So I recorded a podcast back in June with Dr. Matt all about protein powder and it was a huge hit! You can listen to it here. A lot of people have since asked if the information from the podcast could be put into a blog post written form. So here it is! These are all the takeaways from the podcast. Dr. Matt shared so many nuggets!
Why Take Protein:
Athletes-easy to get some quick protein that doesn’t feel heavy/helps build muscle
Busy Life/Anyone on the go
What you do NOT want to find in a protein: (basically any word that looks sketchy-question!)
Polyethylene Glycol(basically myralax which is a laxative)
Any Isolate-(Whey Protein Isolate, Soy Protein Isolate, etc…) causes gas, bloating, diarrhea, increases allergies. Wreaks havoc on gut flora. Very easy to store because it’s been processed so much.
What to look for in a protein:
Grass-fed/Grass-finished if it’s an animal protein
Little ingredient list as possible
Whey Protein Concentrate
Heavy Metals in Plant Based Proteins:
Can’t tell the heavy metal content by looking at the label
Pea, Rice, Hemp are all plant based proteins
Get 3rd party testing from the manufacturer(call/e-mail them and ask for the papers with the lab testing done and make sure there is a signature so you can go back to them and say this person signed off)
If they didn’t have testing done-then move on, not a good protein
Just because your protein was tested doesn’t mean it’s good though-make sure you see what the heavy metal levels are
The reason there is heavy metals in plant based proteins is because whatever is in the soil it soaks up. So if the soil contains a lot of heavy metals then the plant is soaking that up. If you take pea protein for instance you essentially are eating 100’s of peas each time you’re taking your pea protein, so you want to make sure the the quality of the peas is good. Overtime that could add up to a lot of heavy metals if not careful.
What if a protein is cheaper:
Proteins are often cheaper because they skimp on quality ingredients and sourcing
Can I find a clean protein at Whole Foods or other health food stores:
It can still be hard to find a clean protein at your local health store or Whole Foods
Best thing to do is e-mail/call them and ask questions
Why should I drink protein 30-40 minutes after a workout:
Want cortisol to come down after workout
Helps to spike hormones in a good way after workout
15 grams of protein is great after workout
Why you don’t want to blend a whey protein too much:
Whey collects air and the more powerful your blender the more air is collected
The air can cause you to feel bloated, have gas, and make you feel like the protein is just sitting in your stomach
Just add the protein in after you’ve blended all the ingredients
If you still feel bloated, gassy or like a ball is sitting in your stomach you may just have a bad protein
What protein is best:
Goat Whey Protein
Whey Protein Concentrate(best sources are going to be from New Zealand, Australia, or Germany-although really expensive)
Vegeterian- Pea Protein(however plant based proteins don’t contain all the amino acids)
If you add some rice and pea protein together you will get more of a complete protein since they both are missing certain amino acids
*Collagen is really popular now and is great for hair, skin, nails and joints. But it doesn’t build muscle tissue or immunity.
I personally take goat whey protein. A lot of people haven’t heard of goat whey, but it’s really an amazing protein source.
Goat whey has demonstrated positive anti-inflammatory effects in the digestive system. Cow whey has shown increased inflammatory effects.
Cow whey is considered allergenic whereas goat whey is considered hypoallergenic.
Whey protein is the “gold standard” for serious athletes. Goat whey is the “gold standard” of that “gold standard.”
Goat whey is amazing for our immune systems, supporting lean muscle growth and repair, as well as optimal body composition.
Goat whey has the full range of essential amino acids in ratios that best support the athlete in all of us.
The goat whey protein I take is called Activ Whey. There are many reasons why I like it!
It is really light and doesn’t ever make me feel bloated. That’s because there is nothing added to fill up space, just the purest goat whey and flavoring.
Activ Whey is a goat whey protein that comes from goats that are grassfed all the way through their lifecycle. There are zero antibiotics or hormones used on the goats or the vegetation they eat from.
I personally know the creator and can vouch for the legitimacy of the protein and where it is sourced from.
