good fats, greens, and adaptogens to create a powerful start to the day.
Above all, the key to a great breakfast smoothie really lies in a good balance of protein, along with healthy and nutritious ingredients to create something yummy that you'll look forward to drinking.
Photo Credit: Chef Bailey Jean Ruskus