Golf Balls & Eggs: Drink Up!
Back in the Day...
Remember those days, back before the surgery, when you would try the juicing diet or a ‘power packed’ shake in the morning?
Yeah right, by 10:30 you would kill for something to eat.
Well now it’s different! Lets give those protein shakes another try.
Protein in the Liquid Form
There is nothing I enjoy more than a cool and frosty smoothie in the summer. So when summer came around I started wondering, ‘How can I make it higher in protein without doubling the calories?’ Greek yogurt makes a great healthy smoothie and is chock full of protein at 20 grams for 1 cup but since I’m Lactose Intolerant it’s not really an option. So, with that thought in mind, I went to my local health-food store, aka – workout junkie fuel store, and started wandering up and down the aisles. I knew about protein powders from my brothers friends. I also knew the face they made when hurriedly drank it as fast as they could. Nasty! But what other choice was there?
As I stood there, staring blankly at a wall of large containers with labels like “Whey” and “Protein Isolate”, and “Amino Acid, a worker walked up to me and asked if I needed help. Do cats purr? Do tigers have stripes? Does a rooster crow? “Yes please” was all I said. So that wonderful fountain of knowledge explained the various differences to me and left me to decide which one I wanted to try. Being my scientific self I decided to start with the basics and got the unflavored bottle. Just a little one, no need to waste money after-all.
So, got home, let it sit on the counter for a few days and then finally got around to trying it.
Read the instructions: one level scoop mixed with water or milk. Lactose Intolerant… hello! Water it is. Special drink calls for a special cup so I pulled out my brandy snifter that had never gotten taken out of the cupboard and made the drink. It turned the ugliest shade of green but didn't smell horrible so I figured it should be okay. Taking my lovely drink out to the living room I sat down in my favorite chair and braced myself for the first sip.
One moment later I was running back into the kitchen to spit out the vileness that was in my mouth. I learned a very important lesson that day. ‘Unflavored’ doesn't mean no flavor… It means nasty!!!
What is it Exactly?
There are three popular kinds of protein powder.
Other, not quite as popular, kinds include:
Which one you pick will depend on what you want and or need. If you are Lactose Intolerant be careful of the Whey powders. A good one will be very low in lactose but some of them are not.
Allergic to Dairy Eggs or Soy? make sure you read the labels very carefully. Many powders can be a combination of both.
Vegan? Probably not going to want to the Whey so try the plant based ones.
(If you are Vegan or Vegetarian look over my other hub "GB&E - What's Missing From my Plate?" for some great protein ideas)
These are all considered ‘complete protein’ because nine of the Essential Amino Acids are found in them. Amino Acids are what makes protein (picture a house made of Lego’s… the house is the protein and each Lego is an Amino Acid).
According to Wikipedia:
"An essential amino acid or indispensable amino acid is an amino acid that cannot be synthesized de novo (from scratch) by the organism being considered, and therefore must be supplied in its diet. The nine amino acids humans cannot synthesize are phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, and histidine"
In other words... Our body can't make it so we have to eat it because our body needs it.
How is Protein Powder Made?
Now keep in mind there are also different kinds of protein powder based on how they are made.
- Protein Concentrate… exactly what it sounds like. They dry the food and pound it into powder form. On average they are 60-70% protein.
- Protein Isolate… Basically they pull out all or most of the protein with different methods of washing or ionizing and then filter it. These average 90-90% protein.
- Protein Hydrolysates… This one is pretty scientific, and expensive. They make the protein by water with a protein polymer and then sorting it into groups known as peptides. What it boils down to is that this is an already digested protein that you can then drink.
- Ion-Exchange… It’s Electric. Literally they use electricity to separate the protein out of the food. Most milk based protein powders are made this way.
- Filtration… There are a few different kinds (micro, cross, ultra, etc) but essentially they filter out the protein from everything else.
Which One is Right For me?
Picking the right one depends on what you can or cannot eat as well as what you can or cannot tolerate.
Take my situation for Instance...
- Lactose Intolerant
- Sugar makes me sleepy (that's my dumping reaction to it)
- Don't like a gritty texture.
- Taste is VERY important!
So I go for the Soy Protein if I can but If I find a Whey protein with little, or none, Lactose in it I will use that one.
Some guidelines to follow:
- Try to find one that has 14 to 25 grams of protein and about 150 to 250 calories
- The lower the sugar level the better but less than 15 grams of sugar is good.
- Try to keep it under 5 grams of fat.
- Can you read the ingredient list quickly and understand most of the words?
- Make sure there is nothing in it that will upset you system. (For example - allergic to gluten or dairy?)
So... What Can I do With it?
The possibilities are endless!
Many protein powders will blend in fairly well to almost anything. I have added it to oatmeal, cakes, cookies, ice cream (homemade). If you hunt around you can also find savory protein powders. For example, I found a chicken flavored protein powder that I used to make a hot drink on a cold day and I also added it to my mashed potatoes (I’m addicted to mashed potatoes.. Don’t even get me started).
But since this article is about drinking it lets stick with smoothies for now.
Tips for a better smoothie:
- Freeze your fruit… this makes for a much thicker, shake-like consistency that will mask the grittiness of some powders.
- Don’t over blend… too much blending makes it frothy and you loose some of the protein in the foam.
- Mix it up… try different flavor combinations. You never know what you’ll like.
- Try some peanut Butter… just like the frozen fruit it hides the grittiness. One of my favorites is a PB Banana Smoothie. (When you add chocolate protein powder it’s awesome - Chunky Monkey anyone?)
Here is one of my favorites. I call it ‘Creamsicle‘.
Mandarin Oranges with either Vanilla Greek Yogurt or Vanilla Protein Powder, and some Ice.
See below for the protein powder versions.
Creamsicle Protein Smoothie
- 1 individual cup mandarin orange with juice
- 1 scoop vanilla whey protein isolate, level
- 3 ice cubes
- .5 cup milk, (optional)
- Place all ingredients into blender
- Blend until smooth.
- If you prefer a thinner consistency add the milk to reach desired thinness.
|Serving size: 1 recipe|
|Calories from Fat||9|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 1 g||2%|
|Saturated fat 0 g|
|Unsaturated fat 0 g|
|Carbohydrates 18 g||6%|
|Sugar 17 g|
|Fiber 1 g||4%|
|Protein 30 g||60%|
|Cholesterol 20 mg||7%|
|Sodium 125 mg||5%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|