Have you ever walked down the chocolate aisle at a grocery store? It can be downright overwhelming if you’re a chocolate lover! Do you want dark, milk, or white chocolate? Do you want a candy bar, chocolate covered nuts, mint, or raspberry with it? Sound familiar? Contrary to popular belief, not all chocolate is created equal. Chocolate lovers can still rejoice though, because we’ve given you a few simple guidelines to ensure you’re buying the best of the best!
It’s true – chocolate can provide multiple health benefits, when it is high quality. But before indulging, here are a few things to consider about chocolate (some may surprise you!)
Cacao vs. Cocoa – There’s a Difference
Maybe you’ve seen both and assumed they were the same, but there are several important differences between cacao and cocoa.
All chocolate actually starts as cacao, from the cacao bean (which are technically seeds). When you see “cacao”, that means it has been processed at low temperatures and usually has fewer additives.
You can get all the benefits from cacao by consuming raw cacao powder, cacao nibs, or chocolate bars with a high % cacao. In fact, raw, unprocessed, cacao has even been associated with improving a variety of health conditions.
*See below why cacao is important to buy organic.
Cocoa on the other hand is processed at extremely high temperatures, which destroys some of the beneficial nutrients. This is what we find in mainstream chocolate products like hot cocoa, cocoa powder, candy bars, chocolate desserts, and other chocolate products. If consuming cocoa, be sure it does not contain additives like milk, high fructose corn syrup, soy, oils, artificial flavors, and dyes (as it often does!)
Chocolate Should Always Be Dairy-Free
Cacao naturally contains polyphenols (a compound that has antioxidant properties) but when it contains dairy, we’re not able to absorb the health benefits of the chocolate. Milk protein inhibits absorption of these beneficial polyphenols.
This is why dark chocolate is a much healthier option. The higher the percentage of cacao, the better (at least 70%).
White Chocolate Isn’t the Same
White chocolate is made from cocoa butter, milk, and sugar. It doesn’t contain any cocoa solids, which is where the health benefits come from. The polyphenols and flavanols, found in cocoa solids, function as antioxidants to fight free radicals. Unfortunately, white chocolate usually contains more sugar and little fiber, making it inferior on many levels.
If you do choose white chocolate make sure you read the label. Always look for low sugar, organic milk ingredients, and a high cocoa butter content. Companies often use a lot of unhealthy fats (linked to inflammation) and a very small amount of cocoa butter – which eliminates the health benefits found in dark chocolate.
Fair Trade Is Extremely Important
Did you know that the majority of American Chocolate companies (think Mars, Hershey, Nestle) use child labor to grow their cocoa? Most of these farms are in Africa in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. The children have little clothes on their backs, their faces scarred from the machete they use to cut down the cocoa and even worse they are being exposed to hazardous chemicals through the pesticides they spray on the crops.
“The farms of Western Africa supply cocoa to international giants such as Hershey’s, Mars, and Nestlé—revealing the industry’s direct connection to the worst forms of child labor, human trafficking, and slavery.” (Source)
*Due to these factors, Hannah and I carefully choose companies that do not participate in these inhumane practices.
What can we do? First, stop supporting these companies with your purchases. As we like to say often, vote with your dollars. Then, purchase chocolate products from companies that offer Fair Trade. It is expensive for companies to receive the fair trade labels and some simply cannot afford it. Others terms to look for are “Bean to Bar”, and “Direct Trade.”
Here are the fair trade symbols to look for on your chocolate:
Keep in mind that the higher the percentage of cacao, the better. We like to stick with 70% cacao or higher.
Next time you’re picking out chocolate, make sure it is:
Dairy free (If you’re consuming a little chocolate every day it’s best to avoid dairy to make sure you are able to absorb the antioxidants it offers but of course there are times when you really want a little dairy in your chocolate which is fine-got to a live a little!)
Free from additives like GMOs, soy, added sugars, artificial colorings, and more organic if possible (Did you know cacao is often heavily treated with pesticides?)
