Protein Powder 101

protein-powder-101 So you've done tons of hard work planning your healthy meals each day, you've cooked up a feast each night, but you just can't give up your nightly dessert habit. Or, you pack an amazing lunch of leftovers and healthy snacks and as soon as 2pm hits you're reaching for the mini candy bars your co­worker has stashed in their desk drawer.

I get it! You can't live without a little sweet in your life, and that's ok! Indulging every once in awhile is perfectly ok so long as it's a conscious choice not a mindless habit.

The secret to indulging in a little chocolatey goodness while not completely squashing your goals is to find yourself a super high quality nutrition powder that tastes like cocoa (or whatever your favorite flavor is) and packs a nutritional punch! You also want to make sure that it is free of any of the common unhealthy ingredients that are often found in such powders.

I have my favorite powder...Shakeology. It's what I use to make my smoothies super nutritious and delicious. Since I've added Shakeology to my daily routine I have clearer skin and no longer suffer the 2pm energy crash! All that...from a smoothie!

Whatever nutrition or protein powder you use, you should make sure that it's super high quality. I mean, we've spent all this time cutting the junk from our diets, why would we start cutting corners to save time or crush our chocolate cravings?

When looking for your powder make sure that it meets the following criteria:

  1. No soy. Soy is the subject of much controversy in the nutritional world. I'll save you hours wasted searching for info online and just tell you it's probably better avoided. It's been linked to thyroid issues, digestive problems, and several more serious things in children (most notably behavior issues and some cancers).
  2. No artificial or processed sugars. Aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, saccharine, sucralose. It's all a bad idea. Even cane sugar isn't really a good idea. You don't want your dense nutrition to be ruined by a spike in insulin, do you? Stevia is about the only option, it's plant based and doesn't cause an insulin spike. But like all things sweet, less is more and moderation is key!
  3. No artificial flavors. You don't want to know where some of them come from (but a Google search will tell you if you must know...)
  4. No fake fillers. Hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, magnesium stearate, titanium dioxide are four common fillers that can so some terrible things to your body.
  5. Contains clean protein, vitamins, and minerals. Your body can really only assimilate about 20g of protein at a time, the rest just goes on through. So, those cheap mega protein shakes and bars are really just an extra trip to the bathroom.
  6. Has digestive enzymes and fiber. These help the body absorb protein more quickly and efficiently and help to improve digestion.
  7. Contains probiotics and prebiotics. These are essential for stomach health, and if your stomach is healthy you will be too! Most people don't know that a majority of your immune system is in your gut. So keeping it healthy should be top priority!
  8. Has antioxidants and phytonutrients. These are another immune system booster that will help keep you well so you can keep working towards your goals.
  9. Contains adaptogens. Adaptogens help reduce both mental and physical stress. They help with strength, stamina, endurance, and mental clarity!

Here's my favorite smoothie recipe:

1/2 banana 1 cup frozen blueberries (or 1/2 cup frozen blueberries and 1/2 cup frozen cherries) 1/2 avocado 1 scoop chocolate nutrition powder 1 tsp cinnamon 1/2 cup coconut milk 1/2 cup almond milk 1/4 ­ 1/2 cup water, if too thick

Blend frozen berries, banana, coconut milk, and almond milk until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until well combined.

Enjoy!