Our favorites: It’s hard to choose a favorite, but you can’t go wrong with Wei Beautiful, the perfect mix of chocolate and peppermint. We’re also huge fans of their Wei Inspired, a mix of himalayan sea salt and dark chocolate. Use code: LOVELY, good till 2/28/17 for15% off one-time purchases, and 20% off on-going subscriptions.
Our favorites: Huge fans of the Crunchy Caramel Bar and the Almond Sea Salt. As well as the Caramel Sea Salt Cups and Mint Cream Cups. Oh and if you’re really into chocolate spreads then check out their Toasted Coconut Chocolate Spread-it might change your life!
Our favorites: A staple is the Salted Almond 70% Dark, the Mint 70% Dark and we can’t forget about the Coconut 70% Dark too. We also really love their Baking Bars for baked goods. We like breaking them into chocolate chunks to use in cookies. They aren’t dairy-free but they are one of the few baking bars that is soy free and organic. Plus, this is something for a special holiday than to use every week.
Our favorites: Their chocolate does have dairy in it but we’re ok with that once in awhile as we mentioned earlier. Sometimes chocolate needs to just be an indulgent treat! That being said their truffles are amazing-a serious treat. We also love their Dark Brown Butter Bar-it may also change your life!
Our favorites: We love their 55% and 70% dark chocolate chips for special treats and baking.
Giveaway! We’ve teamed up to giveaway a box of Wei of Chocolate on Instagram, so stay tuned to enter to win.
What are your favorite chocolate brands? Did you learn something new about cacao or cocoa? Share below!
Hannah is the founder and educator of Healthfully Hannah, a blog empowering others to live healthfully through Clean Eating, Natural Beauty, and Nontoxic Living. She discovered the power of real food and natural living through her own health journey and is passionate about sharing it with others. In addition to her research and blogging, Hannah is pursuing her Masters Degree in Functional Medicine and Nutrition, and plans to use this knowledge to identify and address health concerns naturally through a whole-body approach.
Hey Guys! I’ve teamed up with my good friend Lisa from the blog, This Organic Girl to bring you our must have pantry staples. To know Lisa is to love her! She is the real deal when it comes to living clean in every area of her life. She is a wealth of knowledge and has the best tips! I’m so excited to partner up with her and share our pantry list with you.
Weeding through the grocery store these days can seem daunting, especially when looking for real food. If it’s free from one thing, it probably has another. Lisa and I wanted to give you a real world perspective on what we actually buy ourselves and feed our families. From the stores we shop at, to the best deals around, we’ve found these pantry picks to be tried and true. Our goal is to hopefully make your life a little easier. We’ve done the leg work so you don’t have to!
Avoiding processed foods is super important but as busy moms and women, let’s face it, we do not always have a fresh batch of crackers baking or an unending supply of fresh bone broth, or canned tomatoes in the pantry. So here is what our kitchen stash looks like. These are all minimally processed foods with real ingredients. They are also gluten free, dairy free (except the butter) and mostly organic.
In addition to this list we always stock local, raw, organic honey in glass and local Grade A maple syrup in glass. Check your farmers markets for these items.
And just a note about a few things to keep in mind while buying. Avoid foods packaged in plastics. BPA free cans are a better option and glass is best. Consider bringing your own produce bags, shopping bags and bulk item containers. And most importantly, read food labels and make informed decisions about what you are buying.
Just a note: We realize every family comes from varying budgets and sometimes it’s just not possible to buy everything you want. For instance, you can find organic maple syrup at Costco however it’s stored in plastic, not glass. Lisa and I always want to discourage the use of plastic, but the reality is sometimes you can’t get away from it. That being said, we hope this list gives you tools to make better choices for your family. We are all on a different point in our journey towards living a cleaner and healthier life!
Also, be sure to check out our Instagrams @gurlgonegreen and @thisorganicgirl for some amazing giveaways in the next couple of days. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out – they are too good!
Whole Foods Market-One of our favorite places to shop!
So July is Ice-cream month in case you weren’t aware! They actually have an actual ice-cream day too, it’s the third Sunday in July. Since it’s the last day of “ice-cream month”, I thought I would indulge you guys in some of my top organic ice-cream picks. (more…)